Cloud Computing is the supposedly ultimate in computing experience where all data is stored on online central servers and all you need is a computer with internet connection to access the applications/data. People keep talking about this as if this is something new but it’s not. If you remember the era of computing before personal computers became popular that is exactly what they used (albeit on a much smaller scale and with lesser speed). So its not something new, and it’s not something that will fit all use cases. Today I read an article on ZDNet where the author (Jason Perlow) talks about Cloud Computing and basically tells us that we should stop whining and embrace this new and great technology because we don’t have a choice. My response: *yeah right*.
Don’t take me wrong, Cloud computing has its advantages, but it has it’s disadvantages as well. Telling folks who point out the disadvantages that their complaints don’t matter and that they have to come on to the bandwagon no matter what is irresponsible and potentially dangerous. You should go read the article and see what Jason has to say about this. I am not going to nitpick on his article as he is entitled to have an opinion.
Here are some reasons that I think you need to be careful about Cloud computing:
Data Access Control/Security: When I have a document on my local computer, I control who can see it. If someone who I don’t want to see the document wants to view it, they will have to break into my computer, steal it, put a court order or something similar. The same is not the case with data stored in the Cloud. In that case the company you are using to store the data controls who can be granted access and for what reason. A government can send a legal request to your provider or a bored employee can decide to check out what you have stored in the account. The company hosting the data will react based on what is best for them and not what is best for you. If you got a court order to share your data then you have to option of contesting it but if your provider gets the same order they will comply with it because it’s easier for them.
Secondly, people target the cloud servers because it’s a bigger target and the payoff is much larger if they manage to break in. They don’t care about your ‘secret recipe’ or your financial documents so they won’t target your computer specifically, but if they break into the Cloud server they get all that and a whole lot more so plenty of folks will be trying to break in.
One of the common responses that some people give when we talk about people breaking into cloud servers is that these companies hire some of the smartest people in the industry so your data is safe. However that is not true as it only takes one vulnerability and since no system is perfect sooner or later someone will get access. The more the no of people trying to break in the higher the chances are that someone will succeed.
System/Service Availability: You spend a couple of days uploading your data to a cloud based service, what guaranty do you have that the company won’t decide that it’s not worth it and shut it down? It’s happened too many times in the past for anyone to claim that this is not a possibility. What if you have a critical presentation and Google Docs has an outage, or your ISP (Internet Service Provider) has an outage? It has happened multiple times this year (e.g. Google Drive , Microsoft Cloud Storage.
Personally I don’t like access to my data dependent on others. I have been burnt multiple times by that in the past so I prefer running my own services whenever I can and keep multiple backup copies of stuff I have put up online.
Any new technology has it’s downsides and we should be aware of the risks before we start putting all our eggs in the same basket.
Well this is all for now. Will post more later.
Original source: Cloud haters: You too will be assimilated | ZDNet.