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Lecture No - 3

Why use Clouds:


There are many claimants to the concept of cloud computing but as users that is irrelevant to us.
Cloud computing as the moniker suggests refers to computing power in an imaginary bubble
which is called a cloud and allows users to access software, applications, data and what-have-you
from a common location and this service is shared by multiple users within a secure or open
environment.

Though the concept has been around for the last couple of decades under various names, the
most recent one being SaaS (Software as a service), it is the recent increase in bandwidth
availability and the need to share in order to be productive that has seen cloud computing
become an acceptable concept. Some ways you may know it in your day-to-day life would be
things like online file share services, Google Docs, mobile push and sync services and even
email.

The two main components of cloud computing are the hardware and the software which are
alighed to store, interact and deliver data. There are multiple applications that work in a cloud,
including SaaS services, web based email and content distribution networks including file
sharing apps.

Cloud computing has real benefits when it comes to data sharing and its these advantages
which has led to its adaption in multiple organizations at a fairly rapid pace:

1)     Bringing down computing costs in organizations. Most businesses are groaning under the
costs of high-end hardware for their employees as apps become more and more resource hungry.
Using a cloud to store apps which is accessible to users from a basic terminal brings in a control
factor to these costs. Since cost cutting is a major concern these days, the concept of cloud
computing is having its day under the sun.

2)     Greater freedom for the cloud users as they can access data and applications from just about
anywhere via multiple devices (like terminals, mobile,  net books etc). Since the terminals can be
quite basic, this helps bring down overall hardware costs as well.

3)     Centralized and agile…might sound like a dream for some technocrats but it really is true.
You can now use cloud computing to ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to
computing standards, there is practically no down-time and just one implementation of a new
application can result 100% implementation.

4)     Security in cloud computing is much better than a scattered network and that is one of the
reasons why clouds are working.
5)     Clouds are also comparatively easy to manage and bring down the costs as well as headache
of maintenance disparate servers. In fact network managers love cloud computing as it puts
everything together in a very organized manner.

With so many benefits and few downsides, cloud computing is the IT industry’s darling, the
sooner you adapt to it the faster you will be able harness the benefits of this phenomena.

Why you should use the cloud and how to do it securely:


Everyone has an opinion on the ‘cloud’ and its effect on business – some believe it is dark and
scary and fraught with unnecessary risk, while others would argue it’s silver lined and the path to
greater business performance and cost savings. The truth is that the cloud undeniably has the
potential to open up a whole new dimension of opportunities to businesses – but only if data
security is properly addressed.

First let’s dispel any misperceptions you might have about the cloud. It’s nothing mystical,
nothing whimsical, - nothing to be afraid of. The reason many fear the cloud is its reputation as a
dangerous, or ‘risky’, place. And that is true. Anything beyond the physical perimeter of the
organisation is also, theoretically, beyond the physical protection of the organisation. And let’s
face it, there are dangers and risks out there, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay behind a
locked door. Instead, by arming yourself with the right security you can stay clear of danger and
fully tap into the cloud’s potential.

The cloud and security are intrinsically intertwined, and only when both work in symbiosis can a
business truly grow. There are five main areas where security can team up with the cloud to offer
companies the greatest potential to thrive - and it isn’t hard to get it right.

Five reasons to use the cloud:


1. Data protection

Data is key and possibly the most important asset for organisations - a single breach or leak of
sensitive data can cripple the entire business, so a data protection strategy must protect the data
itself. The ability to move sensitive information into and throughout the cloud is essential for
businesses to function and collaborate efficiently, quickly and freely - but this ability must be
supported by a comprehensive data protection strategy. The trick is to protect data at the moment
of creation, before it moves out of the enterprise or even enters the cloud. Only by doing that can
you ensure that any data source is comprehensively protected, and the risk to potential exposure
is minimised.

2. Regulatory compliance and data residency requirements

Sensitive data that is moved into and across cloud infrastructures can easily introduce additional
complexity and cost to regulatory compliance - potentially costing thousands in fines and
damaging reputations. Companies that ensure sensitive data is comprehensively protected can
greatly reduce cost, complexity and overall risk in meeting and maintaining regulatory
compliance.

3. Scalability and flexibility

The cloud has opened up previously unseen opportunities for organisations to grow and expand
quickly, smoothly and with ease. With information immediately available wherever you are, the
cloud offers the flexibility and scalability that in the past was an insurmountable obstacle for
businesses restricted by their on-site resources. The key to successfully harnessing this
opportunity is a flexible data security architecture that is adaptable across multiple applications
and systems, while not adversely impacting the user experience. Failure to put a comprehensive,
data-centric protection program can cause cloud initiatives to be delayed or fraught with hidden
security issues.

4. Cost efficiencies

This element is two-fold. First, reap the powerful cost savings by only paying for what you use.
The second element is that most cloud computing platforms provide the means to capture,
monitor, and control usage information for accurate billing. A single, comprehensive data
protection platform can eliminate the threat of risky fines from compliance breaches or data loss,
while also reducing the need to invest into multiple security tools.

5. Access to data anytime, anywhere

Enhancing the opportunity to drive business innovation, the cloud provides remote access to your
infrastructure 24/7 for your workforce. No longer will you arrive for a meeting only to find the
materials on your USB stick are a previous version. Instead you access the original file wherever
you happen to be. Sales teams can check stock levels in real time. An employee stuck at home
waiting for a delivery, or in an airport waiting for an ash cloud to disperse, can still work as
effectively as in the office.

With so many key business benefits of the cloud depending on security, one would easily be
mislead into thinking that a whole host of restrictions have to be implemented to address safety
issues. But the truth is, it all comes back to the data. A single framework that comprehensively
protects all enterprise data from point of creation and throughout its lifecycle can eliminate
practically all potential security hazards that could threaten the cloud.