This is a nasty little issue because the cloud computing industry is propped up on trust. If there was any thought at all that cloud computing was not safe, then the companies behind it would go bust over night. The same is true of large money organizations that handle online debit card use. If one falls then they all fall when it comes to consumer trust. Are there really security threats facing cloud computing? Or is the industry so wrapped up in consumer trust that they would not allow any form of threat?
Denial of Service
This is when the company promises you a service that they then fail to deliver in full. Doing this sort of thing is a threat to the entire cloud computing service and it happens (albeit rarely) when a company takes on more customers than they can handle.
Shared Technology Issues
This is a more localized problem when shared technology conflicts and issues happen and either there is a breach or hole in the security or the service goes down.
Do not forget that just like hosting services there are people behind the service you are buying and not all people are very nice. There is a chance that a cloud company may have malicious insiders that are skimming your information and selling it on. The reason it does not happen too often is because it would take down most of the cloud computing industry if people could not trust cloud computing.
This happens when the cloud service has failed to keep up maintenance of the site or has failed to keep up the security of the site and it has fallen either through a crash which has removed certain bits of information or it has been hacked and compromised. This sort of thing happening is either very rare or very well covered up (who knows which?).
Attacking application programming interfaces is another way of attacking cloud computing in a slightly more insidious way. It is a possible threat to cloud computing but very little has come if it so far.
The same is true of any hosting service except that we are told to make backup copies of things that are put onto servers, but we are told that putting things on the cloud is safer. People are not as encouraged to backup their content on the cloud. If there was a catastrophic loss of data then it would be a threat to the entire cloud service industry.
It would not only apply to people who save files on the cloud but also to companies that run software and remote offices from the cloud. Trust in the cloud would be severely shaken in a way that may make people think twice about using it.
Insufficient Due Diligence
It is up to the cloud service to take as much care as possible to ensure the safety of the data on the cloud, its maintenance, its security and the legality of it. This also involves passing information back and forth across servers that cross into countries with contradictory protection laws.
This can happen in a number of ways and it is not always the fault of the cloud service, but if news got out that lots of people were having their accounts hijacked then people may start to mistrust the cloud service providers instead of recognizing the fault of the users. Account hijacking can happen from something as simple as another person guessing your password for your cloud account.
Abuse of cloud services
This may come from the side of the service provider and from the side of the service user. Such cases are rare because there is little point. For example, why steal space on a cloud system when most cloud companies give away an amount of space free anyway. A cloud company could sell a remote office service and then resell it in part to another company, but this is bad business and poses more risks than it does the small bit of extra income it may gain them.
Is the cloud really under threat?
All of the threats listed on this article are pretty remote threats that are unlikely to happen because the entire cloud service industry has too much to lose from a PR catastrophe. It is not a good idea to say never, but the chances of a big disaster or the dropping of cloud services is unlikely to happen any time soon. The most probable and real threat to cloud computing is the fact that in the future there will be something to replace it, which may actually be people being able to afford their own servers.
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