Cloud computing has become a buzzword in the world of technology over the past decade. It is a revolutionary technology that has transformed the way we store, access, and process data. In this blog, we will provide an introduction to cloud computing, its history, its use cases, and its future.
Cloud computing refers to the practice of accessing computing resources, such as storage, processing power, and applications, over the internet. Instead of storing data and running applications on local computers or servers, users can access them from any location with an internet connection. The cloud allows users to store, process, and access data and applications on remote servers, which are maintained by cloud service providers.
Cloud computing has its roots in the concept of utility computing, which was first proposed in the 1960s by computer scientist John McCarthy. The idea was to create a computing utility, similar to the electrical grid, that would provide computing power to anyone who needed it.
The term “cloud computing” was first used in 1996 by Compaq Computer, which used the term to describe its internal IT infrastructure. However, it wasn’t until the mid-2000s that cloud computing started to gain traction, thanks to the availability of high-speed internet and the development of virtualization technology.
The concept of cloud computing dates back to the 1960s, when J.C.R. Licklider introduced the idea of an “Intergalactic Computer Network.” In the 1990s, the term “cloud computing” was first used to describe the delivery of computing resources over the internet. The first cloud computing service was introduced in 1999 by Salesforce.com, which provided customer relationship management (CRM) software as a service.
Since then, cloud computing has grown rapidly. In the early 2000s, Amazon Web Services (AWS) introduced its Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) service, which allowed users to rent virtual servers on-demand. In 2008, Google launched its cloud computing platform, Google App Engine. Microsoft followed suit with the launch of Azure in 2010.
Cloud computing has a wide range of use cases across various industries. Here are a few examples:
E-commerce: Online retailers can use cloud computing to manage their e-commerce platforms, store customer data, and process transactions.
Healthcare: Hospitals and healthcare providers can use cloud computing to store and process patient data securely.
Finance: Banks and financial institutions can use cloud computing to store and process financial data, such as transactions and customer information.
Education: Educational institutions can use cloud computing to store and manage student data, provide online learning resources, and conduct remote classes.
Gaming: Gaming companies can use cloud computing to deliver games as a service and provide a seamless gaming experience to users.
Security and privacy
Main article: Cloud computing security
Cloud computing poses privacy concerns because the service provider can access the data that is in the cloud at any time. It could accidentally or deliberately alter or delete information. Many cloud providers can share information with third parties if necessary for purposes of law and order without a warrant. That is permitted in their privacy policies, which users must agree to before they start using cloud services. Solutions to privacy include policy and legislation as well as end-users’ choices for how data is stored. Users can encrypt data that is processed or stored within the cloud to prevent unauthorized access. Identity management systems can also provide practical solutions to privacy concerns in cloud computing. These systems distinguish between authorized and unauthorized users and determine the amount of data that is accessible to each entity. The systems work by creating and describing identities, recording activities, and getting rid of unused identities.
According to the Cloud Security Alliance, the top three threats in the cloud are Insecure Interfaces and APIs, Data Loss & Leakage, and Hardware Failure—which accounted for 29%, 25% and 10% of all cloud security outages respectively. Together, these form shared technology vulnerabilities. In a cloud provider platform being shared by different users, there may be a possibility that information belonging to different customers resides on the same data server. Additionally, Eugene Schultz, chief technology officer at Emagined Security, said that hackers are spending substantial time and effort looking for ways to penetrate the cloud. “There are some real Achilles’ heels in the cloud infrastructure that are making big holes for the bad guys to get into”. Because data from hundreds or thousands of companies can be stored on large cloud servers, hackers can theoretically gain control of huge stores of information through a single attack—a process he called “hyperjacking”. Some examples of this include the Dropbox security breach, and iCloud 2014 leak. Dropbox had been breached in October 2014, having over 7 million of its users passwords stolen by hackers in an effort to get monetary value from it by Bitcoins (BTC). By having these passwords, they are able to read private data as well as have this data be indexed by search engines (making the information public).
There is the problem of legal ownership of the data (If a user stores some data in the cloud, can the cloud provider profit from it?). Many Terms of Service agreements are silent on the question of ownership. Physical control of the computer equipment (private cloud) is more secure than having the equipment off-site and under someone else’s control (public cloud). This delivers great incentive to public cloud computing service providers to prioritize building and maintaining strong management of secure services. Some small businesses that don’t have expertise in IT security could find that it’s more secure for them to use a public cloud. There is the risk that end users do not understand the issues involved when signing on to a cloud service (persons sometimes don’t read the many pages of the terms of service agreement, and just click “Accept” without reading). This is important now that cloud computing is common and required for some services to work, for example for an intelligent personal assistant (Apple’s Siri or Google Assistant). Fundamentally, private cloud is seen as more secure with higher levels of control for the owner, however public cloud is seen to be more flexible and requires less time and money investment from the user.
There are several similar concepts to cloud computing, including grid computing, utility computing, and distributed computing. Grid computing is a network of computers that work together to solve complex problems, while utility computing refers to the provision of computing resources on a pay-per-use basis. Distributed computing involves the use of multiple computers to perform a single task.
There are three primary service models for cloud computing: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS). IaaS provides users with access to computing resources such as virtual machines, storage, and networking. PaaS provides a platform for developers to build and deploy applications, while SaaS provides access to software applications over the internet.
Cloud computing can be developed using a variety of methods, including public, private, and hybrid clouds. Public clouds are operated by third-party providers and are available to anyone who wants to use them. Private clouds are operated by a single organization and are used for internal business purposes. Hybrid clouds combine public and private cloud services.
The future of cloud computing looks bright, as more and more businesses adopt this technology. Cloud computing is expected to become more secure, reliable, and cost-effective over time. It is also likely that we will see the development of new cloud-based services and applications.
Cloud computing offers several advantages over traditional computing, including cost savings, scalability, and flexibility. Cloud computing also allows businesses to access computing resources from anywhere, making it easier to work remotely.
According to Bruce Schneier, “The downside is that you will have limited customization options. Cloud computing is cheaper because of economics of scale, and—like any outsourced task—you tend to get what you get. A restaurant with a limited menu is cheaper than a personal chef who can cook anything you want. Fewer options at a much cheaper price: it’s a feature, not a bug.” He also suggests that “the cloud provider might not meet your legal needs” and that businesses need to weigh the benefits of cloud computing against the risks. In cloud computing, the control of the back end infrastructure is limited to the cloud vendor only. Cloud providers often decide on the management policies, which moderates what the cloud users are able to do with their deployment.Cloud users are also limited to the control and management of their applications, data and services. This includes data caps, which are placed on cloud users by the cloud vendor allocating a certain amount of bandwidth for each customer and are often shared among other cloud users.
Cloud computing is not without its disadvantages. One of the biggest concerns is security, as data stored in the cloud may be vulnerable to hackers. There is also the risk of downtime, which can be costly for businesses that rely on cloud services. Finally, cloud computing requires a reliable and fast internet connection, which may not be available in all areas.
One of the main concerns with cloud computing is privacy and confidentiality, especially for sworn translators who handle sensitive data that may not be properly encrypted. This can lead to confidential information becoming easily accessible to third parties through the internet.