Cloud Burst of Bytes

Thu, Nov 29, 2012

Social Issues

In the search for Simplicity, modify if you can – start afresh if you cannot.

- Edward de Bono

“I always carry all my data with me!” smiles Pranav, a Research Scholar in Chemical Engineering, beaming and sparking with joy he adds “All in air you know. My PC, mobile and laboratory computer all are connected through drop-box.” Like thousands of tech savvy of India Pranav also radiates the emotional connectivity and the free-spiritedness, the cloud computing has promised. “As soon as I click a photo on my mobile, it is in my PC! No cable, no connectivity, no Bluetooth. Only the cloud storage, that is the center of highlight.”

I still remember when I was 5 years old few things that seems unworthy today, how precious they were to me. An old coin, few colourful marbles, small piece of magnet, a magnifying lens and other such stuff for which I would find the most secure place I could to hide. Fortunately, there were enough hiding places for such things which were of no value to anyone else but to me. Twenty year after, things have changed (obviously I have grown up), I have many important things which are important and valuable to me. But the basic problem still troubles me, where to secure them? The problem is aggravated as the thing I have to secure are confidential documents, legal papers, personal pictures, business plans, conversations etc. saved in my laptop, ipad or mobile phone, prone to the world of cyber criminals waiting for a chance to sneak into my device and steal my fortune.

There is a more bigger problem, the amount of such information and data that I have, is growing day by day and space to store it is limited to size of the memory of the device I am using, forget about securing it. Each and every one of us is facing such situation where we end up prioritizing our data on basis of space we have in our device and deleting the not so important one until we find the end of the closed tunnel. Also, some day you find out (if you are lucky) that the xyz dollars that was siphoned off from your bank was because of the cyber attack to your computing device from a professional cyber criminal getting the username/password of your account. Don’t forget we have a habit of saving bank credential in our device as a backup, in a folder drilling down to multiple folders that sometimes we too don’t remember.

Technology which is exposing us to such threats is also providing us the solutions. It’s time to stay updated with the technology and choose for smart solutions to deal with any menace. Bright and wise business executives, technocrats are increasingly choosing Cloud storage to store and secure their information and data.

The term Cloud Computing which has nothing to do with the weather or climate actually refers to storing data to an off-site secured storage system maintained by well experienced vendors or organizations having years of experience in employing latest storage technology. Instead of storing the information or data to your device memory or computer hard drive you can store the data to an off-site storage system.  The connection to storage system and your device is provided via internet.

How does it work?

There are many Cloud Storage systems in use today across the world. Cloud Storage system facilities are called Data centers. These data centers are used for storing all form of digital data and can be small in operations or can use large space for the physical instruments. The most basic level of Cloud storage consist of one data server connected to the internet. A client, which is a computer user subscribed to the storage service provider, sends the data files over internet and store in the data server. When client requires the data, he can access it through a web based user interface. The storage server allows the Client to send data, retrieve data or manipulate data in the server itself. For doing all these task, client is provided with security credentials. An operational Cloud storage system has hundreds of server to serve the needs of the user. Data is stored in more than one server to compensate the service for maintenance and use more than one power supplies for uninterrupted service.

Cloud Storage Service providers

There are many cloud storage service provider currently operational in the web and increasing everyday due to the immense growth opportunities available in this business. Companies are providing large amount of space to the users and competing for acquiring huge market base. The well known companies providing Cloud Storage are given below:

  1. Google Docs: Google serve users to upload documents, pictures, spreadsheets and presentation to Google’s data storage servers. Users can share documents to other user and multiple users can edit and save.
  2. Flickr and Picasa: These services provide users to create and store online photo albums and share with multiple users.
  3. Youtube: User can upload and share video files to the Youtube storage servers. Youtube has become one of the most widely used service for watching and sharing video files.
  4. Email providers like Gmail, Yahoo and rediff store email messages on their servers and user can access them from any client.
  5. Social networking sites like Facebook, Orkut and Myspace allows user to share pictures and documents online.
  6. JustCloud, Zipcloud, myPCbackup, SOS, livedrive are some of the service providers giving data storage services to wide range of users and organizations.

Some of the above services are free to the online users and some charge flat fees for these services depending on the space required. There is huge requirement for the storage services in today’s tech-savvy generation. However, People are skeptical using these services due to privacy concern and Cloud storage provider’s needs to build the confidence in users to utilize the benefits of the technology to its fullest.

Advantages of Cloud Storage

User of Cloud storage can retrieve data from any location having internet access using web based interface. There is no need to carry storage device everywhere. With the Cloud storage user can allow other people to access data. Service providers use latest technology and tools to keep data secure from theft and redundancy of data nullify the data loss threat. Cloud storage stores data in multiple file formats. Hence, Cloud storage is convenient and flexible.

As students we have seen the potential advantages in terms of SIMULTANEITY that the cloud interface promises! Group assignments, presentations are reports become a fun, when we sit together and work simultaneously on a document. Frequent commenting, editing, brainstorming. The task has become simpler, faster and more efficient. What more can we ask? :)

Anand P. Gautam

MBA 2014 Batch

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