The Biggest Pitfall in Cloud Computing: Security
Technology is not without its pitfalls even if it has so many benefits, especially if it is not used properly. Cloud computing is no exception; in fact a lot of people think that cloud computing has more pitfalls than the current solutions that they are already employing in their business. Some of these are actually real but can be prevented, while others are just rationalizations out of laziness to plan and execute or even simply an undeniable resistance to change. A lot of people are afraid of change, to step out of the comfort zone. True enough, stepping out of your comfort zone half-heartedly and without a real plan will quickly help you realize these fears. But we shall only tackle the biggest one here.
The most glaring of these pitfalls that people are buzzing on about is security. In a data-driven world, security is paramount. And why shouldn’t it be, it’s the most powerful weapon anyone could possess; whole empires have come crashing down because of a few key pieces information. Granted it would take years to tear down an empire with mere information or disinformation, but it would only require a few minutes for a big company, no, a whole economy to fall because of lost information. Imagine if the worldwide stock exchange entity suddenly lost all of its valuable data including all the backups at the same time, that would be billions in every currency lost, causing an entire worldwide economy collapse.
It’s basically an apocalypse scenario.
Security is a real issue even though it is true that cloud computing is just as safe as traditional systems when it comes to apparent vulnerabilities and security holes. This is because of the nature of cloud computing, the public cloud, there are a lot more people with proximity access to the data. What I mean is that compared to an in-house system where there is virtually no connection to the outside internet, the whole world will now be potentially be able to just walk up to your door, so to speak, in public cloud systems. Let’s consider an analogy, let’s say that you have a really expensive gem hidden inside a safe box, and with the in-house system, other people have no access to the gem because the safe that it is hidden in is in a tower in the middle of a lake. Nobody has actually even seen the safe and most people don’t know that it even exists so the chance of someone trying to steal it is very low. Now in a public cloud scenario the safe would be placed in a very secure building with many locks and guards, but that building has a sign indicating its valuable contents and is located in a very busy market street where a lot of people can see it. This actually increases the chance that someone will be interested in it and that someone may have the skills to steal it.
True that a public cloud provider may have abundance in terms of security measures or even skill, but what is made by man can be unmade by man, so by exposing your precious data to the global public like that, it will only be a matter of time before someone very skilled tries something. The probability of a security breach simply explodes exponentially if you consider every person in the world with internet access a possible intruder. This is much the same as placing cookies on a table that is supposedly unreachable by a child who will eventually find a way to climb up, as opposed to keeping the cookies in the high cupboard away from view and preventing temptation entirely.
By Abdul Salam
He has recently co-authored: Deploying and Managing a Cloud Infrastructure: Real-World Skills for the CompTIA Cloud+ Certification (Wiley).