Cloud computing: Challenges and ethical issues

Cloud computing is the on-demand availability of computer system resources, especially data storage  and computing power, without direct active management by the user. The term is generally used to describe data centers available to many users over the internet. The goal of cloud computing is to allow users to take benefit from all of these technologies, without the need for deep knowledge about or expertise with each one of them. The cloud aims to cut costs and helps the users focus on their core business instead of impeding on IT obstacles.

How cloud computing enhances business operations

  • Productivity may increase when multiple users can work on the same data simultaneously, rather than waiting for saving and emailing of data.
  • Time saving as information does not need to re-entering when fields match, nor do users need to install application software upgrades to their computer.
  • Agility for organizations may improve, as cloud computing may increase users’ flexibility with re-provisioning, adding, or expanding technological infrastructure resources.
  • Cost reductions is also a possibility. A public-cloud delivery model converts capital expenditures  (e.g., buying servers) to operating expenditure. Consequently, lowers barriers to entry, as infrastructure is typically provided by a third party.
  •  Device and location independence enable users to access systems using a web browser regardless of their location or what device they use (e.g., PC, mobile phone).
  • Multitenancy enables sharing of resources and costs across a large pool of users thus allowing for:
    • centralization of infrastructure in locations with lower costs (such as real estate, electricity, etc.)
    • peak-load capacity increases (users need not engineer and pay for the resources and equipment to meet their highest possible load-levels)
    • utilization and efficiency improvements for systems that are often only 10–20% utilize.

Challenges and ethical issues in cloud computing

Cloud computing poses privacy concerns . This is because the service provider can access the data that is in the cloud at any time. It could accidentally or deliberately alter or delete information. Many cloud providers can share information with third parties if necessary for purposes of law and order without a warrant. There is permission in their privacy policies, which users must agree to before they start using cloud services. Solutions to privacy include policy and legislation as well as end-users’ choices . Users can encrypt data that is processed or stored within the cloud to prevent unauthorized access. Identity management systems can also provide practical solutions to privacy concerns in cloud computing. These systems distinguish between authorized and unauthorized users and determine the amount of data that is accessible to each entity. The systems work by creating and describing identities, recording activities, and getting rid of unused identities.

According to the Cloud Security Alliance, the top three threats in the cloud are

  •  Insecure Interfaces and APIs,
  • Data Loss & Leakage,
  • Hardware Failure.

There is the problem of legal ownership of the data. Many Terms of Service agreements are silent on the question of ownership.


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