In 2011, a video of an interview was uploaded to YouTube of Vishwa Bandhu Gupta explaining cloud computing. In the video he says that while it’s all very good that software can be stored in the clouds, there has been no study done on what might happen if there’s rain or a storm! Although in 2017 this attitude might seem humorous, there is still a lot we don’t know about cloud computing.
The History of Cloud Computing
Although the term “cloud computing” has only been used for 10 years, the concept of sharing computing resources has been around since the 1950s.
With the advent of mainframe computing in the 1950’s, multiple users were able to access a powerful central computer through multiple user terminals. Since purchasing and maintaining mainframe computers was so expensive, it made economic sense to share them.
Although it did not immediately catch on, the concept of virtualisation was pioneered in the 1970’s, where multiple virtual computers ran on one piece of physical hardware. Instead, the next 30 years was dominated by the Personal Computer.
Then around 2005, businesses discovered that it made more sense to buy shared computing resources from the cloud. It took much less time and effort, had more capabilities and was cheaper.
What Can The Cloud Do for You?
There are currently over 20,000 different cloud services available. For most organizations, no matter what the size, the most popular services seem to be Email services such as Gmail or Office 365. In addition, productivity and collaboration tools like Skype and Webex, Customer relationship management or CRM tools such as Zoho, Salesforce, and website hosting and helpdesk services such as Zendesk and ServiceNow are all frequently used.
Types of Cloud Services
There are three basic types of cloud service: infrastructure as a service, platform as a service, and software as a service.
Infrastructure as a service includes providing hardware, storage, and network as a service. For example, a company can sign up with a cloud provider like Amazon or Microsoft Azure and then make a choice on what type of hardware, operating system and storage it needs and is able to access it immediately.
Platform as a service is when the cloud provider also offers additional components such as databases and webserver software.
And finally, software as a service, or SAAS. Here, the cloud provider offers the business application in a pay-as-you-use model where an organization doesn’t have to worry about what hardware or operating system the software runs on.
For most people, the primary concerns regarding moving to the cloud are security and privacy. Just remember that security is fundamental to the existence of cloud providers and they take every precaution to have iron-clad security systems.
For example, the leading providers such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft, offer the best possible security for all their products. Cloud providers also provide a wide array of tools and services which you can use to secure your cloud infrastructure and applications.
In addition, the leading cloud providers have some of the best examples of in-class infrastructure and redundancy, and are much better than anything a typical enterprise could afford to have.
Can Cloud Computing Actually Make you More Secure?
In the recent WannaCry ransom ware attacks, Wannacry compromised Windows systems that did not have the latest security patches or did not have proper data backups. If the Windows systems had been on the cloud, most cloud providers provide easy tools to apply patches and the ransom ware would have had fewer victims.
When it comes to data backup, cloud storage providers like DropBox provide several easy options to back up your data, including maintaining 30-day versions. The leading providers, Amazon, Google and Microsoft, try to offer the best possible security for all of their products.
So, in answer to the question, yes, the chances are better of surviving a malware attack if you are cloud enabled.
The Future of The Cloud
In advanced markets like the United States, it is already Cloud First. Most organizations, irrespective of size, are already looking at the cloud as the first option when it comes to deploying a new application or capability. It turns out that no one wants to build and maintain an application on their own servers or data centers, which means that enterprises across the world are waking up to the benefits of an on-demand, pay-as-you-go infrastructure.
In the next few years the predictions are mind-boggling. Cisco, for example, estimates that 92 percent of all computing will happen in the cloud by 2020. Already, enterprise applications are starting to move to the cloud. For example, a bank can build its own Internet banking or mobile banking service and these can be bought like any other cloud service.
Finally, with the number of IOT devices growing exponentially, the huge volume of data generated will also need to be collected and processed in the cloud. And it’s not just servers, predictions are that end points will also move to the cloud. For example, we already have Google Chromebooks, which are just a piece of glass with a keyboard attached. The future is here and it is in the clouds.