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Cloud Storage Technology

Discuss about the Secure and Constant Cost Public Cloud Storage.

The cloud is referred to accessing of computer, software applications and information technology (IT) through an online network which is accessed through data centres using an internet connection or wide area networking (WAN). Cloud storage is referred to a cloud computing model which assists in storing data on remote servers that can be accessed by the internet. The cloud storage is maintained, managed and operated by a cloud storage provider from storage servers that are built on virtualisation techniques (Wu et al., 2010). The popularity of cloud storage is growing continuously as more and more corporations use it to store their business data. With the popularity of smartphones and high-speed internet, the popularity of cloud storage has increased among people as well. People use cloud storage to store their personal files such as photos, videos, music, documents and others. Cloud storage provides a number of advantages to businesses and people such as easy access to data, lack of physical documents, data can be accessed through worldwide networks and others.

Along with merits, the number of risks relating to cloud storage are growing as well such as the risk of cyber-attacks, dependability on the internet, the risk of data loss, and others (Harnik, Pinkas and Shulman-Peleg, 2010). While choosing a cloud storage model in a business or for personal use, organisations and people are required to analyse its advantages and disadvantages to ensure that it is a suitable option for them. This report will focus on analysing the cloud storage technology and its popularity amount modern organisations and people. This report will discuss advantages and disadvantages of cloud storage technology by evaluating different business examples. Further, recommendations will be given in the report that can be implemented by organisations and people for addressing different issues relating to cloud storage technology.

Cloud storage model is referred to an online data storage system in which organisations and people can store their data in online networks that can be accessed through the internet. The services of cloud storage are provided by cloud service providers who invest in creating large data centres in which organisations and people can store their data. The cloud storage technology is a way of storing data on the internet rather than using on-premises arrays (Chunhua, 2010). Generally, organisations purchased cloud storage as service and delivered on demand in order to get just-in-time capacity for storing data. Cloud storage vendors provide its services by building and operating infrastructure that manages capacity, durability, and security in order to ensure that data is accessible to application and businesses around the world. Applications use and access cloud storage directly through an API or traditional storage protocols. Many cloud storage service providers offer complementary services which are designed to help in collecting, analysing and managing data at massive scale.

Type of Cloud Storage

Cloud storage eliminates the requirements for managing, buying and handling personal cloud storage infrastructure for the company. It assists in increasing agility and providing global-scale services that can be delivered anytime anywhere. Popular cloud storage service providing companies include Google Drive, One Drive, Mass, Amazon drive, Box, Dropbox and others. These services can be accessed by people as well for storing their personal data. The cloud storage technology has gained massive popularity in technology industry than compared to its similar technologies such as Client-server computing model, Fog computing, Peer-to-peer model, and Grid Computing (Liu and Dong, 2012). The cloud storage technology has a substantial advantage over these technologies because it uses minimal resources and requires minimal supervision. In cloud storage, data can be accessed by anyone around the world which makes it a suitable for modern multinational companies.

Along with the increase in cloud-based solutions, the nature of cloud storage services becomes more complex as well. There are three major types of cloud storage services which include public, private and hybrid cloud storage services.

Private Cloud: The private cloud services are tailored in order to accommodate and handle data requests from large organisations as well as small home-based companies. There are two types of private cloud: on-premise and externally hosted cloud storage. On-Premise cloud infrastructure is found in the same building whereas externally hosted cloud storage is not situated in the same building. In both these models, the company itself creates, manages and handles the cloud storage facilities (Morris, 2018).

Public Cloud: In this model, organisations are not required to concern about maintaining of the data servers. Companies use services of third-party cloud service providers who create and maintain a cloud storage facility (Goyal, 2014).

Hybrid Cloud: In this model, features of both public and private cloud are included and it provides greater customisation options than others.

The main advantage of using cloud storage is that it allows companies and individuals to cut back on operating costs than compared to external hard drives or in-house hosting solutions. With cloud storage service, corporations can have total ownership over cost because there is no hardware to purchase. Organisations can add or remove the storage capacity on demand based on a quick change in performance and retention characteristics (Kondo et al., 2009). The companies also required to pay only for storage which they actually use. Additionally, the data which is less frequent can be accessed by the firm and it automatically moved by the cloud service provider to lower cost services according to driving economies of scale and auditable rules. Furthermore, based on recent online polls, the average cost for using cloud storage services costs around 3 cents for one gigabyte of storage space (Baiju, 2014). Users can also see additional costs saving because they did not have to invest in internal power for storing information remotely.

In cloud storage technology, stored files can be accessed from anywhere by a company or individuals by using an internet connection. People and organisations can access all their files, photos, videos, music, and folders in the cloud from anywhere in the world by using necessary credentials and internet access (Holmes, 2017).

It is highly recommended for businesses that they keep an emergency backup plan ready in case an emergency occurs. One of the biggest advantages of cloud storage technology is that it enables companies to have a backup solution in case anything goes wrong. Organisations can use cloud storage services as a backup plan which provides them a second copy of importance business files. These files can be accessed through an internet connection, and they are stored at a remote location. In case anything happens to the files in a computer, those files can be accessed through the cloud and retrieve any time which assists in recovering damages to lost data (Wang et al., 2010).

Cloud storage services provide the facility of syncing which means if a person makes any changes to one or more files, the cloud will automatically synchronise such changes to the files across all affiliated devices (Li et al., 2013).

Advantages of Cloud Storage

Generally, most cloud storage providers add extra layers of security protocols in their data servers to increase their security. They also use encryption to avoid any unauthorised accessed to the data. High level of security ensures that confidential files and folders of a company did not end up in wrong people’s hand or bring lost (Bigger, 2018).

In cloud storage services, when development teams are ready for execution, the cloud storage infrastructure never creates any issues or slows them down. It allows IT to deliver the exact amount of storage needed to developers, right when it is required. This facility enables IT to focus on solving complex problems rather than focus on managing storage systems (Amazon, 2018).

While using cloud storage services, organisations face concerns regarding security and privacy of valuable and significant information since it is stored remotely. Use of cloud storage requires companies to give sensitive business information to a third party cloud service provider; it increases the risks faced by the corporation. The third party can leak such data, or lack of security measures can result in causing a breach of such data. A carelessness of employees or leak of the password can result in compromising confidential business data (Wang et al., 2013).

One of the biggest disadvantages of cloud computing is that no cloud provider can claim immunity to service outages or downtime. Cloud storage services relied on an internet connection to work which means that an individual’s access to his/her files is fully dependent on the internet connection which means that he/she cannot access files due to lack of internet connection or slow internet speed (Martini and Choo, 2013). Additionally, just like hardware, the cloud storage platforms can fail as well due to multiple reasons which block the access of a user to his/her files. The downtime of servers can result in stopping the work which can result in causing financial damage to an organisation.

The use of cloud storage makes a company’s data vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Cloud storage services enable companies to access their data from anywhere which means cybercriminals can breach company’s data via hacking and use it to gain unfair advantages. Similarly, private data of people can also lose in case their cloud storage gets hacked. For example, Apple’s cloud storage service ‘iCloud’ was hacked by cyber criminals in 2014 which resulted in leaking more than 500 private photos of celebrities which were posted all over the internet (McCormick, 2014). It shows that use of cloud storage poses security and privacy risks for organisations and individuals.

With the growing demand for cloud storage, the price of services might increase and tend to add up in the future. The companies also require paying lifetime costs in order to access their data. For businesses, lease payments might look appealing, however, in the long run, they result in increasing overall costs of the firm (Yuan and Yu, 2013).

To varying degree, organisations and people have limited control over the functions and executions of cloud storage infrastructure. The use of cloud storage requires companies to comply with different policies and legal requirements which impose limits on their operations. The users might also face the issue of inflexibility because they are requiring complying with the terms of the cloud service provider. Users find it difficult to change their cloud service provider because they might make the process of transferring the data difficult. Many vendors deliberately attempt to “lock-in” their users with the assistance of proprietary software or hardware (Abu-Libdeh, Princehouse and Weatherspoon, 2010). It makes the process of changing the cloud storage vendor substantially difficult and expensive for users.

Disadvantages of Cloud Storage

Following recommendation can assist organisations can addressing the issues relating to cloud storage and increase its effectiveness.

  • Companies should clearly identify their data and processing operations which are suitable for cloud storage in order to reduce overall costs. For example, corporations can avoid using cloud storage for personal, sensitive or confidential data to reduce the risk of cyber-attack.
  • Before selecting a vendor, companies should analyse their own requirements for technical and legal security. They should carry out a risk analysis to ensure that cloud storage provider is taking appropriate security measures.
  • Users should carefully select between public, private and hybrid cloud storage option based on their requirements.
  • Corporations should ensure that cloud storage vendors offer appropriate services with effective security measure, and they did not implement complex regulations to “lock-in” the users.

Conclusion

In conclusion, cloud storage model allow organisations and individuals to store data on remote servers which can be accessed through the internet. There are different types of cloud storage which include public, private and hybrid cloud. The advantages of using cloud storage include reducing costs, global accessibility, automatic synchronisation between platforms, increased security, disaster recovery, and reduction in time of deployment. Along with benefits, there are a number of limitations of using cloud storage as well such as increased vulnerability to cyber-attacks, security and privacy issues, vendor lock-in, limited control, downtime, and lifetime costs. Different recommendations are provided in the report which assists organisations in addressing issues relating to cloud storage such as careful selection of a vendor, risk assessment, right cloud type selection and others. Effective use of cloud storage can increase efficiency in a company and sustain its future growth.

References

Abu-Libdeh, H., Princehouse, L. and Weatherspoon, H. (2010) RACS: a case for cloud storage diversity. In Proceedings of the 1st ACM symposium on Cloud computing(pp. 229-240). ACM.

Amazon. (2018) Cloud Storage. [Online] Amazon. Available at: https://aws.amazon.com/what-is-cloud-storage/ [Accessed on 27th March 2018].

Baiju, N.T. (2014) 5 advantages and disadvantages of Cloud Storage. [Online] Big Data Made Simple. Available at: https://bigdata-madesimple.com/5-advantages-and-disadvantages-of-cloud-storage/ [Accessed on 27th March 2018].

Bigger, J. (2018) 5 Advantages Cloud Storage brings to businesses. [Online] Marco. Available at: https://blog.marconet.com/blog/5-advantages-of-cloud-storage-for-businesses [Accessed on 27th March 2018].

Chunhua, Z.K. (2010) Cloud Storage Technology and Its Application [J]. ZTE Communications, 4, p.013.

Goyal, S. (2014) Public vs private vs hybrid vs community-cloud computing: A critical review. International Journal of Computer Network and Information Security, 6(3), p.20.

Harnik, D., Pinkas, B. and Shulman-Peleg, A. (2010) Side channels in cloud services: Deduplication in cloud storage. IEEE Security & Privacy, 8(6), pp.40-47.

Holmes, A. (2017) Advantages of Using Cloud Storage. [Online] Iron Mountain. Available at: https://bsf.co.za/advantages-of-using-cloud-storage/ [Accessed on 27th March 2018].

Kondo, D., Javadi, B., Malecot, P., Cappello, F. and Anderson, D.P. (2009) Cost-benefit analysis of cloud computing versus desktop grids. In Parallel & Distributed Processing, 2009. IPDPS 2009. IEEE International Symposium on (pp. 1-12). IEEE.

Li, Z., Wilson, C., Jiang, Z., Liu, Y., Zhao, B.Y., Jin, C., Zhang, Z.L. and Dai, Y. (2013) Efficient batched synchronization in dropbox-like cloud storage services. In ACM/IFIP/USENIX International Conference on Distributed Systems Platforms and Open Distributed Processing (pp. 307-327). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

Liu, K. and Dong, L.J. (2012) Research on cloud data storage technology and its architecture implementation. Procedia Engineering, 29, pp.133-137.

Martini, B. and Choo, K.K.R. (2013) Cloud storage forensics: ownCloud as a case study. Digital Investigation, 10(4), pp.287-299.

McCormick, R. (2014) Hack leaks hundreds of nude celebrity photos. [Online] The Verge. Available at: https://www.theverge.com/2014/9/1/6092089/nude-celebrity-hack [Accessed on 27th March 2018].

Morris, S. (2018) Cloud Types: Private, Public and Hybrid. [Online] Asigra. Available at: https://www.asigra.com/blog/cloud-types-private-public-and-hybrid [Accessed on 27th March 2018].

Wang, C., Chow, S.S., Wang, Q., Ren, K. and Lou, W. (2013) Privacy-preserving public auditing for secure cloud storage. IEEE transactions on computers, 62(2), pp.362-375.

Wang, C., Wang, Q., Ren, K. and Lou, W. (2010) Privacy-preserving public auditing for data storage security in cloud computing. In Infocom, 2010 proceedings ieee (pp. 1-9). Ieee.

Wu, J., Ping, L., Ge, X., Wang, Y. and Fu, J. (2010) Cloud storage as the infrastructure of cloud computing. In Intelligent Computing and Cognitive Informatics (ICICCI), 2010 International Conference on (pp. 380-383). IEEE.

Yuan, J. and Yu, S. (2013) Secure and constant cost public cloud storage auditing with deduplication. In Communications and Network Security (CNS), 2013 IEEE Conference on (pp. 145-153). IEEE.

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