Cloud computing is one of the most booming technologies today which is increasingly inching towards becoming the most dominant method of delivering computer services.
Undeniably, cloud computing is one of the most booming technologies today which is increasingly inching towards becoming the most dominant method of delivering computer services. Businesses, large and small, are realizing its potential and the empowerment that comes with it.
Cloud Computing is still an evolving concept and technology. This is underlined by the fact that many different types of definition and characteristics exist. The analysis of different definitions shows that there is a core set of functionalities and characteristics including on-demand services, network access, resource sharing and measured services but also that the exact definitions of these aspects and the focus setting vary depending on the viewpoint of the authors. There is no universally accepted definition, but the definition of NIST has prevailed in practice. It defines Cloud Computing as “a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.” Similar to the plethora of definitions, there is also a growing number of service, delivery and revenue models.
Pros of Cloud Computing
- Cost Efficient: When you move to cloud computing, you save the exorbitant costs of maintaining your own servers and hardware. You don’t have to worry about buying new software, its licensing costs, installations and constant upgradations. Moreover, cloud computing offers one-time-payment, pay-as-you-go and other scalable options which are a lot cheaper making it the preferred choice for many businesses.
- Disaster Recovery: Since all your data is stored in the cloud, you need not have to worry about taking any backups or restoring any lost data. Cloud computing vendors ensure that your data remains safe at all times and gets backed up automatically in the cloud. Thus businesses can save a lot of time and resources to recover and manage data on their own and the IT personnel can instead focus on their main tasks.
- Work While On The Move: Cloud computing provides various options to access your business data without having to be present inside your cramped office cubicles. Not just computers, cloud computing also offers data access through mobiles, tablets, and other such devices. Armed with a reliable internet connection, you can now access any files from anywhere with a single touch. Centralization of all the data at one place makes it easily accessible without any dependency on hardware and software.
Cons of Cloud Computing
- No Internet No Cloud: This is probably the biggest handicap of cloud computing that it requires an internet connection all the time to be able to access resources and services over a cloud. If you have a poor internet connection or a low bandwidth, cloud computing is not for you. So it’s not just your weak internet connection that poses a threat, but also the server crashes or outages of your cloud service providers.
- Security Risks: Today, cloud computing vendors all over the world are going to great lengths to convince their potential clients about the security of their data on the cloud using the latest technology. But one needs to keep in mind that advances in technology also mean that hackers have newer and better means to cause a security breach and steal confidential information about your company. Storing information on the cloud makes you vulnerable and prone to attacks. Since your data would no longer be travelling within internal servers, there is a higher chance of it being intercepted by hackers.
There are three core problems created by the specificity of Cloud Computing for data protection law.
- The problem of jurisdiction and applicability: One of the core features of Cloud Computing is that the physical location of the data or service is irrelevant. Data protection law, however, employs criteria in defining its applicability which is inextricably linked with concepts of location. When data processing is difficult to relate to geographical location, these criteria can be very difficult to apply and the applicability of the Directive can be difficult to establish.
- The problem of defining roles and responsibilities: The data protection framework relies on categorizing entities involved in data processing as specific sorts of an actor. Each form of the actor then has roles and responsibilities in ensuring that the requirements of the directive are fulfilled. The complexity of processing in cloud environments and the unique arrangements between a cloud provider and cloud client call into question the delineation of roles and responsibilities imagined in the Directive.
- The problem of worldwide and continuous data transfer: Cloud Computing service provision can utilize service providers, and be called up by service users. In order to ensure that data is protected regardless of where they are processed, the Directive puts certain restrictions on the transfer and processing of data. Whilst there are exceptions to these restrictions, the Cloud Computing scenarios in which these exceptions can be applied are limited. This can needlessly prevent the provision of cloud services without further protecting individuals’ rights.