Sunday, February 3, 2013

What are the Dangers of Cloud Computing

Every day more businesses are moving on to cloud computing from the desktop and have begun to depend on web hosted applications like Facebook, Google Docs and Flickr to store and access their email, documents and photos. Microsoft has further confirmed in a global SMB Cloud Application Study done in 2011, that within the next three years over 49% of the small businesses would be signing up for at least one cloud service.

In today’s world, where users manage multiple devices and computers, it definitely makes sense to move your documents, photos, notes and email to a web application. However, there are serious implications while transferring your personal data to the web app. There are many risks and pitfalls that your personal data could get lost in all this cloud-centric hype products and most of the risks present in the cloud frontier are oblivious to most people.

First of all, people should be aware of the fact that the internet is not the cloud and any software app or storage facility located anywhere on the Internet is not being a part of the cloud. Who would want his or her business to be looked after by someone, somewhere with a server placed in his bedroom?

Despite the fact that cloud servers can be a big money saver and comes with signification cost savings, one must keep in mind the security concerns while evaluating cloud servers. It might be future of IT, and a lot many people support the cloud concept but mentioned below are the imminent dangers of cloud computing that need to be looked into before signing up.

In a true cloud-computing world, a network of servers that are located in different parts of the world and are interconnected handles the data storage and software. A good cloud-computing firm offers data that is well managed in a significantly low cost environment and most of all secure and scalable. However, as not all cloud-computing firms are the same, it pays to do a bit of homework.

1. Are you aware of your cloud’s location?

There are many unreliable cloud-computing firms who have their servers located in a single data center. They market themselves as cloud-based services, but do not highlight the fact that they only have a single data center and which may not be reliable and legitimate. However, it may be cheaper, but this is a risk you cannot afford.

2. Does the cloud-based application have scalability?

By just being in a cloud environment does not ensure scalability for large amounts of traffic and data storage and huge volumes of users when your app grows in popularity. It should ensure scalability and this would depend on how the system was built. Look for negative comments in a forum or search Google and other search engines for comments about the cloud app, before you place too much trust in them.

3. Will this cloud –based software evolve?

This depends on the resources of the service provider as software development and upgradation is never too simple. It is time consuming and complex and if you back the wrong company, you’ll soon find the need to switch companies.

4. Is it easy to change service providers?

Although you may be able to cancel the service at any time, the key remains in getting your data back in a perfect format as many companies have lost their data after terminating the services of the service provider.

5 Is it really secure?

Good cloud computing services have dedicated and skilled resources that maintain a high level of security. However, not many have this and many of the smaller companies are to be checked prior to signing up

6 Check about the backups

Also enquire about your data back-up plan in case of an emergency and also find about the time and cost it would take to restore it.

You’ve probably agreed to a whole bunch of terms when you signed up, but if you haven’t read the fine print, then it just might be too bad, so sad. Don’t get this wrong as most of us have entrusted our data with the likes of Google, Apple, Amazon, and Yahoo. The key is to know what you're getting into when you make that choice so that you can strengthen your security mechanisms.