Cloud Computing: What you need to know

Cloud Computing

All of us use cloud computing, whether we realize it or not. It powers our e-commerce, our social media and our entertainment. It also powers at least parts of the companies we all work in and big parts of our education from K-12, college and beyond.

The beauty of cloud computing is that you don’t have to know all the details of how it works. We recommend you grasp the concepts so you can evaluate services for your home and business and so you can think through the best, most secure operating practices. Here is an introduction:

Cloud Computing is the scalable delivery of computational resources. Models of cloud compute include public clouds, private clouds and blends in between. Architectures are in place now that leverage tiers of clouds that can exist in multiple sizes and locations, including homes, businesses and datacenters.

Key terms to know are Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS).

  • IaaS refers to the basic utility computing available from cloud service providers like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud Platform. They provide scalable services that you can build applications and other capabilities over.
  • SaaS is a term for applications delivered via the cloud. Examples you may already use include Box, DropBox, Microsoft Office 365, Docusign. The many popular e-commerce sites you probably use can also be considered SaaS applications (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, for example).

A snapshot of the trend right now indicates:

  • Using cloud services at home can help you be more secure. This may sound counter intuitive, but think of it this way, the people providing cloud computing services are going to have more engineers looking at security issues than you can ever devote to the problem.
  • Some companies have not yet started using cloud computing, and some are just using it a bit. But the trend is clear, one day they will all be using the cloud. Although it can cost additional resources to embark on a cloud transition effort, in most cases after initial outlays there are significant cost savings. commercial cloud computing providers are widely known for their revising costs down and we see that trend continuing.
  • Agility of the Cloud Computing┬ámodel is helping innovators innovate and developers develop, and in many cases this is the greatest benefit of the approach. Agility in service to mission and business needs is far more important than cost savings.

The threat dynamic around cloud computing includes a continual search by adversaries for ways to penetrate and exploit at scale. It can be far harder for an adversary to break into a well-engineered cloud provider, but once they get in they can strike gold! We encourage every enterprise to make maximum use of cloud capabilities but do so in ways that use smart encryption and well-engineered identify management and authorization.

As you leverage cloud computing at home or at work, be sure to track the best practices around cyber security for cloud services. You can engineer in security in ways that make cloud computing far more secure that older approaches.

We track the latest on Cloud Computing and all the other major mega trends of technology in the Things Cyber Tech Landscape section. The megatrends we track there are:

  • Artificial Intelligence: Tracking the future of thinking machines large and small, including the AI enabled systems used by your smartphone.
  • Cloud Computing: Powerful centralized computing delivering new capabilities like software as a service and most of the ecommerce and social media services we all use today.
  • Mobile Computing: Connected super-computers in your hand giving people ESP-like super powers. Our smartphones now ship with dozens of high end sensors and those are only increasing.
  • Big Data Analytics: Making sense of incredible amounts of data, including data generated and used by robotics and the IoT.
  • Robotics: Automating every task that can be, creating, and disrupting jobs. This includes, by the way, disrupting entertainment (see Jimmy Fallon and his robots).
  • Internet of Things: Everything will have a chip and communicate with everything else, and how we optimize this will help ensure the IoT is focused on what we want.
  • Cybersecurity: Evil will aways be lurking. We must all reduce our risks in this connected world. this includes a need for cybersecurity on every

And be sure to find and follow us on Twitter to continue the dialog. We are at @ThingsCyber

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