Network Security – CLOUD COMPUTING
Do you use a web-based email? Then you are cloud computing. Do you post to social media? That’s cloud computing. Do you bank or pay bills online? That too, is cloud computing. If you download music, books, or have ever taken an online class – you guessed it – cloud computing. In the simplest terms, cloud computing is accessing software, applications and data via the Internet. What we used to access via a hard drive or computer disc is now accessed over the world wide web. As a society, cloud computing has become a part of our daily lives. For companies, cloud computing is changing the way they do business.
THE BENEFITS OF CLOUD COMPUTING
COST – Cloud computing can save companies money. Software and hardware costs, licensing fees for multiple users, in-house servers, a secure data center – all of this adds up. By moving to a cloud solution, companies can dramatically reduce these costs. A well-designed and well-implemented cloud system can allow businesses to only pay for what they need. A cloud-enabled system allows companies to scale up or downsize as their organization’s IT needs change.
EASE OF ACCESS –As long as there is an Internet connection, your cloud-enabled system is accessible to customers and employees alike. For employees, this ease of access to email, documents, and files allows them to be more efficient and effective. Adding and removing employees from the system is easier with cloud, as access can be removed or granted in a matter of keystrokes. For customers, this 24/7 access, from any location, on any smart device is expected. An effective cloud solution can improve the customer’s experience and satisfaction.
DATA STORAGE AND SECURITY – Cloud computing allows companies to store and secure unlimited amounts of data. Data is centralized and more effectively protected with proper auditing, oversight, passwords, and encryption. In cases of a disaster or a hardware failure, data is often lost. With cloud backups, data can be easily managed, recovered, and restored.
THE RISKS OF CLOUD COMPUTING
CONNECTIVITY – To access the cloud, you must have an Internet connection, preferably high-speed. Low bandwidth means slower connection and increased lag time, which in turn leads to poor connectivity and performance. Web traffic also has an impact, as more users accessing the network at the same time can slow down the system. Cloud computing comes to a halt when users don’t have access to your cloud.
SECURITY – Hackers, unsecured Wi-Fi, malicious software, cyber-terrorism – these are all threats to a cloud-enabled network. As we mentioned earlier, cloud computing allows for more effective cyber-security with encryption and data protection, but you can never eliminate all risk, especially on the Internet.
LOCAL NETWORK ACCESS – With a cloud-enabled network, data is not stored locally. A company does not have physical control or local access to their data. Organizations have to trust that their cloud provider is staying on top of things. Trusting someone else with their data is the single greatest deterrent for companies when considering a cloud solution.
Cloud computing is a technology that companies cannot afford to ignore. Organizations, no matter their size, must carefully evaluate and assess their computing and network needs. Choosing the right IT and cloud services partner is paramount to a secure, well-designed cloud solution.