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The Top Five Threats To Cloud Computing

The Top Five Threats To Cloud Computing

With hundreds of enterprises migrating to cloud services every day, it looks like the march to cloud everything is inevitable and unstoppable. However, cloud computing is not without its risks, and in this post, I will cover the top five issues that pose a threat to increased cloud adoption by enterprises.

Highly fragmented market

In most areas of computing, it is a winner-take-all market. Whether it is Facebook or Google search, or Windows or iPhone, most markets in our world face either a monopoly or a duopoly. While such markets pose their own threats (lack of options/high pricing power with providers), cloud computing belongs to the other end of the spectrum. It is heavily fragmented, with new players entering the game every day.

For instance, in the consumer cloud storage segment alone, there are at least seven players vying for the role of leader (though Dropbox currently has an edge). All the major players in computing—Oracle, Microsoft, Google, Apple, IBM, Salesforce and Amazon—are making cloud computing their top priority. This has added to an increased confusion among customers and prevented the adoption of proper standards.

Lack of sufficient standards

It follows from the previous point that fragmentation, high stakes and huge rivalry are preventing the evolution of proper standards in handling data and applications. This means moving your data and applications painlessly between different CSPs is still an elusive dream. Without sufficient standards, many enterprises are loathe to invest a lot of money in innovation and integration when it comes to the cloud.

Data lock-in

In an earlier article I covered how retrieving data and moving to another provider can be a non-trivial issue on the cloud. The fragmentation and lack of standards work together here. Given how critical data is for your organization’s survival, it is important to implement proper policies in order to make sure your data is not locked-in.

Security threats

Cloud computing puts your critical enterprise data and that of your users on the public Internet. There is a significant probability that this data could fall in the hands of malicious hackers. This is a concern that is inhibiting the adoption of cloud computing in sectors such as healthcare and finance. With the adoption of proper practices, it is possible to have as high security on the public cloud as is possible on an in-house server installation. However, the attack surface is still high on a public cloud, and the public perception of a lack of security is still a threat to cloud adoption.

Service outages

In February, Microsoft Azure faced a massive service outage that affected thousands of enterprises. Its competitors—Amazon and Google—have also faced massive service downtime issues in the recent past. Cloud computing technologies are still maturing, and CSPs are working hard to prevent such massive failures. However, we can expect serious outages to be a frequent scourge for some time to come.

By Balaji Viswanathan

Balaji

Balaji Viswanathan is the founder of Agni Innovation Labs that helps startups and small businesses with their marketing and tech strategy. He has a Masters in Computer Science from the University of Maryland and has been blogging for the past 7 years on technology and business related topics.

11 Responses to The Top Five Threats To Cloud Computing

  1. Guaranteed performance and reliability of hosted desktops in particular is an issue. 

    •  @nuageit I agree. Performance issues can become a threat especially in shared instances where one instance hogs all the disc seeks and writes, slowing down other instances on the same physical machine. 

      • Cloud computing system has indeed a lot of things to improve.  Although its been lurking the web for so many months now, it’s system still has a lot of flaws.

        •  @cloud computing Agreed with Balaji! The problems of these services are based largely on the complexity of them as they often consist of many software and hardware components. A huge number of virtual machines that are used in the clouds, especially in public clouds require such control systems. Unsafe application programming interfaces, vulnerability of shared technologies, loss or leakage of data, unknown risk profile could also be added to the list.

        •  @BalajiViswanathan  @sarojkar  @cloud computing
             I’ve noticed many of the global Cloud providers are moving to the use of a  telephone (mobile or other) as a form of a token where the user is asked to telesign into their account by entering a one-time PIN code which is delivered to your phone via SMS or voice. Or if you don’t want to do this   every single time, some offer the option to designate your smartphone, PC, or tablet as a trusted device and they will allow you to enter without the text code. Should an attempt to login from an unrecognized device happen, it would not be allowed.

  2. Balaji,

    I agree with you. The 2-5 are pretty much known but the first one isn’t well known but maybe the most important since it’s more of a feeling than a pretty well defined threat as lock-in. The first one is a jungle more than a fog. The good thing is that jungles can we do something about. Not desolate but disforest. It’s easy to start a business in the cloud but it’s more difficult to keep it alive. A lot of gold diggers to watch out for. That’s why I think trusted brokers, aggregators and advisors are absolutely necessary to consult when adopting cloud – they can help customers disforest the cloud jungle. SLA in general should be taken seriously but I think most reliable CSP’s do their job and it’s more a problem for a specific CSP than the market.

  3.  @nuageit I agree. Performance issues can become a threat especially in shared instances where one instance hogs all the disc seeks and writes, slowing down other instances on the same physical machine. 

  4.  @cloud computing Agreed with Balaji! The problems of these services are based largely on the complexity of them as they often consist of many software and hardware components. A huge number of virtual machines that are used in the clouds, especially in public clouds require such control systems. Unsafe application programming interfaces, vulnerability of shared technologies, loss or leakage of data, unknown risk profile could also be added to the list.

  5.  @sarojkar  @cloud computing Thanks for jumping in guys. Will bring out a part II of the article sometime elaborating on points Max and Sarojkar suggested. 

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