Finally, let’s talk about the advantages and a few disadvantages of Cloud Computing.
Let’s start with the benefits. is the trend of modern information technology. It would seem so, so “everything should go to the cloud”. And there are actually many good reasons for Cloud Computing.
Cloud Computing is:
- cost-effective: investment in own IT resources is saved
- practical: access to IT resources and data anywhere and anytime
- flexible: Activating or deactivating resources depending on the current demand
With Cloud Computing, you no longer need to invest in your own expensive hardware. This applies to private individuals as well as companies.
If you run a business, you can also reduce the workload on your IT team by using the cloud. They no longer have to worry about the constant maintenance and servicing of hardware and software, but can concentrate on their core business. This saves you money and makes your company more efficient. And you only use and pay as much as you need at any given time.
Another major advantage of Cloud Computing is that you, as a private individual or small business, can “snatch” the IT advantages of the large companies. This applies both to investment in hardware and innovations in software.
“Big players” like Amazon, Microsoft and Google want to keep their finger on the pulse of the time and use the latest IT. And they also have the financial means to do so! You could never keep up on your own. Cloud Computing gives you the opportunity to profit greatly from large companies.
Some people even believe that Cloud Computing leads to more equal opportunities. This is because Cloud Computing means that, in principle, anyone with an Internet connection and certain financial resources has access to the latest information technology. And this is independent of where in the world that person is located.
Another central issue for Cloud Computing is data protection. For many of us, external data storage, for example of important documents or holiday photos, is the first point of contact with Cloud Computing.
No longer being dependent on the “state of health” and “lifespan” of one’s own hard drive is an important point in favour of Cloud Computing for many people.
With the keyword security, however, we can also immediately move on to the disadvantages of Cloud Computing. But first a small comparison:
Data storage in the cloud
You can think of storing your data in the cloud like storing your valuables in a bank.
Usually your valuables are much safer in the bank safe than at home under the pillow. However, if the bank is robbed, your valuables are naturally gone – and not only yours, but the valuables of many other people as well.
It is obvious that the bank does everything possible to avoid being robbed. Not only the financial aspects but also the loss of image would be devastating. This is why the bank is making major investments in its security system and also in fire protection.
It’s the same with cloud providers. They are keen to keep their cyber security up to date. Even the hardware, i.e. the servers, are elaborately protected against theft or physical damage.
Nevertheless, there is of course no such thing as one hundred percent security in Cloud Computing. And if something happens to the cloud, then not only your data is gone, but also the data of many other people.
So, you see, Cloud Computing also has its risks and dark sides.
Some disadvantages that you should be aware of are
- Dependence on the supplier: Changing the provider can be difficult
- Data protection and security: problematic when working with sensitive data
- Need for a stable Internet connection: cannot be used without a well-functioning Internet
- Climate protection: Energy consumption of the huge data centres
Before accessing Cloud Computing, it is certainly advisable to think about the disadvantages and possible pitfalls. Despite the many advantages, Cloud Computing does not have to be the right choice in every situation!
For example, suppose you live in an area where Internet access is not yet well developed. In this case, you’ll probably prefer to use installed software rather than software in the cloud. This way, you avoid having to constantly interrupt your work because your Internet connection is unstable.
Another negative aspect of Cloud Computing is, of course, that you become dependent on the cloud provider. If the cloud provider is broke, then you too have a big problem. That’s why many companies prefer to rely on large and established cloud providers. But here, too, it can become problematic. What if you want to change the cloud provider? You may face some costs and hurdles. Have you ever tried to get out of your phone provider contract? It can be just as difficult when changing cloud providers.
The climate issue also provides ample food for thought. The huge data centres in the cloud consume vast amounts of electricity and other resources. So, when choosing a cloud provider, you could look at whether they are trying to be climate-friendly. For example, is there a strong focus on renewable energy?
Finally, a very important area is data protection. As you’ve already learned, with Cloud Computing, individuals don’t know exactly where IT resources are coming from. This can be a problem if you want to store sensitive data, for example. Maybe the data is stored on a US server. This may not be compatible with the privacy policies of your home country or corporate headquarters.
You should also think about whether and how sensitive data is encrypted. This applies both to storage in the cloud itself and to the transmission of data over the Internet.
So, let’s briefly review some of the aspects that need to be taken into account when talking about data protection and Cloud Computing:
- Where is the cloud infrastructure, i.e. the servers, located?
- Where is the cloud provider’s headquarters? Does European law apply to it or, for example, US law?
- Is the data encrypted during transmission to and from the cloud?
- Is the data stored in encrypted form?
- Who is the source of the encryption key?
Encryption and Cloud Computing
If you want to play it safe, you should rely on strong encryption methods in Cloud Computing.
This concerns both the storage and the transmission of the data!
Ideally, you don’t rely on the cloud provider, but instead perform the encryption independently. If the cloud provider is hacked, not only your encrypted data, but also the code to decrypt may fall into the wrong hands.