Cloud storage allows you to save data and files in an off-site location that you access either through the public internet or a dedicated private network connection. Essentially, cloud storage involves storing data at the cloud provider's server on the Internet, which is kept up to date through a data management and operations service. A user pays a per-consumption, per-month fee for the storage space/service, and the solution is provided as needed with a flexible capacity and cost structure. This way, one doesn't need to worry about buying and/or maintaining storage infrastructure.
So how does Cloud Storage work?
The cloud offers data storage capacity that is owned and operated by third parties who deliver the data over the Internet in a pay-as-you-go model. Several data centers across the globe are used by cloud service providers. Managing and maintaining data sent to the cloud is the responsibility of the cloud service providers. Using the vendors' cloud storage, data is accessible to applications around the globe thanks to their security, availability, and capacity. By using cloud storage, organizations are able to avoid the costs associated with buying, managing, and maintaining in-house data storage infrastructure.
Popular Cloud Storage Service Providers
With cloud storage services, users can access their files from anywhere with an internet connection, making them more popular than ever. It is incredible how versatile cloud-based storage is. Their expertise often falls into a narrow field.
pCloud is a multipurpose service provider since it is compatible with any kind of device. SugarSync and Dropbox are also designed to keep synced folders always accessible. Security is emphasized by SpiderOak. Among the most popular cloud storage services are Apple iCloud, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive. These generalists offer not only folders and files, but also media and device syncing services.
Securing Cloud Storage
The security of the cloud is a shared responsibility between the cloud provider and the cloud users. The security responsibility of the cloud provider is peculiar to individual cloud providers, yet beyond the shared responsibility that exists between the cloud providers and the cloud users, there are pros and cons of cloud security.
Pros of Cloud Storage
1. Automated Backup
Cloud computing makes it possible to regularly backup data or choose how often data would be backed up. This function helps to automate the backup of data and makes the process seamless. Users can define a schedule with which all data in the cloud will be automatically copied at stipulated intervals.
2. User’s Virtual Environment Security
Cloud service providers who provide infrastructural services also provides security at their level as their share of security responsibility ,such as network and infrastructure isolation, logging of administrators, backups, etc. The provider however does not have access to user data and applications. The security of the data when the user uses IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) and PaaS (Platform as a Service) at the application level becomes the responsibility of the user but in the case of SaaS (Software as a Service), it is the mandate of the cloud provider to guarantee security. This means the security of the cloud is achievable if both cloud providers and users partner in their security responsibility.
3. Independent Hardware Failure
Cloud servers don’t sustain component breakdown problems. The center - where virtual infrastructure is being deployed - has planned multilevel reservation of computing resources. Failure is a possibility but they don’t sustain fatal problems specific to physical servers because computing resources can be deployed to different centers within the same zones or regions providing fault tolerance and redundancy.
4. Data Privacy in the Cloud: Responsibility of the Provider before the User’s Company
Cloud Providers have limited access when it comes to the users’ data. This access is regulated by the Service Level Agreement (SLA), as well as the Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) These determine how and what access to the clients’ data the cloud providers can get depending on several situations and what penalties are applied in the case of violations.
Cons of Cloud Storage
1. Violations from Other Cloud Users
The violations of rules and regulations, terms and conditions from cloud users of the cloud can pose serious harm to others in the cloud. The control of the physical resources of the cloud are being regulated by the service providers and these physical resources are used by several users in the cloud. Thus, the illegal actions of one user can cause the withdrawal of a part of or complete equipment which will negatively affect other users or even make them lose their data.
2. Inadequate Security of Internet Channels
The cloud is only accessible through the internet and without adequate protection, this can pose a serious risk to the security of the organization. Attackers can use a man-in-the-middle attack and intercept web sessions or steal passwords to access cloud management systems. The risk is also high on the part of the cloud provider if such a provider doesn’t use adequate and reliable authentication/authorization systems which can negatively affect the security level. Users must therefore ensure they use secure connections along the entire route between their computer and the provider’s data center.
3. Limited Resources
Unlimited number of resources are released to users when they register to use infrastructures as a service, and they also have some authorization to flexibly manage those resources. However, some users may experience a drop in performance or inaccessibility in services due to significant loads. This is oftentimes caused by errors in the mechanisms of resource allocation, inadequate planning, or insufficient investment in equipment. For a user, this could translate to direct financial losses dues to service downtime or unavailability.
In your choice of a cloud service provider, you must therefore take care to weigh what pros and cons are associated with each service or provider, and then take the necessary security precautions accordingly.