Cloud Systems: Friend or Foe?


‘The Cloud’ is a concept that many people make use of, yet most people do not fully comprehend it as a whole, and to all its extents. The Malta Information Technology Agency tells us that “cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services), that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort  or service provider interaction.” 

For the majority, the cloud presents itself as an online place to store media, whatever the format. Easily accessible, with various affordable levels of storage amounts, usually included with a Google or iCloud account that’s needed with smartphones. It alleviates the need of buying devices with high internal storage and can be upgraded easily when the current amount is used up. The cloud itself however, can be so much more than that. 

People express concerns with regards to reliability and privacy when it comes to cloud storage, since it involves storing your personal files on a server owned by a third party. Most reputable companies that offer cloud storage solutions present clear and secure safeguards to ensure that both of those concerns never become an issue. This however still does mean that to determine whether cloud computing is right for you, you must first evaluate the risk of what would happen if your data was corrupted, lost or accessed by an unauthorised person or persons due to a breach in security protocols.

Cloud storage can be privately owned however. Many companies allow access to the relevant local files from online sources from people within the company itself. Software can also be accessed through the cloud, allowing for far more feasible remote working

There is of course the concern of internet connection being a bottleneck in the process that can make one unable to effectively and efficiently access data at the time that it’s needed. This is further exacerbated by the fact that if there are larger volumes of data that needs to be accessed at any particular time, a basic internet connection may not be up to the task. In scenarios such as this one, the internet connection needs to be fast enough to offer a reasonably fast downtime for the aforementioned amounts of data. 

As with most systems and services, cloud computing is not necessarily for everyone in any situation. There are many cases where cloud computing could be a solution to issues with local storage, but it’s important to evaluate each case on its own merit.