We were introduced to the concept of “cloud computing” this week. This concept seems to be really popular for companies in recent times as it enables companies to host their services at a lower cost by using a cloud server. It is also simpler and offers the aspect of convenience. What Cloud Computing essentially means is that instead of having your files stored in your computer, one’s files can be stored in a cloud, meaning that one can access it on the web instead of accessing it from a specific computer. In addition to this, cloud servers (in which the files are stored in) have an unlimited space.
By having unlimited space is good for a company as this means that a company doesn’t have to worry about its website crashing due to heavy traffic. Cloud servers will be able to manage the traffic to a website smoothly as well.
Here’s a short video from Common Craft explaining what Cloud Computing is in simple English.
However, though there are several benefits to be achieved with Cloud Computing such as lower cost of hosting services, or convenience, there are also drawbacks. One such drawback is the possibility of hackers.
Last year, Google announced that it had been the target of a “highly sophisticated and coordinated hack attack”, when it found out that some hackers tried to hack into the e-mail accounts of some human rights activists. In addition to this, “Google also found that it was the target of a “highly sophisticated” cyber-attack on its corporate infrastructure, which led to the theft of its intellectual property.” As a result, Google said that it needed to do a review and also stopped the censorship of search results on its China website. You can read more about this incident here.
In addition to this, Google also launched a 1TB storage system, whereby it allowed users to store and share their files in a cloud with Google Docs. This meant that as long as one had access to a Gmail account or the Internet, one could access their files from Google Docs, which save the hassle of saving one’s files in an external flash drive for example.
Although this is good as it offers convenience once again, it opens itself up to the possibility of viruses or hackers. Like what happened with the targeted hacking incident on Google China’s website, the possibility could be also very real with Google Docs, for instance. As Google seems to be dominating everything these days, with Gmail, Docs, this means that Google has to work harder to ensure that such targeted hacking incidents will not happen by offering stronger security to its users. On a personal standpoint, I feel that though it is good to have cloud computing as it allows easy access to documents, one also must be wary of the information that they put in the cloud.
As Cloud Computing is susceptible to hackers, one must ensure that they do not put personal information online like financial statements for instance. This also means that companies must also be wary of the information that they put online, and should try to have back-ups of their data if possible.
I believe that Cloud Computing will take off in the next few years, and for it to be stronger and continue to evolve, security concerns must be addressed. What do you guys think?
Here’s a Dilbert’s Take on Cloud Computing! 🙂
Google China Hacking Incident:
Danny’s Suvillan article on Cloud Computing and Google: http://searchengineland.com/after-the-googlehack-33508