Smartcat is powered by cloud technologies, and they underpin many of the platform’s features. To answer once and for all the question of "What's so great about clouds?", we're sharing a post by Anand Prahlad where he explains in detail our love affair with cloud solutions and why they're here to stay.
So you've decided to move to the cloud. What’s it to be? Public? Private? Hybrid? Multi-cloud? So many questions and so many options. You start studying the pros and cons of various options. You even check out what your competitors are using. It’s not a simple decision, and believe us, we truly understand.
What Makes a Cloud a Cloud?
So, is the cloud just a set of servers running in a data centre somewhere? Not quite. There are a few fundamental qualities that clouds are required to have in order to qualify for that tag.
As you've probably heard, clouds can be categorized several ways into several types. For instance you've probably heard of Private, Public and Hybrid Clouds. We won’t go into a lot of detail about each of these in this post – but enterprises have to make decisions around the types of clouds they use and the trade-offs that come with them.
Private clouds tend to be cloud infrastructure built by a company or an enterprise either in its own data centres or in a co-located facility run by an infrastructure provider. Private clouds give enterprises more control over their hardware and software stack, as well as the security stance they desire to take.
Public clouds are usually run by third party infrastructure providers (e.g. Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, Rackspace) from where enterprises rent their computing resources. In many cases, you may use a public cloud without being really aware of it – like when you use a SaaS application – like Salesforce.com or WorkDay. Or even an application like Gmail. Companies that are highly conservative may choose not to use cloud services at all. Others may choose to only use private clouds.
A lot of firms are looking at hybrid cloud options where they get to balance their data and workloads between private and public clouds – a form of having your cake and eating it too. While private clouds and hybrid clouds can give the enterprise more control, they’re more expensive propositions and are clearly out of reach for a number of small and medium businesses.
So, what’s not to like?
So, if the public cloud is such a great thing, what’s stopping everybody from moving all their data and compute workloads into the cloud? Unfortunately, the public cloud comes with some risks as well. One of the biggest risks that CIOs and CISOs worry about is security and privacy. When enterprises start using the public cloud, they have to trust valuable digital assets to infrastructure they don’t own and to organizations they don’t control.
Many businesses draw a line in the sand and decide what they feel comfortable keeping in the public cloud and what they don’t. The benefits of the public cloud keep that line moving further out towards more adoption. Each time there is a security hack and some cloud data is compromised, the line moves back again.
What can you do about it?
- Take a proactive approach when negotiating Service Level Agreements – especially with public cloud vendors
- Ensure that your on-line data provider has an enforceable obligation to preserve confidentiality and security, and that it will notify you in the event of any security breach
- Investigate the cloud service provider’s security measures, policies, recoverability methods, and other procedures to assess their adequacy
- Ensure that the vendor is using the most appropriate technology to guard against “reasonably foreseeable attempts to infiltrate the data that is stored”
- Ensure that the cloud provider can “purge and wipe” any copies of the data and move it to a different host if necessary
- In any contractual negotiations with cloud vendors, insist upon security provisions based upon the data security requirements specific to your industry.
Check out enterprises that have made the push towards public clouds like Microsoft, Google and Amazon. Use some of the useful guidelines we've given you above. An architecturally robust public cloud system with enhanced security and encryption services is clearly the way forward!