The “Cloud” may seem like a difficult concept to understand, but there is nothing other-worldly about it. At its core, the cloud simply consists of huge server infrastructure built at different locations, remotely maintained and backed up with high levels of security by certified service providers.
Data on the cloud is split into chunks and then separately encrypted and stored in different places in the world. So even if someone decrypts the data, they would only get access to random blocks. One major cloud service provider goes as far as to say that even if half of the world is destroyed, client’s data would still be safe on the cloud.
Data on the cloud is protected by high levels of encryption, and some cloud service providers even allow their customers to choose the level of encryption and the location where their data can reside, ensuring that control over data is with the customer and not the service provider.
Using cloud-based applications, users can access data via the internet from anywhere, at any time. Cloud computing is not an emerging trend any more – it is an essential part of everyone’s life, whether for home or business.
Is It Safe to move to the Cloud?
It is indeed safe to move to the cloud, but it is important to remember that the security of your data depends on the standards, quality and maintenance provided by your cloud service provider, as well as by your own IT department.
Interestingly, over the last five years, a majority of the data breaches have taken place internally and not from cloud-based databases, says Amichai Shulman, CTO of cybersecurity firm, Imperva.
Advantages of moving to the Cloud
Compliance of cloud service providers is gauged through multiple regulations and certifications like ISO, HIPAA, PCI SOC I, SCO II, SOC III, and so on. This addresses most security concerns by ensuring that your company won’t need to perform constant data security reviews and stress over audits.
On the other hand, to maintain a local server, IT systems require manual intervention, huge investments into infrastructure, manpower and security, making it harder to plug all the security holes in an expanding IT system.
Accessibility & Mobility
As mentioned earlier, the cloud offers unmatched flexibility, allowing you to access your data from anywhere and at any time, through any device. Quite amazing, considering that just a few years ago, we had to run back to the office to access our applications and data on a single, fixed device.
Working with the cloud requires no investment into infrastructure, and typically follows a flexible pay-as-you-go cost structure that makes it easy to scale up as well as scale down as the business scenario demands. The subscription for cloud services is generally delivered as Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) or Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS).
These three advantages of moving to the cloud barely scratch the surface – perhaps I could pen down more about these benefits of the cloud in my upcoming articles.
So Why move to the Cloud?
In today’s world, most of us already rely on the cloud for our basic day to day activities. Whether it is online shopping, travel or entertainment bookings or a whole range of modes of communication – they are all done through cloud-based applications, many of which are browser-based.
Gartner says that by 2020, a corporate “No-Cloud” policy will be as rare as a “No-Internet” policy is today. That includes the government sector too and not only enterprises.
With its incomparable advantages and all-pervasive presence today, the question really cannot be “why to move to the cloud?” any longer – it should be “can you afford not to be on the cloud?”.