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Cloud Computing Challenges and Related Security Issues

04.15.2013
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So, everyone wants to know about cloud computing challenges and related security issues. How severe are they, what are they, and should we be concerned? Should we turn away, for now, from the cloud movement for fear of these potential issues bringing calamity to our lives? Well, not really, while there are security risks in all things in this world, cloud computing isn’t of exceptionally high risk versus anything else.

So, let’s take a close look at perceived cloud computing challenges and related security risks, and see what has weight and what does not. Some of the challenges are definitely real, but the security risks, you will see as minimal by the end of this. So, with that said, let’s look at those real challenges first.

The first challenge for cloud computing is that use of it as a primary avenue requires a persistent, usually fast internet connection. A 1.5mbps DLS connection, or a 3G wireless connection is not going to suffice, and work well. Unfortunately, there are large expanses of this planet, inhabited, to which delivery of proper persistent speed just does not yet exist. So, cloud computing has a soft region lock to it, one that can only change if the infrastructures of the world allow it to change. Hopefully they will.

Another challenge is latency, in the case of many applications. For example, for gaming to be cloud-friendly, it must have a latency, or time for a signal there and back, of less than 5/1000 of a second, or five milliseconds. Otherwise, well, we’ve all seen laggy online play, imagine the whole game acting like this.

While it’s most easy to point out in gaming, latency like this is an issue in anything process intensive like graphics and programming, which can’t be handled properly by cloud frameworks as of yet, to any real success.

Finally, the biggest challenge is reception. Paying for computing as a unit service is something many people are not warm to the idea of, myself included. A model where all computing is not quantified and a price tallied thereto will need to be worked out before the world embraces the cloud as their daily standard computing model, because nobody wants to pay their computer a toll just to boot up and play Angry Birds.

Now, on to a few perceived security issues. One of the biggest fears is that if all data is stored off location on the cloud, that hackers or outages will more easily obtain or destroy this precious data. The truth of the matter is that cloud just means an array of servers. Servers are just computers designed to serve data, rather than be worked from. Any risk they have in this regard already exists with your computer, which a skilled hacker could wreak havoc upon, of course.

The other risk I hear a lot about is risk of intercepted transactions while subscribing or paying to use a service. This is again a false conclusion, because it’s no different than any other online transaction, something which is pretty safe these days. You’ve ordered things from EBay, admit it.

So, when it comes to cloud computing challenges and related security issues, there aren’t any real security problems that don’t just come with the computer territory. The challenges, however, are sadly real.

Published at DZone with permission of Omri Erel, author and DZone MVB. (source)

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)