Understanding the Cloud

Are the benefits worth the risks?

When dealing with large amounts of sensitive data, securely storing this information becomes vital to the success of a business. An increasingly popular form of managing a business’s IT infrastructure is cloud computing. “The cloud” refers to the virtualization of a computing environment (e.g. servers, data, applications) offsite on a group of web-based shared machines. Simply put, you’re storing and accessing your data over the Internet, as opposed to a physical drive. 

Google, Amazon and Microsoft exemplify how cloud computing is becoming increasingly prevalent in many business IT infrastructures. Hub City Media is following the example of these companies through participation in the Oracle IDCS beta program. Oracle IDCS is a platform in which companies pay for an Identity Service on the cloud instead of their machines, managed and configured by Oracle. Though a majority of companies are transitioning into cloud computing, a large portion of the market is still adopting the new technology. With the growing popularity of cloud computing in IT, it is important to discuss the advantages and disadvantages. 

The Benefits:

  1. Cloud computing allows businesses to scale with the demands of their IT infrastructure. A business can rent servers to scale with their needs in an affordable and efficient way. They can easily add or remove resources to meet current demands and pay for the utilized capacity. 
  2. The cloud lowers costs of maintaining an up to date infrastructure, as the cloud provider will upgrade machines when newer software is available, removing cost and time needed for the business to do it themselves. 
  3. Robust disaster recovery and data maintenance using your cloud service: Smart management of backups and data integrity is essential to a functioning cloud environment.

The Risks:

  1. Any large amount of data in a centralized location will be susceptible to cyber security threats. This stands true for data stored offsite as well. Mitigate this with smart access controls, backups and proper firewalls.
  2. You are trusting the cloud provider to handle your data with security and integrity. Some businesses may be apprehensive, as they are handing over a large amount of control of their data. It is important to work with your cloud provider to make sure there is proper data management.
  3. Since cloud computing is done through the Internet, network availability also becomes an issue. Access to your information and data is dependent on your access to a secure Internet connection. This can also come from the side of the cloud provider, as any outages or technical issues that your cloud provider may have will also affect your business.

Do the benefits of cloud computing outweigh its disadvantages? In our experience, absolutely. 

Discover our IDCS complementary products: IDCS Webgate: Unlock SSO across entire Enterprise application portfolio IDCS Provisioning: Two-way identity synchronization between on-premise resources and IDCS Multi-Factor for DB: MFA for IDCS and on-premise Oracle Databases

Discover our IDCS complementary products:

IDCS Webgate: Unlock SSO across entire Enterprise application portfolio

IDCS Provisioning: Two-way identity synchronization between on-premise resources and IDCS

Multi-Factor for DB: MFA for IDCS and on-premise Oracle Databases

It is crucial to engage with your cloud provider and to properly address concerns that your business may have with shifting your IT infrastructure to the cloud. If it is done right, cloud computing can drastically improve the security of your sensitive data. 

Hub City Media lives and thrives in the cloud. For example, while working with a client, we are able to comfortably fire up a test environment, develop the solutions needed to meet their demands and deploy the solution. Afterwards, we are able to get rid of the servers we used easily and efficiently through the use of the cloud. This type of flexibility allows our business to scale with client needs and demands, protect our data with smart security practices and minimize any risk associated with cloud computing. 

As early adopters of the technology, Hub City Media is in a unique position to not only implement cloud-based solutions, but work closely with other businesses in developing versatile solutions using cloud technology.


 

Tanzil Ansari is a Systems Engineer at Hub City Media, helping implement IAM solutions for clients. In his spare time, he enjoys making music, painting / writing and gaming.

 

Citations: 
http://www.computerworld.com/article/2939003/cloud-computing/oracle-goes-all-in-on-cloud-services.html
http://www.claconnect.com/Risk-Management/The-Benefits-and-Risks-of-Cloud-Computing.aspx
http://www.digitalistmag.com/technologies/cloud-computing/2012/10/25/risks-and-benefits-of-cloud-computing-020025