7 Things You Might Not Know About Cloud

Cloud technology is a very complicated topic. In fact, there are many things that you may or may not know about the cloud and cloud technology. The phrase “cloud or cloud computing” is a marketing term used to tout utility-based services available over the internet. The name(s) are all-encompassing and are widely misused across the industry. Many people believe that the cloud is new, free, static, always costs less, simple, and not for sensitive data; all of these are wrong to one extent or another.

Here are 7 things you did not know about cloud technology.

  1. What the cloud actually is. Simply put, the cloud is a data center or datacenters tied to an ecosystem of services and offerings delivered by a Cloud Service Providers (CSPs), e.g., AWS, Azure, GCP, others. These datacenters are connected to network backbones
    and are physical datacenters spread throughout a geographical area. They have all the traditional datacenter issues of power, connectivity, space, fire suppression, capacity management, and redundancy. Cloud Service Providers consist of a datacenter ecosystem with highavailability/redundancy built into them.
  2. The cloud is not new. Compaq coined the term cloud computing in 1996; however, the concepts of cloud started to come about in the late ’90s. With AOL, Yahoo, and Application Service Providers (ASPs). While the idea of cloud technology is older, the real vision of the current cloud and its offerings became more visible when large companies started to develop the offerings out of spare capacity they had available in their existing business around 2006.
  3. Cloud is (can be) less expensive. Cloud offerings result from the aggregation of resources purchased in large quantities and are used to maximum efficiency by Cloud Service Providers. The ability to buy large amounts of equipment, set up, and resell to you at a lower price is a simple supply and demand equation. As a result, CSPs can offer it at a lower price than you could purchase the systems on your own. Think of it as electricity; you only pay for what you use, when you use it. If you go out of town for a few weeks, your electricity bill will be much lower. The cloud, if used correctly, can offer substantial savings over an on-prem infrastructure and, therefore, can be a less expensive approach. In contrast to that, if you require large always on high-performance systems, then the cloud, in some cases, can be a much more costly solution.
  4. The cloud is (can be) secure. The cloud can be as safe as you would like it to be. All clouds have, and some come with, Identity Access Management (IAM) tools to control and govern who has access to the data within. Additionally, several open-sourced tools or purchasable options are available to measure, audit, or control both information and access. Large organizations store significant amounts of sensitive data on the cloud and have policies and programs to ensure their data security. If you do not govern your data, access, and implement security controls well, the cloud can expose your sensitive information. It is critical to have the skills, whether outsourced or in sourced, to ensure proper governance and security.
  5. The cloud is (can be) evergreen. Cloud providers are always releasing new features and services on the cloud, the latest operating systems, new services to take the place of 3 rd party services, or “on server” services. The ability to leverage these items is directly related to the level of investment that you make to keep up with the latest and often less expensive run rate options available to you.
  6. SaaS and PaaS are considered cloud. Software as a Service (SaaS) or Platform as a Service (PaaS) are cloud offerings. SaaS is an offering that delivers a particular software service you can just consume. Some examples of this are QuickBooks online, AWS/Azure/GCP Infrastructure as a Service. PaaS (Platform as a Service) offers a platform on which you can build what you need. Examples of PaaS are things like ServiceNow, MS SQL service, Web Service (azure), RDS (AWS)
  7. Cloud Ownership: Who owns the cloud? – the answer is not as straightforward as it may sound. There are cloud Service providers, e.g., AWS, Azure, GCP, IBM, Oracle, etc., and the answer is they own the infrastructure equipment and services. In most cases, you own your data. If you spin up systems or services, the data you have in those systems is owned by you, controlled by you, and cannot be read by anyone unless you give them access. That said, read the information carefully when working with a PaaS or SaaS service to make sure you can remove your data and only those you authorize can see it.

Cloud technology is a complex topic where many assumptions are made and facts are unknown. These are seven things that you may not have known about the cloud, but there are various other things about cloud technology that might be unclear to you.

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