Say Yes or No to Public Clouds

Public cloud services can be classified as one of the most dynamic markets in the world. Today, most companies are transitioning from their own data centers to public infrastructure to be a part of this industry. In addition, as mentioned in one of the lectures, many startups are building from scratch on public cloud infrastructures, to carve their names in this sector.


Why is the public cloud better? Apart from being cost-effective and being available on demand, at any location – a lesser known positive of the cloud is its ability to regulate electrical consumption amongst enterprises, and thus have a constructive impact on the environment. To elaborate, as a result of using high amounts of electricity, many nations are moving to a “carbon tax” model which forces businesses to check their power consumption trends. By using the cloud and their data servers, businesses are not only meeting their electrical consumption goals but also promoting the eco-friendly ways in which their company functions – enhancing their reputation. The adoption of the cloud helps them improve their green factor, and hence decreases potential harm to society [1].


Furthermore, clouds aid businesses insofar as they make mergers a lot simpler. Interestingly, the economies of scale enjoyed by public clouds are a result of their efforts in research and development. R&D leads to innovations in technology – in turn resulting in cost advantages experienced by public clouds. For instance, Microsoft Azure’s work on Valiant Load Balancing has constructively impacted its cost structure (In case you have not read the paper, here it is [2]). Hence, public clouds are not only positively affecting the environment but also leading the world towards a less complex, cost-effective arrangement.


While public clouds create positive ends, there can be certain drawbacks to them. One of the challenges faced by public clouds is the privacy and security of data. A third party – who in fact is hosting the data, can access the data in the clouds. This can hamper the security of essential information to some extent and indeed make businesses opt for the private cloud system. When one is thinking about the mishaps of public cloud computing, it is hard to not ponder over Amazon Web Services. Amazon Web Services is a great example of an on-demand cloud computing platform provider. It is noted to have proficient data centers that are capable of generating returns of about 20% more than enterprise systems [3].


In 2018, LocalBox, a data gathering company exposed 48 million records related to information presented on social media – such as addresses, dates of birth, deleted information from various sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn – via a misconfigured Amazon Web Services S3 storage system [4]. Moreover, a few months earlier, Octoly – a marketing agency – exposed details of over 12K of their clients as a result of their Amazon Web Services S3 bucket being publically accessible [5]. Therefore, public clouds resulted in giving out private information about individuals – negatively affecting their privacy and security. These accidents can raise the question that if medical records of professional athletes, influential political leaders, and important individuals in society are exposed to the world, what negative consequences could this lead to? Is private cloud the only option that could now protect and control data?


In conclusion, public clouds can either help the environment or creep onto our privacy – it’s for us to say whether it’s a yes or no to them.





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One comment on “Say Yes or No to Public Clouds”

  1. Hi Tanu,
    Interesting read!
    I really liked how you supplied the argument of a cloud having negative effects with examples.
    I guess with it, every decision comes down to the matter of security.
    While I was reading up on this topic, I came across the part about US-EU privacy shield laws the respective areas have in place to safeguard the data from incidents of the like you mentioned;

    I found it to be a pretty good step that has been amended to make the regulation stronger.
    That said, we do need to be more conscious about where we stand with our privacy when it comes to using a cloud.


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