13 Jul 2018

BENEFITS AND RISKS OF CLOUD COMPUTING

Cloud computing is here and virtually every organization is using it in some way, shape and form. Educating people, employees on the opportunities and risks associated with this technology is of the utmost importance.

What Is Cloud Computing?

Cloud computing is the delivery of computing services—servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics and more—over the Internet. commonly called “The Cloud” is an all-encompassing term for a virtualized information technology (IT) computing environment in which individuals and businesses work with applications and data stored and maintained on shared machines in a web-based environment, rather than physically located in a user’s location.

Cloud computing provides a scalable online environment that makes it possible to handle an increased volume of work without impacting system performance. Cloud computing also offers significant computing capability and economy of scale that might not otherwise be affordable, particularly for small and medium-sized organizations, without the IT infrastructure investment. It benefits including:

  1. Lower capital costs — Organizations can provide unique services using large-scale computing resources from cloud service providers, and then nimbly add or remove IT capacity to meet peak and fluctuating service demands while only paying for actual capacity used.
  2. Lower IT operating costs — Organizations can rent added server space for a few hours at a time rather than maintain proprietary servers without worrying about upgrading their resources whenever a new application version is available. They also have the flexibility to host their virtual IT infrastructure in locations offering the lowest cost.
  3. Scalability: In this fast changing world it is important to be able to scale up or down your solutions depending on the situation and your needs without having to purchase or install hardware or upgrades all by yourself.
  4. Business continuity: when you store data in the cloud, you ensure it is backed-up and protected which in turn helps with your continuity plan cause in the event of a crisis you’ll be able to minimize any downtime and loss of productivity.
  5. Collaboration: Cloud services allow you share files and communicate with employees and third-parties in this highly globalized world and in a timely manner.
  6. Flexibility: Cloud computing allows employees to be more flexible in their work practices cause it’s simpler to access data from home or virtually any place with an internet connection.
  7. Automatic updates: Access to automatic updates for your IT requirements may be included in your service fee. Depending on your cloud computing service provider, your system will regularly be updated with the latest technology. This could include up-to-date versions of software, as well as upgrades to servers and computer processing power.

The Risks

Record retention requirements — If your business is subject to record retention requirements, make sure your cloud provider understands what they are and so they can meet them.

Disaster recovery — Hosting your computing resources and data at a cloud provider makes the cloud provider’s disaster recovery capabilities vitally important to a company’s disaster recovery plans. It is important to know a cloud provider’s disaster recovery capabilities and ask your provider if they been tested.

Environmental security — The concentration of computing resources and users in a cloud computing environment also represents a concentration of security threats. Because of their size and significance, cloud environments are often targeted by virtual machines and bot malware, brute force attacks, and other attacks. Ask your cloud provider about access controls, vulnerability assessment practices, and patch and configuration management controls to see that they are adequately protecting your data.

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