The Bigger Challenges of Adopting Cloud Storage
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Over the years, cloud storage has been gaining popularity as a new mode of storing data and information. The days of floppy disks and bulky hard drives have been replaced by high capacity storage devices and the so-called “cloud storage” where data is remotely accessed and stored through servers located within certain premises or from another part of the world.
This has been made possible with the rise of wireless technology, particularly Wi-Fi connectivity. Along with this, more people are adopting cloud storage as a means of keeping information. Google users for example, are given free storage with Google Drive and data synchronization can be done automatically from almost any device.. The same goes with Apple’s iCloud, Microsoft Azure, among many other public cloud storage service providers.
And there are numbers to support this growing sector in information technology. According to the RightScale 2016 State of the Cloud Report, more businesses are integrating cloud storage in their workplace. Through Hybrid Cloud Adoption, both private cloud servers and public third-party cloud servers are utilized. The report noted an increase of 14 percent in the number of companies that adopted private clouds (from 63 to 77 percent) while hybrid cloud adoption grew from 58 to 71 percent.
Out of all the respondents in the survey, 95 percent of them said that they are using cloud storage. A small 6 percent said they use private clouds, 18 percent only use public clouds, and 71 percent use both. Additional figures have also shown that despite high rates of usage for public clouds, both private and hybrid clouds are gaining popularity.
The Issue with Cloud Integration
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In the same report, challenges in cloud integration were also probed into. Last year, the prevailing issue was more on the security of using a cloud server. This year, it is now more of the lack in resources and/or expertise in setting up, using, and maintaining cloud storages. Other prevalent challenges include compliance, multiple cloud management, costs, building complexity, governance or control, and performance.
A recent CloudTech article however, noted that despite 80 percent of UK companies adopting cloud technology, compliance and security still remain a big issue. Notwithstanding the countless cases of leaked data and information due to hacked cloud systems, the level of security and privacy of storing data in a cloud is still being scrutinized. The survey conducted by CloudTech revealed that 47 percent of security personnel admitted to “simply trusting their cloud providers to meet security agreements without further verification.”
This means that the burden of ensuring data security within the cloud is with the providers and not the end users. The companies that avail this service expect that good security comes with the purchase of the storage. But security of data is not only on the side of the providers experts say. Companies themselves need to train and equip employees in being responsible and informed users of cloud storage. Along with local IT support, employees are also partially responsible for ensuring that data sent to the cloud is done in a safe and secure manner. In macro view, this is the holistic aspect of data management where in each stage, the integrity of the data must be kept.
Threats to Cloud Computing
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With more than 500 million registered users as of March 2016, Dropbox is one concrete example of how much the cloud storage industry has grown. In April of 2011, it only had 25 million registered users. But the leap in growth was also met with danger when millions of Dropbox account details, including passwords, have been accessed illegally. Rumours claim the number to be above 60 million accounts, from those accounts opened in 2012 or earlier.
In an effort to mitigate this problem and future threats to security, Dropbox requested users to change their passwords immediately especially if their account belonged to the batch from 2012 or earlier.
But in a larger perspective, cloud storage providers are still faced with the threat of data breaches, one of the “Treacherous 12” security threats. InfoWorld explained that these 12 threats, when not prevented, can cause serious consequences most especially when trade secrets or highly confidential information leaks out. When this happens, cloud providers are in danger of lawsuits and fines.
The Treacherous 12 Security Threats
- Data breaches
- Compromised credentials and broken authentication
- Hacked interfaces and APIs
- Exploited system vulnerabilities
- Account hijacking
- Malicious insiders
- The APT parasite
- Permanent data loss
- Inadequate diligence
- Cloud service abuses
- DoS attacks
- Shared technology, shared dangers
Cloud service providers are now challenged to maintain strong security features to block-off these threats but it is also advised that companies adopt private clouds as a backup. That is why hybrid clouds are seen as a good model for keeping data secure. Nonetheless, providers and end users must work together to avoid getting hacked.