Cloud Computer

Man is still the most extraordinary computer of all

Author: Laura Theroux (page 1 of 2)

All About Virtual Computing

In the past few years cloud computing virtualization has taken a major place amongst the hosting providers, it is today perhaps the most important technique used to help and assists both, the cloud servers and the clients.

Due to the technology of virtualization the many things including the processing, functioning, working and resources everything has been virtualized today. It can be termed as a standardized shift from the real resources to the virtual one with the intervention of virtualization in cloud computing. With this several services, resources and applications can be accessed from the cloud server rather than having them at your own IT atmosphere. Therefore, the cloud computing companies are the pioneers of this latest technology.

Cloud computing services will enable your company to employ models those are scalable, cost-effective, and highly efficient in nature. These enterprises can naturally control and create cloud atmosphere and networks that consists of integrated services, like the data storage space, server applications and various services related to web hosting for your business.

With the help of a could computing company you need not have to spend huge amounts over the setup of the cloud infrastructure and including that we don’t have to spend huge amounts either on the high and pricy software’s. In both the cases we save a lot of money and time. All the resources and software are provided to the clients through the internet and subsequently these services are then accessed from the browser of various mobiles or from the laptops.

These are some of the outstanding features of a cloud computing company using the virtual web hosting services:

1. According to the design of this model it will power the website with respect to its requirements and needs.

2. High priority is being given to the security on and off the cloud servers.

3. Hardware, software and other important resources are availed and utilized in a virtual manner.

4. Virtual web hosting will offer you various advantages that are greater than the shared and dedicated servers with respect to resource sharing. In general at the moment if you require added resources suddenly the virtual web hosting will help you out in no time and this one of the best things about it, it’s fast and highly scalable.

Cloud servers can be said as the future prospect of mostly the small and medium scale enterprises. Cloud computing services are termed as the high and enhanced versions of the dedicated servers that are provided by the third party. However, in the cloud server everything is very fast and scalable; it doesn’t take much time like the dedicated server to upgrade any kind of resources or need to the server and is more efficient and cheap as compared to a dedicated server.

There are some points that should be taken care by the cloud manager and the system administrator, these are very important for the proper functioning and running of the server. It’s the responsibility of the management team of the server to make the:

1. At every moment the virtual server should be accessible.

2. Server storage should be enabled with an integrated security system and they should boost the level of security against any infiltrators.

3. Scalability is a must for any business and it should be increased for the betterment of the business and with this a client gets more options to choose from.

Benefit Cloud Computing For Your Business

From the ‘buzz’ word in the computing world, cloud computing has matured as a full-fledged business strategy that holds many advantages and applications. Even now a lot of enhancements and innovations are going on to make The services faster, better and safer. This article analyses that applications and advantages of cloud computing from a business point-of-view.

In simplest words, cloud computing is the utilization of internet for computing requirements. In an ideal atmosphere businesses only need devices and connectivity to internet. Data, software, applications, storage, networking, security and everything else will be made available to you by your cloud service provider. Currently there is a range of cloud services are available on pay-as-you-go, rental, prepaid and annual fee basis. Some most common cloud applications include Software as a Service or SaaS, Cloud hosting & storage, Security as a Service or SECaaS, Infrastructure as a Service or IaaS, Backup as a Service, Platform as a Service or PaaS, Monitoring as a Service or MaaS and Communication as a Service or CaaS.

Advantages of Cloud Computing to Businesses

The first and foremost important advantage is the cost. Usually with clouds there are no initial investment requirements for infrastructure. Additionally there are no maintenance costs, cost of infrastructure or software upgrade, license fees or in-house IT teams. Usually there is a variety of service packages available to suit every business needs.

The second advantage is the availability of unlimited services. The services may be priced per head or on a flat rate. Most cloud service providers offer the unlimited option on number of users, storage capacity, backup size, user access and almost everything possible. Generally there are no additional costs; even if there is any it still can be very low.

Cloud computing offers easy and universal access of data, applications and procedures. Generally, all cloud services are available any time anywhere there is internet. Moreover, users and businesses not need to bother about the settings and customizations. You can access your data and applications from any computer or device in they way you configured.

Cloud computing offer automated and no-cost updates. The cloud server providers are very keen to offer you top quality services and also automatic updates is one of the basic features that is enclosed on the agreement.

Disadvantages of Cloud Computing to Businesses

Cloud computing with its current setup not suits all kinds of businesses. These services favor large and mid size businesses and businesses who rely highly upon information technology. These services also need stable and reliable internet connectivity; the lack of which can jeopardize the whole idea of cloud services. The data and applications are always hosted on external third-party networks and computers; and data transfers over internet are always prone to attacks.

Solution of Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is an emerging technology in the Internet’s evolution; it is a growing trend, nowadays, in the IT and business world as it delivers a host of benefits via the Web from one central location. Cloud-based services, in fact, can meet most business demands for scalability, flexibility and productivity.

Cloud Adoption: Why make the move?

The main reason for cloud computing transition is cost savings. Many companies are getting onboard as the cloud architecture allows them to have access to technology-enabled services without having to upgrade their hardware and software, maintaining and updating a complex IT infrastructure and without needing a full IT team onboard. The migration to the Cloud Architecture can be eased by pre-existing IT resources (applications or programs) online that are accessible through the Internet; services can be provided by external companies.

Deployment Models: Which one to choose?

There are choices to make when it comes to adopting a cloud solution. The deployment of different models depends on the needs of each company. Enterprises can opt to have a private cloud and use a virtualized data center inside their firewall and still retain control over sensitive data and its own infrastructure, security and governance. Otherwise, for companies that can outsource their data management, there is a public cloud solution which offers a virtualized data center outside the firewall. This option involves going off-site to an external provider that renders services over the network. If chosen, an enterprise will not have ownership of the equipment as it is hosted in the cloud environment.

Needs that cannot be met by a private or public cloud alone, can be satisfied by the adoption of hybrid cloud architectures, which combine public and private cloud services and can offer the benefits of both deployment models.

Cloud Service Models: What is the right solution?

The three most basic cloud-service models are Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS). Each model defines the type of service the cloud provides to users, by either a monthly subscription or pay-as-you-go basis, where companies pay for what they actually use.

  1. IaaS: A cloud provider of IaaS offers virtual machines and servers, as well as use of other network resources, such as firewalls and load balancers, and even storage. Application software is hosted by the provider on the cloud infrastructure. It’s a solution for those in need of computing memory, storage and/or bandwidth. It benefits users that opt for a public cloud and want to share resources.

With IaaS, it is the provider not the user that is responsible for maintaining, executing the delivery of hardware and network resources. The user, instead, manages and controls the cloud service components it needs. Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a popular public cloud IaaS provider.

  1. PaaS: In this model, the cloud provider delivers the computer platform, Web server, and database so the user does not have to buy and manage them. This is ideal for those that want to develop and run their software solutions on a cloud platform and make it available to platform’s users. It is a good solution for App and Web developers.

With PaaS, the user has access to a programming or runtime environment where it is possible to use development tools and run cloud service applications on a cloud platform. An example of this type of service is Windows Azure, a cloud application platform by Microsoft.

  1. SaaS: This provides “on-demand software” by the cloud provider. Apps/programs are controlled and executed on the provider’s infrastructure. This offers a solution that eliminates the need to install and run one’s own software on-site. It is ideal for those that don’t want the burden of being responsible of maintenance and upgrades. SaaS is a suitable choice for those in need of a solution for Customer Relationship Management (CRM), or simplify networking and sharing information.

With SaaS, cloud-based application software is provided as a service. The cloud provider maintains the app programs. An example of this type of service is Office 365. Also offers a SaaS cloud-based approach.

Cloud computing can bring many benefits, as mentioned, to businesses who need high end technology but can’t invest heavily in their IT infrastructure. Adopting cloud services offers a cost-reduction strategy, enables greater agility and provides value-added components. There are some deterrents (privacy and security issues, for example) that are holding back the widespread adoption of cloud computing and cloud computing-based services, private or public, as well as hybrid.

Types of Cloud Computing

For many of us clouds still remain the fluffy white things that float in the sky or the darker fluffy things that bring thunderstorms and rain. Well, today there is more to clouds than being fluffy and to float in the sky. Cloud computing has given us a new way to perceive clouds. There was an era when we relied on portable drives, hardware and pen drives to very large extent and how we used to almost have stroke if we misplaced these precious data holders. Cloud computing reduces the stroke rate that one might get on losing a portable hardware. It is a service that one can subscribe to and get a network storage space and computer resources.

Cloud computing is similar to your e-mail account which you can access from any corner of the world as long as you are connected to the internet. The only difference is that with cloud computing you can choose from the information that is accessible within the cloud. The essentials that you need to get information from cloud computing is an internet connection on any device ranging from a personal computer to a tablet. Just like your email is not housed on your device physically, the information on cloud computing is also not housed on your device physically.

The convenience that cloud computing brings to the users is immense. To start with it’s the best deal for upcoming businesses and start up organizations. It helps these budding ventures to make the best out of the limited resources have and give them a chance to stand up well established organizations that have a stock of hardware and software. It also serves well for people seeking to use it for their personal work. With the number of devices that one person owns today it might get a little messy to keep a track of the data one might have saved on either the phone or the laptop. Cloud computing helps one to cut through the clutter and becomes a kind of data bank.

There are different types of clouds that can suffice you needs. There is the Public, Private, Community and Hybrid cloud, each with its own specifications so to cater to the needs of different people. Public clouds are accessible to all the subscribers with an internet connection and access to cloud space. Private clouds are set up for specific groups or organizations. Community clouds are set up between two or more organizations that have similar cloud requirements. Lastly, hybrid clouds have the qualities of two types of clouds at the least. The combinations depend on requirements of the people or the organizations.

Cloud computing certainly is futuristic as long as you know that your service provider has taken all the necessary precautions and safety measures.

Accessing Data Using Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is a type of computing that relies on sharing resources rather than having local servers or personal devices to handle applications. To enable this sharing, cloud computing uses networks of large groups of servers with specialized connections to spread data across them. This shared IT infrastructure contains large pools of systems that are linked together. Often, virtualization techniques are used to maximize the power of cloud computing.

The cloud is also not same as having a dedicated network attached storage (NAS) hardware or server. Storing data on a home or office network does not count as utilizing the cloud.

Cloud computing is necessarily accessing your data or your programs over the Internet, or at the very least, have that data synchronized with other information over the Web.

Some of the benefits of having a cloud infrastructure and implementing cloud solutions are as follows:

Capital-expenditure Free

Cloud computing is cost effective. Businesses can simply “pay as you go” and enjoy a subscription-based model instead of incurring huge expenses on hardware. In addition, there are the advantages of less IT cares and concerns.


Cloud-based services are ideal for businesses in the phase of expansion or undergoing fluctuating bandwidth demands. It is easy to scale up or down your cloud capacity depending upon the business needs. This level of agility can give businesses using cloud computing a real advantage over competitors.

Disaster recovery

Large businesses invest majorly in robust disaster recovery. For smaller businesses investing on disaster recovery is often more an ideal than the reality. With Cloud computing now small businesses too can realize their ideals. Small businesses are twice as likely as larger companies to have implemented cloud-based backup and recovery solutions that save time, avoid large up-front investment and roll up third-party expertise as part of the deal.

Automatic software updates

In cloud computing, there is no headache about maintenance. Vendors take care of them and roll out regular software updates, including security updates. It ensures that no time is wasted in maintaining the system.

Enhanced productivity

With easier access and ability to share and edit documents anytime, from anywhere, teams are able to do more together, and do it better. Cloud-based workflow and file sharing apps help them make updates in real time and gives them full visibility of their collaborations.


With cloud computing, an internet connection is all that is needed to be at work. Businesses can offer more flexible working perks to employees so they can enjoy the work-life balance that suits them without productivity taking a hit.

Some say the cloud is just a metaphor for the Internet. It goes back to the days of flowcharts and presentations that would represent the gigantic server-farm infrastructure of the Internet as nothing but a puffy, white cumulonimbus cloud, accepting connections and rolling out information as it floats. In the simplest terms, cloud computing means storing and accessing data and programs over the Internet instead of a computer’s hard drive.

Reason Using Cloud Computing

The Basics.

As businesses expand, they begin to experience some really difficult and expensive information technology (IT) challenges. Maintenance of hardware and software facilities can be a pain in the neck with traditional business computing systems. Cloud technologies and services present a smart, user-friendly solution. It’s also cheaper than traditional systems and increases the productivity and workflow of the business.

Cloud computing, by definition, is technology that makes use of the internet and servers centralized in remote data centers to store and maintain data and applications. So, Cloud technology makes computing more efficient by centralizing the storage of data, processing, and bandwidth.

Cloud services and products also allow users to make use of applications and software without installing the application on their personal computers or mobile devices. Users can access their personal files and documents by using any computer or device with internet access. The costs in effort and money spent on maintaining an in-house IT infrastructure is are gradually being replaced with Cloud-based infrastructure. While Cloud-based services are perfect for large enterprises, they’ve also proven ideal for small and medium-sized businesses.

Private Cloud or Public Cloud

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)- Examples of SaaS include SalesForce, Microsoft Office 365, Dropbox, Gmail, and so on. With these services, just login with your credentials and get full access to the application and your previously stored information. With SaaS services, you can access your information anytime, anywhere, as long as you have internet access.

Private Cloud-The term “Cloud computing” or “the Cloud” also includes the utilization of outsourced hosting environments for remote data and file storage. Primarily, there are two cloud hosting scenarios that should be considered. These are shared, virtual servers, or dedicated, private Cloud servers. A private Cloud consists of servers that are dedicated to your company and data. Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services are the largest providers of Cloud hosting solutions.

Why You Should Use the Cloud.

Money savings-Cloud computing saves you substantial amount of money, the cost of Cloud computing is much more flexible than traditional methods. If there is need to pay for any service, you only need to pay for the services that you are using.

Disaster Recovery-With Cloud computing, it’s very easy to recover any file as long as they are backed up on the Cloud. So, if your physical devices malfunction, or are lost or stolen, your data is still safe and easily recoverable.

Work anywhere-Cloud computing enables you to access your files from anywhere as long as you’re connected to the internet. Many Cloud services also offer mobile apps so you can have access to your files irrespective of the device you are using.

Reduce Hardware-The use of Cloud computing reduces the amount of hardware used and the size of data centers. Some organizations eliminate physical data storage completely by operating their business totally on the Cloud.

Improved Collaboration- Cloud computing improves collaboration by allowing groups to meet virtually. You can view and edit shared documents and material with controlled access. This ability reduces the time spent to market and increase product development and customer service.

Understanding Cloud Computing

Another decade, another buzzword. If you are involved in IT it is likely that you will have seen terms like Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Application Service Provider (ASP) and Utility Computing appear in technology and business media more frequently. Whatever you care to refer to it as they all essentially mean the same thing. In the US it is known as Cloud Computing.

What exactly is Cloud Computing?

The Cloud Computing concept is one based on the outsourcing of computing resources. Rather than purchasing certain hardware or software at relatively high capital expenditure, companies instead rent applications from service providers and access them over the Internet. An alternative to managing traditional IT resources – a host company takes care of the background technicalities and you simply connect to your services through a secure Web-browser, using them whenever needed. These services are hosted online on secure servers – a network of computers collectively referred to as ‘the cloud’. If you have ever had a free MSN Hotmail or Google Mail account you will have used a Cloud Computing service in the form of hosted email.

Nicholas Carr, technology writer and former chief editor of the Harvard Business Review, recently claimed that cloud computing is “a paradigm shift similar to the displacement of electricity generators by electricity grids in the early 20th Century”. The idea is that in the future a company’s IT infrastructure will be viewed as a utility expense not dissimilar to that of a water or electricity bill. It might seem far fetched, but it is quickly becoming a reality.

What does Cloud Computing mean to the small-medium sized business?

Firstly, a utility based delivery of IT services can have a huge cost advantage for the SME. By avoiding the initial expenditure of hardware and software licences, companies can save money and utilise resources. Their system infrastructure now becomes only an operational expense – since there is no hardware to purchase or maintain. IT staff no longer need to spend time on maintenance jobs and can set about improving efficiency in other areas of the company. The Cloud model can also help companies avoid return on investment (ROI) risk and uncertainty. Should their cloud service not work for them they can easily cancel their subscription and switch to an alternative provider – avoiding the nightmare of fixed asset failure six months down the line.

This ‘pay-as-you-go’ model also offers improved scalability. Businesses can allocate more or less funds to their cloud provider depending on how many licenses they need – increasing or decreasing over time. Cloud computing is a great advantage to start-up companies. By avoiding upfront capital expenditure, small firms can get up off the ground and running much quicker. This can be a massive benefit – with no initial cost barrier holding them back they can drastically decrease time to market.

The advantage of location independence is another key benefit of cloud services. Advances in 3G and Wireless Broadband technology have made accessing the Internet on the move easier. Users can connect to their software applications and store data and information instantly over the net. The result is freedom from the office. For companies with multiple users in the field, applications no longer need to be installed directly onto the user’s machine making them run more efficiently and securely.

What are the disadvantages of Cloud Computing?

Some argue that Cloud Computing will not take off because users are too reliant on Internet connections. Google has already anticipated the delay in open connectivity and user-preference for local computing by making some of its cloud applications downloadable – characteristically covering all bases. This a sign of uncertainty from normally the most confident of companies.

Others also suggest that accessing key company applications over the Internet poses some serious questions regarding security. However, cloud providers will argue that their services are no less secure than internet banking – in many cases more so. Using certain cloud-based applications means less critical data resides unsecured on company hardware and the reputable cloud-service companies all employ sophisticated encryption technologies.

Is Cloud Computing the future?

Some might say. But like all new technologies and concepts Cloud Computing needs it’s ‘killer app’ – something to really validate the proposition to the masses. The internet, for example, had email – so what do the experts think is killer app for Cloud Computing? Microsoft founder and former CEO Bill Gates thinks it is online backup and storage. Gates believes that cloud storage is cloud computing’s proof of concept because its use is “without tradeoffs”.

Whatever your opinion of Cloud Computing, it cannot be denied that many small business are already profiting heavily from its adoption. Perhaps the biggest advantage of cloud computing is it’s ability to deliver focus. Without having all the time-consuming IT maintenance tasks holding them back, organisations can concentrate on performing core competencies to their highest potential. With more focus, companies can maximise efficiency in their core tasks.

Facts About Cloud Computing


In the last 3 years dramatic changes have been taking place in how business computing happens, especially in larger companies. Traditionally companies build their own IT infrastructure, buy expensive equipment and servers and install everything locally. They need to keep hardware running, software compliant while making sure that the information input and output actually meets company needs.

Things have changed. With the advent of Cloud Computing a company can have reliable and safe business computing delivered like a utility service. Today we no longer dig wells for water, or run our own generator for electricity. These services are available as a utility service. So too with IT, you can “buy” IT infrastructure as a service, pay for what you need, and focus on the business not the technology.

1.What is Cloud Computing?

Computing delivered over the internet like a utility service that can be accessed by any device that has internet connection. Computing horsepower is located and happens outside the company on external servers, so no computing hardware needs to be owned and operated by the company. In fact, a well-known market research company, Gartner, has estimated that by the end of 2012, 20{17f36cee5527bd2477195860a4d22a5a0d030da53d3866361e35bd7efcf4235b} of all companies will own no IT assets! The move to the cloud is underway.

2.What would full Cloud Computing look like in my office?

Imagine your server room or server area gone, no more major capital expenditures on equipment and facilities. Imagine desktops that don’t crash and hard drives that don’t fail, but with the same user experience. Imagine a secure safe environment for your systems and data taken care of by experts not on your direct payroll for a flat monthly fee that covers everything at a lower cost than you currently pay. This is what Cloud Computing can look like NOW.

3.Why isn’t everybody doing it?

Big companies have commonly been using Cloud Computing technology for a while now. Now smaller companies are increasingly changing to this way of running IT. Specialized managed IT companies are helping these smaller companies move their IT to the cloud and then run their IT efficiently – and this is accelerating the trend.

4.With Cloud Computing do you have to buy servers?

No. There is no cost burden of server ownership and therefore no expensive capital expenditure. You buy “server use” from a virtual server created for you in an external data center and pay for it by means of a simple monthly fee.

5.Company specific software

In a Cloud Computing setup, a company’s current servers, with their existing enterprise software, is transitioned over to newly created virtual servers which are theirs only. The company accesses everything as before as normal, with the exception that it is now communicated over the internet not the company’s local area network.

6.How Cloud Computing can get rid of PCs

With a full Cloud Computing implementation there are no servers or PCs at the business locations. Data is securely protected and continuously monitored on servers in a safe local physical environment and backed up behind a firewall. All PCs are changed to “Virtualized Desktops”. Employees will have a Thin Client, mouse, keyboard and screen but nothing will change in their computing experience. They will be looking at their screens with all their familiar programs such as Office, Outlook, etc.. They will be able to save to “My Docs” and other drives as normal.

The cloud management company will take care of equipment, Microsoft software licensing, antivirus, Spam Filtering, Security, secure backup, server and virtual desktop monitoring, and all the other IT headaches that you would rather not worry about. It’s easy to add desktops as you grow, or take them away just as easily if you need to downsize, paying for what you need.

7.Cloud Computing and the IT person /department

The typical IT person working in or for a company is spending up to 80{17f36cee5527bd2477195860a4d22a5a0d030da53d3866361e35bd7efcf4235b} of their time keeping stuff up-and-running – PCs, hard drives, updates to office software, virus spam protection issues. It’s “busy work” which does nothing to improve the company’s performance. With a Cloud Computing solution a company does not have to spend time on these activities. More time can be spent on activities that support the business; or, if appropriate, staff can be cut or redeployed.

8.Can Cloud Computing save money?

It is easy to forget how much Information Technology is costing. As well as the “Hard Costs” like cost of hardware, infrastructure, software licenses, there are the more intangible “Soft Costs” such as IT staffing, troubleshooting, energy costs to run the servers and desktops and cool the server room and building. Typically you should be looking for fully costed savings in the area of 30-50{17f36cee5527bd2477195860a4d22a5a0d030da53d3866361e35bd7efcf4235b} a year. With these levels of savings a business owner should, at the very least, be looking at Cloud Computing in their organization.

9.IT people often say Cloud Computing is less secure than in-house infrastructure. Is this true?

Typically because of the physical security and data security used, cloud security protection is almost always much better than most local company networks. Security over the internet is extremely high with firewalls that form barriers and which are monitored continually. Advanced backup and data recovery mean even a catastrophe can be quickly recovered from. And because all the company data is held on the company’s remote servers and is not being held all over the place (such as on local hard drives, thumb drives etc.) the likelihood of software and data contamination and theft is reduced.

10. What happens if a cloud server goes down or there is a catastrophic loss of data?

This is a very important topic. Companies frequently think that their own server rooms are somehow immune from catastrophe and they are also very often woefully under-prepared for a disaster. Simply doing tape backups, putting tapes in fireproof boxes and other methods can give a false sense of security. The reality is if disaster strikes, you need the very latest backup data recovery technology so that you can be up and running in minutes or hours not days or weeks or never! Cloud computing solutions typically take incremental snapshots backed up to multiple locations physically elsewhere to ensure you will be up and running again very quickly.

11.Moving Offices if you are using Cloud Computing

Moving offices or facilities is trivial when a company has a Cloud Computing setup. Because the infrastructure is in place (separate from the old and new company facilities) data can be accessed from anywhere. In theory once the internet connection to the new location is up and running the whole company can be up and running and back to normal as fast as thin clients can be hooked up to the internet!

12.Mobile Computing

With Cloud Computing, your Virtual Desktop can be accessed anywhere and anytime. Other solutions require your office PC to be turned on, and your office Internet connection to be live. Most Internet connected devices, such as laptops, tablets, smart-phones, can be used to connect to your desktop. Imagine being able to run Excel, PowerPoint or any of your business specific software from an iPad or a smart-phone! And security remains at a high level for remote access since only keystroke and screen refresh is sent between the data center and your smart device, but no actual data.

In summary, the benefits of moving to the cloud are great. Cloud computing already is increasingly the way IT is being handled, and owners would therefore be wise to take a look at and embrace the technology now.

All About Security of Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is here, and has been embraced by many an organization. Cloud computing as defined by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is “a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.” [1]. Cloud computing is basically about outsourcing IT resources just like you would outsource utilities like Electricity or water off a shared public grid. The cloud services options include:

Software as a Service (SaaS): Whereby the consumer uses the cloud provider’s applications running on a cloud infrastructure and the applications are accessible from various client devices through a thin client interface such as a web browser (e.g., web-based email).

Platform as a Service (PaaS):Here the consumer deploys their own applications on the provider’s infrastructure. This option allows the customer to build business applications and bring them online quickly they include services like, Email Campaign management, Sales Force Automation, Employee management, Vendor management etc…

Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): The consumer has access to processing, storage, networks, and other fundamental computing resources where the consumer is able to deploy and run arbitrary software, which can include operating systems and applications. The consumer does not manage or control the underlying cloud infrastructure but has control over operating systems; storage, deployed applications, and possibly limited control of selected networking components (e.g., host firewalls).

Cloud computing has become popular because, Enterprises are constantly looking to cut costs by outsourcing storage, software (as a service) from third parties, allowing them to concentrate on their core business activities. With cloud computing, enterprises save on setting up their own IT infrastructure which would otherwise be costly in terms of initial investment on hardware and software, as well as continued maintenance and human resource costs.

According to the Gartner report on cloud security [2], Enterprises require new skill set and to handle the challenges of cloud security. Enterprises need to see to it that their cloud service provider has most of “the boxes ticked” and that they have their security concerns addressed. Cloud computing being a somewhat a new field of IT with no specific standards for security or data privacy, cloud security continues to present managers with several challenges. There is need for your provider to be able to address some of the issues that come up including the following:

Access control / user authentication: How is the access control managed by your cloud service provider? To be more specific, Do you have options for role based access to resources in the cloud,? How is the process of password management handled? How does that compare to your organization’s Information security policy on access control?

Regulatory compliance: How do you reconcile the regulatory compliance issues regarding data in a totally different country or location? How about data logs, events and monitoring options for your data; does the provider allow for audit trails which could be a regulatory requirement for your organization?

Legal issues: Who is liable in case of a data breach? How is the legal framework in the country where your cloud provider is based, visa vi your own country? What contracts have you signed and what issues have you covered/discussed with the provider in case of legal disputes. How about local laws and jurisdiction where data is held? Do you know exactly where you data is stored? Are you aware of the conflicting regulations on data and privacy? Have you asked your provider all the right questions?

Data safety: Is your data safe in the cloud? How about the problems of Man-in-the-middle attacks and Trojans, for data moving to and from the cloud. What are the encryption options offered by the provider? Another important question to ask is; who is responsible for the encryption /decryption keys? [3]. Also you will find that cloud providers work with several other third parties, who might have access to your data. Have you had all these concerns addressed by your provider?

Data separation / segregation: Your provider could be hosting your data along with several other clients’ (multi-tenancy).. Have you been given verifiable assurance that this data is segregated and separated from the data of the provider’s other clients? According to the Gartner report, its a good practice to find out “what is done to segregate data at rest,” [2]

Business continuity: What is the acceptable cloud service down time that you have agreed with your provider? Do these down times compare well with your organization acceptable down time policy? Are there are any penalties/ compensations for downtime, which could lead to business loss? What measures are in place by your provider to ensure business continuity and availability of your data / services that are hosted on their cloud infrastructure in case of disaster? Does your provider have options for data replication across multiple sites? How easy is restoring data in case a need arises?

Cloud services providers have increased their efforts in addressing some of the most pressing issues with cloud security. In response to cloud security challenges, an umbrella non-profit organization called the Cloud Security Alliance was formed, some of its members include: Microsoft, Google, Verizon, Intel, McAfee, Amazon, Dell, HP, among others, its mission is “To promote the use of best practices for providing security assurance within Cloud Computing, and provide education on the uses of Cloud Computing to help secure all other forms of computing” [4]

As more and more organizations move to the cloud for web-based applications, storage, and communications services for mission-critical processes, there is need to ensure that cloud security issues are addressed.

Guide To Cloud Computing

Cloud computing is the newest rage in the internet’s development. There are many different definitions of what cloud computing is. In the broadest sense, it can be defined as anything that happens outside of a firewall. A narrower focus defines it as a virtual server. For our purposes, we will consider it the latter. Cloud Computing in our definition eliminates the need to install and run applications on a user’s own computers and simplifies maintenance and support. Instead of having to develop internal systems, or having to customize a third party business solution, cloud computing provides a flexible environment with much lower initial cost.

Cloud computing is the set of hardware, networks, storage, services, and interfaces that combine to deliver different aspects of computing as a service. Cloud services include the delivery of software, infrastructure, and storage over the Internet. It can be delivered whenever and wherever a user needs a particular service. The services can be either separate components or complete platforms The delivery is based on user demand. There are four crucial characteristics of cloud computing. They include flexibility and the ability to scale up and down, application programming interfaces (APIs), stipulating and automatic billing, and metering of service usage in a pay-as-you-go model.

The cloud has several participants. Among them are business managers who take responsibility for the authority of data or services living in a cloud. Cloud service providers must provide a predictable and guaranteed level of service and security to all their constituents. Cloud service providers must take responsibility for cloud assets and maintenance. The service requester is a second user. Requesters can be private or public, part of a same organization managing the cloud, or part of a group sharing the cloud. A third participant is the end user who usually doesn’t know anything about the underlying technology.

Cloud computing comes in different forms. Public clouds are based on the standard cloud computing model, in which a service provider makes resources, such as applications and storage, available to the general public over the Internet. Public cloud services may be free or offered on a pay-per-usage basis. Private cloud is infrastructure operated solely for a single business or organization. They can be managed internally or by a third-party and hosted internally or externally. A drawback to private clouds is that organizations have to be buy, build, and manage them. This negates the economic model that makes cloud computing such a popular and fascinating concept.

Another cloud form is a hybrid of public and private clouds. They are named, not surprisingly, hybrid clouds. A hybrid cloud is a composition of two or more clouds that remain distinctive entities but are bound together. Hybrid clouds are connected in a way that allows programs and data to be moved easily from one deployment system to another. Community clouds share infrastructure between several organizations from a specific community with common concerns. They are managed internally or by a third-party and hosted internally or externally. The costs are spread over fewer users than a public cloud so not all the cost savings potential of cloud computing are realized.

Many businesses are eager to evaluate and realize the benefits of cloud computing. Businesses must also realize the potential business risks that the technology exposes. The chief risk is giving up control of your processes. Many analysts feel that performance and availability are two of the key factors to the widespread adoption of cloud computing. Security is a big concern for many enterprises as well.

Concerns aside, cloud computing is changing the way companies use technology to service customers, partners, and suppliers. Some businesses, such as Google and Amazon, already have most of their IT resources in the cloud. They have found that it can eliminate many of the complex constraints from the traditional computing environment, including space, time, power, and cost.

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