Should the Cloud make me anxious? This is a question I ask myself every day when using Netflix, Hulu, Google Mail, iCloud, Microsoft 365, and Dropbox. I still like the convenience of accessing documents and data from any device, and now I can even stream games using Xbox One Beam service. It is a new area and I am an early adopter, which makes me wary of the vulnerabilities and risks involved.
One of the most common fears people often have about the cloud is insufficient security. After all, you are entrusting your data to another party. You might be thinking: could we perhaps secure our data better on a physical server in our company? In true reality, a system could be secured perfectly but if users don’t take basic security precautions, breach is inevitable. Data leaks happen more frequently to physical servers. For example in 2015, Anthem, Inc. disclosed that hackers broke into its servers and potentially stole over 37.5 million records; this number was later raised to 78.8 million people that were affected.
The question is not whether to be anxious or afraid, but instead of how to make the best use of it and ensure best practices are in place to mitigate the risk of data leakage. And when IT goes awry, it is a reliable standard to have an alternative process as a backup. Companies can also consider using orchestration tools or a cloud abstraction layer to avoid lock-in with a single provider.
The elasticity provided by cloud computing can be an added benefit for a small to mid-sized organization, where it can scale up and down based on the demand or at a more granular level, opt for pay-per-use services. What do we have that can really validate the proposition to the masses when it comes to cloud computing, is it online backup and storage? Regardless, looking at the trends and investing in cloud computing is a good idea.
Some of the largest cloud providers today include Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, and Salesforce. Amazon Web Services (AWS), a subsidiary of Amazon.com Inc., is a public Internet as a Service (IaaS) provider with Microsoft taking the number two spot for Azure and Office 365. According to Morgan Stanley, by 2019, Microsoft Azure will surpass Amazon Web Services in both IaaS and Platform as a Service (PaaS).
The competitive advantage cloud computing brings cannot be shirked, and ultimately, I choose to look at the silver lining and not be out-competed by other organizations already adopting it.