Cloud Computing is here to stay!

Posted by on Sep 20, 2011 in Articles | 40 comments

In TechNet Europe 2011, in Bratislava, we were introduced to a new concept / theory (The Cloud). A ground-braking innovation in the field of IT with a lot of aspects to be discussed!

With the guidance of some governmental and non-governmental agencies such as Dell Corporations, McAffe Inc., Nokia Siemens Networks and NCSA we have explored the advantages and limitations along with the importance of how the Cloud technology can be applied in today’s business environment.

The above agencies and business entities contributed, very much to our discussion with regards to the topic “Cloud Computing and its use in the Defense Environment” in Bratislava, Slovakia.

In today’s dynamic business environment, companies and organizations are struggling to survive and stay synced with the changes that arise constantly, in order to remain competitive. One significant domain which changes rapidly involving business, is technology. Cloud Computing is one of the most important current trends, in the fields of information and communication technology. Cloud computing can be studied by getting loan by loanload.co.uk.

Cloud Computing (CC) is a Convenient, on demand, Network-Based computing system and provides access to a shared pool of computing resources, which can be rapidly released with the minimum demanded management effort or service provider interaction.

Many Companies, Federal Agencies, Governments and even colleges via Drop Box  (Believe it or not) use the very same service. Drop Box has more than 4 million users…!

There are numerous Internet-service providers that use CC as a basis for search engines, blogs and social networks. Some remarkable examples are Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Bit torrent and Skype.

During the AFCEA conference in Bratislava, we saw an explicit presentation of the benefits and limitations of  Cloud Computing. The greatest advantage of the CC is the cost-reducing element. That means less human capital and infrastructure because the only necessary payment is  for the resources utilized and this assists in having better, faster and easier business growth in new markets (due to efficiency and effectiveness).

This is basically what all organizations want.   Isn’t it?

Another benefit of CC, is the easy use of it because the complexity of processing has now moved to the cloud!  As far as the maintenance and the applications are concerned, they are also relocated in the cloud.

Furthermore, users will have the option to terminate their contract at all times, avoiding return on investment risk and financial uncertainty. The most interesting and at the same time crucial characteristic that distinguishes CC however, is its great flexibility and availability of shared information, enabling collaboration from anywhere in the world.

In other words, an unlimited pool of information which brings more-or-less the question of whether there is any control or borders within the cloud! If this speculation is true, is there any possibility for the user or administrator to  be able to distinguish where the data is -at a given point in time- by whom it is used and how it is being processed?  If the flow of data is free and unlimited around the globe via Internet,  it is also no longer clear which data-protection authorities at which location are responsible for ensuring the monitoring and the protection of sensitive information.

As cloud Computing achieves tremendous popularity, concerns are being expressed with regards to the security issues introduced through adoption of this new model. It seems that TRUST  is the main reason for the technology- adoption resistance that many business enterprises and customers present towards the Cloud.  Regarding data protection, CC raises a number of interesting issues.

As Ratnam Gopal, an analyst highlights, there are two primary security concerns regarding migration to the Cloud. First, it is the data security and then the acquisition of  secure storage. (Bloomberg).

It is very clear that, when you integrate to the cloud, you have to trust the organization’s intellectual property to a third party. RISKY DECISION!

On the other hand, according to a Juniper Research report issued July 13th, “Annual revenues will be derived from mobile cloud-based enterprise services and are expected to reach $39 billion by 2016!  Cloud-based services can be a highly effective mean of ensuring customer retention through the provision of hosting solutions.” The report continues, “key solutions include messaging, presence, managed email, collaboration, conferencing and IP telephony” Now, this may be considered to be a great opportunity to develop effective means of communication.  

More and more regulations are to be introduced in the legal framework of the cloud. At this point, I could not have agreed more with Mr. John Doody’s statement, “WE CANNOT TOUCH THE CLOUD, BUT WE FEEL THE NEED TO CONTROL IT!” Attackers understand what many organizations do not – that Web applications are the easiest and most profitable target. And cloud applications are accessed via the browser which means the website security is the only preventive measure which may help fight attacks.

As Gopal Ratnam states, the U.S Defense Department agency reported a 37 percent increase on the computer- related crime. “ It was a 100 terabyte increase ”. The federal investigative agencies examines crimes involving incidents of hacking and data thefts from the Pentagon. About 9 million Americans have their identities stolen each year and cyber crime costs 3.8$ millionσ a year (Bloomberg).

Cloud computing also brings new governance considerations. Organizations must appraise the ability of the cloud provider to address the company’s own regulations, national and worldwide laws for conducting business in different regions, and customer needs.

Ultimately, website security in the cloud is no different than any other website security, in our own environment. There are threats and vulnerabilities as in any other network. There might be infrastructure downtime or Internet Connection Failure, both risky enough to seperate people from their files on that system. For all the above reasons there is a demand regarding data protection to be adjusted, in order to find an appropriate arrangement for cloud computing.

So , is there any clear practical solution? If an enterprise makes the decision to store data in the cloud “ it is essential to determine which data can go to the cloud and which individuals are permitted to have access to that data”. What if we could build an availability model that allows penalties when things go wrong or implement control against misuse of data and Regulation connectivity rules?

At this point, I would like to draw the attention of every enterprise and organization. The creation of a website risk management plan is strongly recommended in order to protect the entire collection and resources of valuable corporate and customer data from attackers. If your organization has not prioritized website security in the past, then NOW is the time to make it a priority.

Businesses nowadays are mostly run through the Internet. 

Do you wish to remain competitive?   Try Cloud Computing!

Moved to the cloud yet?  What are you waiting for?

Risky – yes but Convenient too!

 

 

 

Petroula Panou, DEREE – The American College of Greece
Senior, School of Business Administration, Marketing
Treasurer, AFCEA Student Club.

 

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