How apt is the name “cloud” computing where users don’t know what will happen with all their data stored online. It is as cloudy as it can get with a smoked mirror for the users. Will it always be available or someday the clouds will vanish and the users will lose their data to these large clouds in the technological industry, namely Apple, Google, Amazon etc. Is your data really safe out there and how reliable these Clouds are for your business? Many questions are raised about choosing Clouds for you business.
What is Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing is roughly based on the premise that instead of storing data locally, store it online, which they call the “cloud”. The benefits, as it clearly highlights is that you could access your data from any computer and anywhere in the world. Also, for small and medium sized companies, it is a low-cost based opportunity to store data on these clouds cutting down the investing in purchasing and maintaining data servers locally.
Now the conditional clause in this is “as long as you have access to the Internet”. This sounds alright till you start reading between the lines and ask yourselves, the “if” and “how” questions.As always, it is largely being promoted by companies like Apple, Google and Amazon, the common denominator being the U.S .based companies, where Internet availability is far advanced than the rest of the world. What if you are in a place where there is no Internet and you need to complete some deadline bound work. Or you lose connection to Internet, while working on an important task.Or worst of all, the servers at Apple, Google and Amazon go down.
How Reliable is Cloud Computing?
Just recently, Amazon servers embarrassingly went down for a day bringing websites like Foursquare down, with Amazon having to apologise to its corporate users. This raises further question about reliability and performance when the real capacity of the data servers is tested to the limit with the increased number of users/ usage.
Can Your business afford a downtime of one whole day?
How Safe is your data on Cloud servers?
More important issue is the fear about the safety and security of data stored online. Just how secure and good are these companies’ IT security architecture and security policies? Recent hacking attacks on Sony on its PlayStation network, Google on its Gmail and RSA on its secure ID token network just highlight the risk of storing information online. Hacking Seems to be showing its ugly head again recently. Do these attacks reflect the fact that, due to the dynamic technological advancements, it is becoming increasingly challenging for the companies to stop these hacking attacks. Hackers are becoming increasingly smart and conniving in their attacks.
Currently in the cloud computing market place, Amazon seems to be a market leader with its large base of corporate users. Google has launched its own version of cloud computing while Apple has just recently launched its “iCloud” services which allows the users to store their iTunes music and other data from their Macs, iPad and Macbook Pros online.
So what do we conclude here?
With limited knowledge amongst users about this cloud concept, the companies on their part should clearly highlight the benefits, limitation and risks involved in the services offered. It is difficult to foresee just how successful will the cloud computing become in the years to come, but it is clearly getting quite “cloud-y” out there. However, till then the users, especially the corporate users should make themselves aware of the limitations and risks of using clouds to store data and have a backup “disaster recovery plan”. Or else they might see the clouds fall down one day on their heads and find them running for cover!