Cloud Computing Archives - ICOHS College

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The Future of Computing Services

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What is Cloud Computing?

The definition of cloud computing is to offer services through connectivity and the large-scale Internet. Cloud computing democratizes access to international software resources, as it is a software application that serves diverse clients. Multilocation is what differentiates cloud computing from simple outsourcing and from models of older application service providers. Now, small businesses have the ability to master the power of advanced technology in a scalable way.
Cloud computing offers individuals and businesses of all sizes the capacity of a pool of computing resources with good maintenance, secure, easy access and on-demand, such as servers, data storage, and application solution. This gives companies greater flexibility in relation to their data and information, which can be accessed at any time and place, being essential for companies with offices around the world or in different work environments. With a minimum of management, all the elements of cloud computing software can be sized on-demand, you only need an Internet connection.

How does Cloud Computing work?

Cloud computing uses a network layer to connect users’ peripheral point devices, such as computers, smartphones, and portable accessories, to centralized resources in the data center. Before cloud computing, reliable software execution by companies offering services was only possible if they could also pay for the maintenance of the necessary server infrastructure. In addition, traditional software generally required a complete team of IT professionals, internal or external, to deal with the inevitable set of errors, service challenges, and upgrades. The concept of cloud computing is free of all those outdated problems and requirements.


What is the right cloud for your company?

Private Cloud – Made up of a single organization with its own cloud of servers and software for use without a public access point.

Public Cloud – Various companies can use simultaneously, but separately. The cloud provider is responsible for maintenance and security.

Hybrid cloud – Composed of two or more different cloud infrastructures that remain as single entities but are linked by standardized or proprietary technology.

Community Cloud – Different companies or organizations pool their resources in the cloud to solve a common problem.

How do you work in the cloud?

Work in the cloud offers certain peculiarities when it comes to work, both because of the way in which these platforms are structured and because of the Internet’s own characteristics. Among them the most prominent are:
1.       Improved user collaboration. With cloud applications, a collaboration between users is enhanced by being able to easily access shared documents.
2.       You can work wherever, whenever. With a system or application in the cloud, you can work from anywhere at any time, provided you have an Internet connection. In addition, most cloud services and platforms are being progressively integrated into mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, which makes them even more accessible.
3.       Goodbye to equipment maintenance. This refers, of course, to internal infrastructures or servers, not to the hardware used to access the cloud computing applications themselves. However, there are maintenance times of the platforms performed by the company that provides the service and that can hinder the pace of work of your company.
4.       Rapid implementation of new processes. Cloud services are available to users almost instantly. In cases where data migration is necessary it may take a little longer, but the cloud application will be available from the first moment after installation.

What risks does cloud computing have?

The main risks of cloud work lie in two aspects: privacy and availability. In the case of privacy, many users wonder who the data that is hosted on the cloud systems really is, since, sometimes, the terms and conditions of these services may include ambiguous clauses in this regard. In addition, the data that is produced within these platforms can be seen in some form as the property of the companies that host them, as has already happened with storage systems that have been held responsible for the materials that their users hosted.
On the other hand, the availability of these platforms is another risk to consider. Although most of them have almost 100% of available time, do not forget blackouts such as 2012 or 2014, which turned off services such as Dropbox, Gmail, Adobe, Evernote, iCloud and part of Microsoft, among others. These blackouts are usually brief, but for a company that has all its systems in the cloud, it can lead to millions of losses, even if only a few minutes.

Classification of cloud computing by its level of services

With this classification, reference is made to the level at which users operate in the cloud, and it can be accessed at the most superficial level, which is the software; at intermediate, which is the platform; and finally, to the base, which is the infrastructure. In this way, the cloud can be classified as SaaS (Software as a Service), PaaS (Platform as a Service) and IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service).
1.       Cloud computing as SaaS
It is the most used type of cloud thanks to its features and its easy use. With the cloud as SaaS, the user only accesses the software, being able to configure the programs according to the options provided by the partner, but without having the need to have computer knowledge or have to control any aspect of the platform or infrastructure of the same. In short, the client gains in comfort but loses control and security. The most common examples of SaaS are email managers and CRMs.
2.       Cloud computing as PaaS
The platform as a service is probably the level of service that best suits SMEs since any infrastructure can be adapted to form a platform that responds to customer needs, which accesses said platform to create its own applications and programs For its part, the provider is responsible for providing the hardware support, leaving everything related to the management of the software and its security to the client, thus being able to establish the security and operating guidelines that it considers.
3.       Cloud computing as IaaS
Infrastructure as a service implies total user access to the cloud, both in technical and consumer aspects. In this way, although the provider supplies the user with hardware, this is the one who has access and full control to it virtually. Therefore, the user configures and manages the hardware that the provider gives him, thus achieving the highest degree of customization of his resources, although he loses in rapid scalability and flexibility, in addition to increasing the cost of managing these resources and Need qualified personnel.
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The Advantages and Disadvantages of Cloud Computing

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Believe it or not, once upon a time employees of various companies would only be able to access data, messages, files, and information by logging onto a physically chained network that would be interlinked from computer to computer using actual cables.

Pretty old school, right? Not only this, the data was then kept on massive machines that had their own separate room, a space that had to constantly remain well-ventilated in order to prevent any potential overheating.

One wrong move could be fatal; if a device were to overheat, next thing you know company data would all be lost which could lead to complete catastrophe. For this reason, an entire IT-support team would be required to work in-house, simply in the event that something could go awry.

Times have changed, and now companies turn towards systems such as cloud computing for their data storage. Cloud computing carries many advantages, which we will go into further detail about shortly, but as with all things in life, the pendulum swings both ways.

With the presence of hackers and threats to cybersecurity on the up and up, cloud computing can carry risks, such as information being compromised by those with malicious intent. In this article, we discuss not only what cloud computing is all about, but also how one can better protect confidential or sensitive information when using such a modern and potentially vulnerable service.


What Is Cloud Computing?

Simply explained, cloud computing refers to a third-party online service that hosts applications, data, files, software, and more for an individual, an entire company, a business, or other needing organization on a virtual system known as “the cloud.”

Those who are Mac or iPhone users will already be familiar with this term, for the Apple Cloud has grown immensely over the past decade. Cloud computing providers tailored towards organizations and businesses are typically on a much larger scale because the amount of data that must be stored reaches grandiose sizes and often a big network of employees must be able to access various information.

Data and applications are accessed from the outsourcer, the service provider, by logging in through any computer that has an internet connection, which means that no matter where in the world an employee is located and no matter what physical device they are hooked up to, they will still be able to view the same content and details, freeing them from many potential complications that once existed prior to the cloud is a thing. Considering that physical proximity used to be a massive concern for employers, this restrictive physical presence is no longer needed.

Cloud computing is paid for typically through a subscription, which is normally billed on a month-to-month basis, meaning that this service can be canceled at any point in time. This contrasts the prior option of needed to buy a license for a specific program, which could end up costing a company large sums of money upfront with no refund policy in case a business decided to suddenly shut its doors.

The most important aspect of cloud computing to remember is that maintaining upmost security with this type of service is an equal responsibility between the provider and the consumer.

The cloud computing service provider ensures a network is safe on their side (the infrastructure or core of the system,) but the consumer must monitor their platforms, data, and operating systems which remain in their direct hands.

The reality is, a cloud computing service provider could take all the precautions necessary, but if the consumer is not also in cooperation, a cyberthreat could unfold, leading to compromising circumstances. One such example of a consumer mishap would be a hack happening from the inside by an employee with full access to sensitive data.


Advantages of Cloud Computing

The reason why funding for cloud computing services has reached $39.5 billion in 2019 is due to the copious amount of advantages this option does offer. Companies and businesses are happy to spend money on cloud computing because of how much cash it saves them in the long run.

The biggest advantage of switching to cloud computing has to be that it not only saves money but also time. Having a database of information available on a secure, online platform allows gigantic, international companies to effortlessly share and send data between one another, deeply extending global reach. This entails grander expansions and maximizes the potential for multi-national businesses and organizations.

Next off is the service’s protection against data loss. No longer do businesses have to worry about unforeseeable circumstances or natural disasters demolishing all of their saved data. Unless the internet was to completely be erased, there would be no way for files to just disappear in a moment.

Additionally, the need for physical backups is no longer a fundamental practice for companies storing information because third-party cloud computing services are responsible for backing up data digitally.

As the world turns more and more into virtual reality, we’ll be seeing cloud computing grow in size, use, and popularity, with predictions of it turning into a $63 billion industry by 2021.


Disadvantages of Cloud Computing

The biggest disadvantage of cloud computing has to be the fact that when utilizing this service, you are placing substantial responsibility into the hands of third-party service. For this exact reason, when choosing a cloud computing provider, one must ensure that they are selecting a trustworthy source.

In order to avoid any mishaps or threats to security due to trusting the wrong individuals, all cloud computing service providers must be thoroughly checked and preferably selected based off of a recommendation from another company or dependable network of individuals.

Some of the most popular cloud computing providers are as follows (but as always, do scope out the company prior to paying for their service):

  • Amazon Web Services
  • Microsoft Azure
  • Google Cloud Platform
  • Oracle Cloud
  • Verizon Cloud
  • Dell Cloud Marketplace
  • Alibaba Cloud

Many other service providers do exist, but again, fully vet any cloud computing company you are leaning towards subscribing with. Often times, the bigger, notorious names have extra security measures set into place, which is what makes them a potentially more reputable decision.


Why Is Cloud Computing a Modern Choice?

Let’s be honest, companies do not want to have all of their sensitive data stored anymore on a device that could overheat and create catastrophe; they would much rather have a network that can be widely accessed by all who need to receive specific information.

Long gone are the days of massive servers kept in isolated, well-ventilated rooms with an always on-call IT support team ready to jump in at any sign of potential disaster. The idea of a natural disaster such as a flood or fire destroying all information also helps to convince businesses to move towards the modern choice of cloud computing.

Additionally, now there are so many opportunities for global access to all information, in addition to saving employees time without needing backups to be constantly generated or for duplicate versions of documents to be created.

The modern choice of switching from physical software to cloud computing has not only saved companies time but in turn also a ton of money.


How Can Confidential Information Be Better Protected When Using Cloud Computing?

Because cybersecurity is just as much the responsibility of the user as it is a cloud computing provider, there are specific steps that can be taken in order to better protect confidential information when utilizing this type of digital service.

The following courses of action can be implemented for improved security:

  • Monitor and audit all movement happening related to the cloud. Regularly view all authorized and unauthorized log-ins, and track employee usage of this virtual service.
  • Keep tabs on privileged accounts so that there is an air of accountability. Make sure each one of your employees logs into the shared network with their own information so that you can avoid any breaches from the inside.
  • Limit privileges and allowances to only what is necessary. Do not give every one of your employees the same access to information and data. Instead, only permit the actions they can select to what is appropriate for their job description and work responsibilities. Only give your most trusted employees full access.
  • Enhance security by implementing multi-factor authentication. Require multiple steps and passwords for employees to log into the cloud and opt for vaulted passwords.

Some of the most detrimental cyberattacks involving cloud computing occur because of someone on the inside who is granted substantial access to the network and its data. In this manner, the individual gains the keys needed to unlock many precious doors, which can lead to massive security breaches.

Avoid this by knowing all of your employees with in-depth access to any cloud computing services and complete thorough background checks if the data they will be accessing is particularly sensitive. Additionally, proper tracking will help to keep tabs on which actions are performed by which employees.


Mistakes to Avoid with Cloud Computing

When running any business, it is important to remain trusting of your team but also still enforce the necessary precautions. Do not assume that you know someone just because they appear a certain way on the surface.

Still be sure to take care when giving people access to sensitive or confidential information, and always monitor what is going on even if you have full confidence in your employees.


Our Final Thoughts on Cloud Computing

Although the idea of entrusting a third-party online provider with storing sensitive data, information, applications, and more may seem like a risky ordeal, cloud computing providers have proven time and time again that their services are quite safe, so be it that both the provider and the consumer play an equal role in maintaining responsibility by securing data as much as possible.

As a user of a cloud computing service, there are specific steps that can be taken in order to better protect confidential information, which comes down to properly tracking and monitoring your employees and limiting access to certain individuals.

If you are searching for IT schools in San Diego or for an affordable school for IT, ICOHS is a non-profit vocational college, offering a variety of information technology-related courses, with fully-comprehensive tech programs that includes a Computer and Networking Technician Certification program, as well as trainings to become an IT Network Specialist or an IT Systems Administrator.

For access to one of the leading career colleges in San Diego, reach out to ICOHS today and request more information.


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