Ask someone to explain cloud computing and more likely than not, you will receive a response that includes hands waving in the air and a breathy description of a vague concept including the word “Internet,” and the answer will end with an exasperated sigh of defeat and possibly a final plea of, “it’s hard to explain.”
Most of us under the basic idea that the cloud refers to the Internet, but add “computing” and there becomes a lot of confusion and many unknowns or assumptions (as with Big Data). To bust some common cloud myths, we’ve sought out experts who were quick to provide insight about common cloud misconceptions and help provide a more comprehensible way to viewing the cloud and cloud computing.
Myth One: The Cloud is a New, Revolutionary Idea
While the term “cloud” is applied to the world of computing and accepted as such, the basic idea has been around for decades; it just was more recently coined with the phrase. As a consumer, you might not realize all of the ways you use the cloud – everything from using your mobile phone that doesn’t store the data on the device (but in the cloud), to using SaaS CRM system that resides in the cloud, and includes web-based email, which uses the cloud for storage. Even using the phone – VOIP is a cloud-based service!
As Ashley Podhradsky, Assistant Professor of Computing and Security Technology at Drexel University’s Goodwin College, points out, “Millions of consumers and businesses have been using this technology for decades and have integrated cloud services such as email, remote services and processing, and online data storage. What once was widely known as a data center, can now be referred to as a cloud provider.”
Myth Two: The Cloud is NOT secure
We have all heard of the infamous hacks of cloud data storage services such as Dropbox or Gmail and they do happen on occasion, but these are more consumer-based products and this is a rare occurrence, which is dealt with quickly and swiftly. And of course anything not protected is not secure, but most cloud services – especially those targeting enterprise use – employ protection and security far exceeding that of most Fortune 500 companies and government agencies—and absolutely beyond the security capacity of any small or midsized business or nonprofit.
As Robert Geller of InstanTek, explains, “Much of the concern about cloud security is fear, uncertainty, and doubt, perpetuated by legal and privacy pundits with little to no actual technical or operational knowledge. A server sitting in a datacenter, a server room, or a closet is ripe for a disgruntled employee or thief’s picking or destruction.” So just because you can see it, it doesn’t mean it’s safe.Geller also states that, “With true cloud solutions, the sheer amount of data and the size of the infrastructure at cloud service providers means that thieves or bad actors couldn’t even identify which server hosted which application or customer’s data.” Ashley Podhradsky also weighed in and believes that cloud services are secure, but cautions that it is important to review cloud providers terms of service and be extra careful with confidential and proprietary data, possibly encrypting those files when possible.
Myth Three: Cloud Computing is a passing fad
As already mentioned, cloud computing has been around longer than most of us realize – so it’s proven to have longevity and staying power. The cloud is flexible and constantly changing and controls more of our actions than we’d like to admit. With the recent FAA adoption of an SaaS cloud service for their Enterprise Messaging System, Eugene Tawiah at EvolutionCloud believes this action demonstrates that, “Cloud computing is a game-changing technology, with increasingly higher adoption rates and investment. There are changes making the system more secure and supple, which is being proven by larger corporations and government agencies using this technology.” Tawiah also mentioned that according to a recent study by Cloudability, 86 percent of companies currently use more than one type of cloud service showing that there is not only depth to the uses of the cloud, but also breadth.
As we move toward a more mobile society in both the enterprise and personal arenas and increase on-the-go technology consumption accessing data through various devices, we rely on the cloud for so many of our communication methods, which is why this technology has a long journey ahead and isn’t just a passing fad.