Cloud Computing: A Brief Overview

Cloud Computing: A Brief Overview

Most readers would already know about Cloud Computing and Cloud Storage, due to their extensive implementation in household tech and use in popular culture. For those who don’t know, cloud technology is a web based technology that allows multiple user to store data on the internet. So basically every time you upload/backup photos or data on google drive, drop box or iCloud; it’s all possible because of cloud computing.

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How Cloud Has Changed Our Lives

Now that we know what we’re talking about, let’s look at some more examples of cloud computing technology in our day to day lives.

  • Salaries – Remember the times when employees received hard cash or cheque as payment for their work? Not anymore thanks to cloud hosting (unless you’re a broker or trader)! Salaries are automatically credited to worker’s bank accounts in a digital stored cyberspace. This has indeed turned huge sums of money to mere digits. But as long as you’re rich on paper; who cares, right?
  • Air Tickets – We no longer need to buy physical boarding passes for flights. All we need is a printed copy with identification barcode, which corresponds to data stored on a cloud server. Flight personnel simply need to enter or scan the barcode to confirm the passenger’s identity and boarding details.
  • Virtual Offices – Cloud services aren’t just used for storing your photos or music, but also important documents. This has allowed organizations to work in a totally virtual environment where all data is stored and shared via cloud services such as Dropbox or Google Drive.
  • Shopping – There’s no way you haven’t bought things on the internet. While things can’t be physically stored on the internet, they can always be bought and sold via internet transactions. Cloud technology makes it possible for sellers to display their items and services on online databases such as Amazon, EBay and Alibaba etc. Internet users can simply visit these websites and buy these items that get physically delivered at their doorstep.

But with so much money floating around the internet, there is also a definitive risk that looms over this technology. As cloud servers are used for storing pointless to immensely sensitive data, they are often targeted by cyber criminals and hackers.

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Threats to Cloud Computing Security

With the growing implementation of cloud technology in our daily lives, there are several threats that we need to know about whenever sharing or storing our data online. Listed below are some of cloud computing’s worst enemies.

  1. Data Breach – Imagine a thief breaking into a bank and stealing all the money. As few as those cases occur in 2016, it is a very real and imminent possibility on the internet. Although most popular cloud storage provides maintain hefty security and data encryption to keep hackers at bay, data breach isn’t very uncommon. While the service providers are only charged with lawsuits and fines, the data loss itself can be extremely disastrous. Data breaches can cause entire businesses and organizations to shut down for good and render you penniless.
  2. Insufficient Authentication – Most users might believe that keeping a strong, un-guessable password is all they need to protect their information and data. There have been several cases related to various financial institutions, where customer data was compromised due to poor access procedures. Most password strength checkers aren’t very helpful at creating strong passwords, making this a very serious problem for the future of cloud hosting.
  3. Compromised Systems – If you try to do online banking through an unsecure connection, you’re going to have a bad time. Since a number of resources and data is shared in a closed environment, this creates an opportunity for outside attackers to gain entry in the network. Virtual offices are basically dependent on employees who work from home. As they might or might not use a secure internet connection on their system or it has a virus, there are chances that the data being shared is exposed to infections and cybercrime attacks.
  4. Hijackers – There have been several cases of user accounts being hacked on Facebook. This certainly tells us how easy is it for someone to hijack our identity on the internet. Hijackers gain entry to your system through phishing and spam mails and can effectively take control over your system. They could either impersonate you and gain access to your bank accounts or use your sensitive information for fraudulent purposes.
  5. Advanced Persistent Threats – Simply referred as APTs, these malicious parasites blend in with normal internet traffic and infiltrate the system. Once these gain access in the cloud server these could cause permanent loss of data and result in extreme economic devastation.

Although most Cloud computing services take serious measures to protect data and maintain high levels of security, even the users must learn more to eliminate any loopholes. Regardless of how dangerous it seems, there are several things that wouldn’t be possible without the use of cloud technology. Therefore, having an in-depth knowledge is the best way to ensure maximum security and convenience.

Akshay Peter

Akshay Luke Peters is a writer and blogger for Systweak Software. He likes to write about off-beat topics and technological awareness. He is also part musician who likes to explore the future of technology in entertainment and popular media.

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