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Problems with Cloud Computing

In the last decade, the amount of digital information produced by humankind has been colossal. While this shows how rapidly our civilisation is advancing technologically, the increase in data has resulted in some problems for businesses and consumers regarding maintenance, storage and security:

In the last decade, the amount of digital information produced by humankind has been colossal.

While this shows how rapidly our civilisation is advancing technologically, the increase in data has resulted in some problems for businesses and consumers regarding maintenance, storage and security:

  • It is difficult to store such a large amount of information without overloading traditional computer systems
  • It is difficult to protect great volumes of digital data when it is being stored
  • The resources required to constantly manage and maintain digital data accurately can be expensive

The solution to these issues has come in the form of cloud computing and cloud security, which is a way to keep and safeguard digital information in a remote location, rather than using a local computer or server. This data is then accessible anywhere via an internet connection. According to Patrick (2016), over 90% of businesses in the US now use some cloud service to manage, store and protect their data.

“Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, 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.” The National Institute of Standards and Technology (Mell & Grance, 2011).

Problems With Cloud Computing

The CSP (Cloud Service Provider) offers IT infrastructure and resources to organisations. Organisations pay per usage of these computing resources provided in the cloud. This solves many issues faced by organisations of any size, as using the cloud removes the need to invest in in-house computing resources. Cloud computing reduces administration by providing a flexible and diverse service that is scalable based on changing demand. These benefits are the main reasons many companies gravitate towards cloud computing. As with any new technology, there are some drawbacks, limitations and risks around cloud computing.

Service Outage

Downtime of resources can happen anytime because the CSP maintains all the resources. For organisations with critical or live business processes, they cannot tolerate an interruption. There is no way to avoid downtime, even when using the best cloud providers.

Limited Flexibility and Control

Because the CSP administers computing resources, customers have no control over several aspects of IT management including physical inspection, cybersecurity, networking, configuration etc. This reduces the flexibility of IT infrastructures used by the customers.

Vendor Lock-in

It is difficult to migrate between different CSPs, so customers typically find it difficult to switch to a better cloud provider.

Security Issues With Cloud

Cloud resources are typically available to anyone; security and privacy are always the main concerns and risks. Although cloud providers use state-of-the-art technologies, standards and best practices to make their services as secure as possible, no public service is 100% immune to attacks, breaches and security flaws. For many people, security is the main concern when using cloud computing services

Cloud Security Breaches

The following examples show that security can be a primary risk of using cloud computing. According to a survey conducted in 2016 (Patrick, 2016), 64% of organisations consider cloud technology more secure than the traditional IT infrastructure and 31% (which is the highest in the survey) also believed that security was the main challenge they faced when using the clouds.
  • In 2012, Dropbox announced that they had 69 million user accounts hacked and someone stole the users’ details (Bradford, 2019).
  • In 2014, someone hacked Apple iCloud and they exposed several celebrities private photos to the Internet.
  • In 2016, someone stole nearly 170 million email addresses and passwords from the LinkedIn social media platform (Bradford 2019).

Benefits to Using Cloud

Implementation of security standards, policies, procedures and processes is imperative to protecting data and services in the cloud. Security is the highest priority for any cloud provider and by leveraging technologies and best practices, a cloud can be even more secure than traditional IT infrastructures. In the event of a local disaster, the data remains safe because the provider stores and backs up data remotely, making the data more secure. Regardless of the security concern, cloud technology is the only solution for many individuals and businesses to ensure a secure environment. There are many benefits to using clouds.

Centralised Security

One of the main advantages of cloud is the centralisation of computing resources which leads to all the benefits of cloud computing including flexibility, scalability, cost reduction etc. This allows centralisation in security. Overall, protecting a decentralised system is harder than protecting a centralised one because of the fewer instances of software, communication hardware and policies.

Less Administration

Secure cloud reduces the frequency and the number of security configurations as opposed to traditional non-cloud systems. Therefore, less administration and resources are required for a secure cloud. When using a public cloud, the cloud provider supplies all the security. When using a private cloud, we still need less security administration than traditional IT infrastructures.

Increased Reliability

security is always one of the main concerns of organisations who use public clouds. However, by having the best security standards in place, cloud technology becomes more reliable for organisations, especially for those that must comply with data privacy and compliances

Cloud Costs Less

All clouds come with security built-in components and packages. Therefore there is no need to spend on dedicated security software. The cost of the whole system is reduced because the provider supplies the security, the operation, maintenance and administration of the system.
These benefits assist individuals to achieve their goals and businesses to better solve business problems. Just like any new technology, there are some concerns especially regarding the security of clouds. However, there is a constant drive to refine techniques and best practices and methodologies to increasingly mitigate the risks.

Additional Resources

Lumen (2019). Reading: Computer Networks and Cloud Computing. Retrieved from
Security in IT is like locking your house or car – it doesn’t stop the bad guys, but if it is good enough they may move on to an easier target. Paul Herbka – Senior Product Manager, Cybersecurity, Cloud and Managed Services at GCI
© Torrens University
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