Cloud Computing: The Pathway Forward to Easily Accessible and Safe Data Transfer

Remember when a cloud was just a cloud? Those days were simpler, but maybe a little less convenient. For better or worse, innovation pushes our personal and professional lives to the brink. And, we have cloud computing to partially thank for that.

What is the Cloud?

Think of cloud computing as the on-demand of information technology. Everything at your fingertips. Things like software applications, servers, data storage, development tools, and networking capabilities. All hosted at a remote data center and managed by a cloud services provider (CPS).

Operation Deployment

There are three different ways to roll out a new cloud infrastructure: public, private, and hybrid. It all comes down to who owns and operates the components. As their names suggest, public is open to a pay-per-use model; private is owned and operated by a single business; and hybrid is a little bit of both. There are pros and cons to all three platforms.

But, once the foundation is selected, it is time to determine the services that will be rendered. And, when it comes to the kind of computing being done, the decision hinges on control.

Service Models

Three is the lucky number here again. There are three main cloud computing service models including Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS). Separately, they are powerful, but they can also be used as one component. It just depends on the intended use of the intended platform.

IaaS is the most basic model. It focuses on access to storage and power via the Internet while PaaS is all about hosting and building web applications. Finally, SaaS is used for web-based software, so it can be accessed on any device.

Taking Advantage

There are numerous benefits for businesses that choose to use cloud computing. For one, it’s less complicated and more streamlined. This also makes for greater functionality and cost savings. Working in the cloud is less expensive and requires less upfront capital. Then, there’s the productivity aspect. Collaboration is increased while a business’ carbon footprint is decreased. Plus, the cloud is easy to use and more secure than most mainframes.

Worth the Risk

That is not to say there aren’t inherent risks involved. Despite the cloud being more secure than other infrastructures, there are some vulnerabilities. For instance, the Cloud Security Alliance recently released a report titled, “Top Threats to Cloud Computing: Egregious Eleven.” The risks cited are data breaches, misconfiguration and inadequate change control, lack of cloud security architecture and strategy, insufficient identity, credential, access and key management, account hijacking, insider threat, insecure interfaces and APIs, weak control plane, metastructure and applistructure failures, limited cloud usage visibility, and abuse and nefarious use of cloud services.

The Players

There are also three major vendors fighting it out on the cloud computing stage. Amazon, Google, and Microsoft are waging war for their piece of the IaaS consumer pie. All key players are looking to cash in on a most lucrative trend. According to Gartner’s most recent report, the IaaS market will be worth a total of $64.3 billion in 2021. The table below shows the projected revenue in the millions of dollars. That’s a lot of cash to be had and the major players aren’t leaving it up to chance.

Amazon’s AWS

PCMag named Amazon Web Services (AWS) its Editor’s Choice selection in IaaS solutions. The review says, “its universal appeal is further strengthened by its intuitive setup process, management, and monitoring.” The only con the reviewer mentioned is the number of choices and options available.

Google CP

“Top-notch” is what PCMag’s reviewer called Google’s Cloud Platform (GCP) because it is beneficial to users of Google services. But that is also one of the cons for those not already using Google products. Also, it is pricier than its AWS competitor.

Microsoft Azure

PCMag considers Microsoft’s Azure a “no-brainer” for organizations on Windows Servers. It also works well with older platforms like Linux. However, it is explained that the price is high for the performance received.

Global Playing Field

Cloud computing is not just about the consumerism. The cloud is becoming a battleground for diplomatic, economic, and military disputes. After all, who governs the world’s data? Who decides its use, storage, retention, combination, and what is considered lawful access by governments? In the global cloud data center map below green is Amazon, yellow is Google, and blue is Microsoft. Their reach and breadth are worldwide.

The Atlantic Council explains how and why the cloud can cause conflict by debunking four myths of cloud computing.

Myth #1: All Data is Created Equal

Huge volumes of data are stored. Categories include user data, derived data, and system data. User data is what customers store, derived data is usage metrics, and system data is functionality metrics. The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) established new policies surrounding user data to protect privacy.

Myth #2: Cloud Computing is Not a Supply Chain Risk

Worldwide intelligence and defense agencies use cloud computing. Plus, the financial sector and nearly every Fortune 500 company do as well. Supply chain risk is not limited to hardware or firmware. There is also a hypervisor or virtual machine monitor (VMM), which is the software that creates and runs remote machines. It makes it so one host computer can support multiple guest VMs by virtually sharing its resources.

Myth #3: Only Authoritarian States Distort the Cloud

Unfortunately, when it comes to data, most countries want to have things their way. Expectedly, China and Russia require their cloud infrastructure be hosted in country. But, lesser known is that so does Germany and France. In fact, the EU wants its own cloud believing U.S. cloud computing is “less secure, less trustworthy, or reflect values at odds with those held in Europe.” The U.S. is viewed as a security threat.

Myth #4: Cloud Providers Do Not Influence the Shape of The Internet

Netflix would disagree. The accessibility and cost effectiveness of IaaS, has made the on-demand video service a household name. The cloud has influenced almost every aspect of the Internet. Cloud ownership and operation impacts the web daily. And cloud computing shapes the online marketplace. The cloud ultimately impacts every aspect of society.

Edging Toward the Future

Looking toward the future, research groups like Deloitte feel the time is right for edge computing. Rather than relying on a central location, edge computing brings devices physically closer to computation and data storage. More portable and fixed networks with local high-capacity, low-latency processing capabilities combined with AI can transform the user experience.

Plus, edge computing and cloud computing are not mutually exclusive. Together they are referred to as “fog computing” and can be the best of both worlds. Edge computing combines the data-gathering potential, storage capacity, and processing power of cloud computing. Essentially, keeping things running while driving innovation. Simform illustrates this relationship and explains that Edge and Fog computing helps save bandwidth by sending only important data to the cloud.

Forrester predicts that in 2021 edge computing will make a few key things possible. These include data center marketplaces emerging as a new edge hosting option, private 5G pushing enterprises to the edge, and new edge vendors shaving five points off public cloud growth.


By Dana Hackley
PHD in Communications Media and Instructional Technology.
She is a Public Relations Specialist for Jackson Kelley PLLC where she creates, manages, and executes the firm’s communications strategy across multiple office locations. In addition, she works as an online Academic Coach through Instructional Connections LLC assisting with Communications undergraduate and graduate courses.

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