Cloud Hosting: What Lies Ahead?

I have observed the database management industry for a long time now. Years of experience in this field has made me seasoned. I have seen the trends, when I began in 2008 till now when I am sharing an office with 120 people. From those days of server-side database management, we have now moved to cloud database. Recently, a popular site, infamous for sharing files over the torrent network, announced that it will be moving completely to cloud infrastructure and will have no physical server anymore.

This brings up another issue which is bothering me recently. Is the cloud server a safe option? Certainly it is still developing and has not reached its full potential. I personally predict that we would be seeing a cloud server architecture overcoming the present one by 2020 and surely not before that. There are two big reasons in favour of this opinion.

1. The architecture has not yet reached its peak, it is still in its development stage and many companies and organisations are wary of it.

2. There are too much data to move. Just imagine that some big organisations like Google or Yahoo trying to go ‘cloud’. They will need to move thousands of terabytes.

Anyway, security of data is what I am willing to talk about today. Cloud technology, like I pointed out several times, is not fully functional which means there are possible holes in the security. But this point also works as a blessing as no hacker is really targeting the cloud technology at this early stage of development because there are very few companies who are using this technology. This is exactly why Linux is secure, no hacker is going to spend effort to penetrate an OS with a 2% market share. But still there can be a few threats.

‘Thumbsucking’, as it is named somewhat weirdly, is the process where people can actually access the target machine physically. They can take the data out using portable storage devices like a flash device. This risk is hugely reduced if the cloud infrastructure is used. As most of the data will be in the cloud, physical access to one access point will not harm as much as it use to do in the existing system. But it also increases the second risk, known as HACKING!

The chances of hacking get increased. Let me explain with a simple example. If there is a single door to enter a room, you can easily concentrate on providing maximum security to that door. But what if there are a thousand doors,all with different locks and keys? It will be difficult for the most efficient floor manager to ensure maximum security as easily as he could have done in case of one door. This is what happens when you go for cloud hosting. You have a hard time locating your data, forget about securing it. I am not saying there are no architectures which can take care of it but simply the fact that there will be more doors, closed or not, means there will be more chances for intruders to get access. This flaw must be addressed very early and seriously to negate this threat to the maximum extent possible.

I personally look forward to cloud computing, as eagerly as I am looking forward to the web-based OS.

Faiz Ahmed Faiz

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