Cloud computing is basically delivering computing services, including software, storage, and servers over the internet. The cloud itself represents an ‘internet’ despite the majority of world network is linked by undersea cable. Simply put, we can use the services that not available on our computer via cloud computing. This new kind of technology getting popular in recent years since the implementation of internet quickly reached the vast user in a blink of an eye. Perhaps you already are a part of cloud computing family, such as Google Drive, Office Online, Adobe Creative Clouds, Emails, Twitter, and even digital assistant. Despite its benefit, it has a weakness that probably can’t be patched. So, what is the pros and cons of cloud computing?
Cloud computing is relatively general terms. File hosting, web hosting, mail hosting, or even the social media is several instances of cloud computing applications these days. Yet, we still able to dig up the common problem of those services, also the advantages of them. I’ve created pros and cons of cloud computing in five major categories respectively. Hopefully, this information can help you.
Pros of Cloud Computing
Relatively lower cost
Running complex computer system is required to live-up the cloud computing services. And in order to maintain that system, some developer and technician team working 24/7 to ensure it runs as expected. Also, the software developer always figuring out some bugs and eliminate it quickly before ‘realized’ by the client. If you hire a professional to operate your private system solely, it will cost an enormous money. Instead, the cloud computing is run by a relatively small team but provides services for the ample user.
Your data treated carefully
Your experience is the state of the company’s reputation. They won’t disappointing customer satisfaction due to a relatively minor mistake but potentially high impact. When you decide to store your data to the cloud computing services, it’s not same when you ask your careless roommate to keep your precious flash drive along with the data stored inside that probably will be lost after few days. In the other hand, the company manage the customer data carefully, perform a regular backup to ensure the data will still available although one version of them vanished or damaged due to some reasons.
Available across devices
In the early 2000s, cloud computing services mainly only available on one single platform — PC desktop. But thanks to the technological advancement, the smaller mobile device now capable of runs similar performances like a standard computer, and this phenomenon also affected the internet industry. In recent years, cloud computing companies expand their platform into mobile devices, such as smartphone and tablet. Since then, the customer can create a document at the work office and continue it later at home using different devices.
Have you ever wonder how powerful the data center is? Well, it’s basically high-end computer stacks together into a single supercomputer to perform many tasks that not feasible for current mainstream computer technology. Instead of building $5.000 computer system in order to render Adobe After Effects quickly, you can rent a private computer cross the continent and control it from your home seamlessly. In terms of economic, it’s far cheaper for your business solution.
Additional free storage
The most of you probably already using some file hosting services, such as Box, Google Drive, One Drive, DropBox, 4Shared and much more. They commonly offer free cloud storage space from 5GB to 30GB without requiring any payment. The only thing you should do is registering your email and create an account. The file that stored on that system will remain forever (as long the server is up). Therefore, when encounter storage problem on your personal computer, why not to look out some cloud computing-based services to deposited your gigantic data on it.
Cons of Cloud Computing
Requires reliable internet connection
The services from servers delivered through the internet, and in order to make it loaded perfectly, the client itself must have a reliable connection to prevent error due to an unfinished script. Some heavy-workload services even need dozens of megabytes which can be a tiresome job for the user, especially for people who only have limited data plan and lived in the rural area or not covered by high-speed bandwidth. Cloud gaming that has coming up in recent years, for instance, need a high-speed and stable connection to decrease the latency. Except for the LAN, the current wireless network isn’t good enough to handle a heavy workload like cloud gaming, at least until the 5G gets mainstream in the future.
Despite the company that offering cloud computing working tirelessly to ensure all system runs 24/7 every day. But on some occasions, the system fails to run, whether caused by power supply failure, hardware damage, or even worse, cyber attack. For those reasons, the services might be down for a while to fixing the issues. This event has happened to Google back in 2013 after the servers suddenly off for 2 minutes and kills 40% of internet traffic at that time. In addition, some downtime event might indicate a serious problem, for example when the lightning strikes Google datacenter and partially losing user’s data that stored there.
High consequences attack
You can store any files as much as you want to the cloud computing services. Google Photos, for example, allows you to upload infinity number of pictures with no cost. The good news, the storage device on your computer can free up some space, but when the file is uploaded to the internet, its fate really depends on the services that were used. Black hat hacker commonly aims their target at big companies, looking for vulnerability, and focusing attack on it. Once they gain control the server, they can modify, move, or delete the client data easily. Back in 2014, the hacker group dubbed as Guardian of Peace penetrate the Sony Pictures server, stolen some data, and exposes several sensitive information to the public. Causing the company to pay about $100 million to recover the server, and ironically, it’s not the first high-damaging attack for Sony.
Your personal information might be leaked
The server might safe from cyber attack, but the company behind it have an entitled to sell clients data. In a nutshell, when you like to share cute kitten photos on the social media. Then, the social media company think that you pet a cat. So, they can sell your data to the pet shop, and the pet shop itself probably will calling you, offering cat care service and so on. Well, in that case apparently still acceptable uses, but what if your personal information used illegal purpose? This has happened to Facebook on the Cambridge Analytica scandal, about 87 millions of users information was leaked, and the gathered information is used to create a new ‘dirty’ formula, to expose misinformation and propaganda.
Very limited control
Since the cloud computing infrastructures belong to the company, you have a less flexibility to control the system. In general, the client only able to change settings that ‘allowed’ by the company, which usually not too much. Some exclusive control like admin access, updating the firmware, rollback the software version, and tweak the server hardware isn’t available for the user.
INFOGRAPHICS About Procs and Cons of Cloud Computing
Click the pictures to download the infographics. The following contents below is separated into two section.