Cloud Technologies: Safety & Security

Instructor: Sudha Aravindan

Sudha has a Doctor of Education degree in math education and is currently working as a Information Technology Specialist.

Data in the cloud? What is the cloud? Where is the data saved? Is the data safe? What is a public cloud and a private cloud? In this lesson, we will answer these questions about cloud technologies as they relate to safety and security.

Cloud and Cloud Storage

Have you heard about the Google cloud? What about the Microsoft cloud? In computing terms, what do you think the cloud is? The cloud is a network of computers and servers that are located in different locations and interconnected to each other. This network is then accessible by users through the internet. It includes virtual machines where data and programs are dispersed across multiple locations for redundancy.

The cloud is different from the client-server systems that are configured, managed, and run by companies for its users and clients (e.g. on-site servers). In addition, the hard disk of your personal computer is not a cloud because it is physically located within the computer that is by your side.

Cloud storage is a technology service where users can save and access data in the cloud. One advantage is that there is no fear of hardware failure. In addition, users no longer have to worry about data loss because the cloud service provider manages all the hardware, including failover options and data backups. Failover is built into the configuration so that even if one server fails, the user will not notice any difference or lose any data. Another server will simply take over.

Cloud storage where emails, pictures, data files and music is saved and accessed by smartphone, camera, tablets and computers.
Cloud Computing

Public and Private Clouds

The older client-server model is now changing to a cloud computing model where shared programs and data are provided from multiple servers on multiple hardware hosts to multiple client devices over the internet. These devices include smart phones, tablets, laptops and desktops. A user that is logged into the cloud on their smart phone can access the same data from their laptop, no matter where they are.

Private Clouds

In private clouds, servers are configured for use exclusively by an organization for its own employees and customers. The data and programs in the cloud are not public. The servers that host the cloud storage can be located on-site or can even be off-site. The main idea with private clouds is that the cloud (which includes the networked distributed servers and all the clients including mobile devices) is serving a private consumer base. Private clouds are usually behind the firewall of an organization since the cloud storage belongs to the organization.

Public Clouds

Public clouds are configured for the public to use. For instance, Gmail is in the Google cloud. Office 365 is in the Microsoft cloud. Public clouds provide services to the public for free (as in the case of Gmail) or through paying a subscription fee (as in Office 365). In public clouds, the servers and data can be widely distributed, meaning they can be in global locations in any region or on any continent. Users can access this data when traveling to any part of the world as long as they have an internet connection. Users no longer have to worry about backing up files when they are working or if the computer crashes. Data in the cloud is being backed up and is accessible from any place at any time.

Common to both public and private clouds is the use of multiple data centers. A data center is a facility or physical location where a large number of servers are located. The cloud computing model saves data onto these servers across multiple data centers for data redundancy. This provides seamless access to the user. The user does not need know where the data is coming from. All that is needed is an internet connection.

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