The cloud computing industry is worth around 76 billion dollars in 2021. To many in the world of business or Information Technology, this vast figure will not come as any sort of surprise. Cloud computing is the delivery of computing services over the internet. This can involve storage, software hosting, processing and almost every other computing function. Instead of hosting servers on site, businesses use servers hosted by cloud computing companies. Cloud computing is an immensely important technological development. For those unfamiliar with cloud computing, here are a few facts that might help you understand it’s meteoric rise.
It Has Been Around For A While
Although cloud computing has risen to prominence in recent years, it is by no means a completely novel technological advance. Cloud computing has its origins in the mid-20th Century. The United States Military developed a networked computer system in the 1950s that enabled many operators to access the same data – a precursor to cloud storage. Many historians pinpoint the first use of the word ‘cloud’ as having occurred in 1996, almost half a century after the military developed their system. A Compaq internal document mentioned the ‘cloud’ in reference to the concept of distributed computing.
With the launch of the internet in 1993, new avenues for distributed and remote computing became open to innovators. Data could now be transferred online and theoretically hosted remotely. It would not be until the popularization of broadband internet that this became practical, however.
It Is Built For Networked Isolation
We live in a world of networked isolation. What does this mean? The networked isolation paradigm is a postmodern state of society wherein we are ever more connected through the internet, but ever more isolated physically. Call it a product of late capitalism. Call it a product of technological advance. Call it the development of a biocomputational singularity. Whatever lurks beneath this paradigm – and there are plenty of theories – it is very hard to deny that it does exist. The COVID 19 pandemic has accelerated the spiral towards networked isolation.
Cloud computing fits neatly into this world. It does away with the need for physical proximity to data, computing and information. The effect of cloud computing on this networked and isolated society are yet to be seen.
Businesses Are Adopting It At Different Paces
Cloud computing implementation and adoption is no easy task. For a business to successfully follow the best practices for the implementation of a service, like NetSuite for instance, it usually needs some kind of specialist help. For this reason, true cloud computing solutions – as opposed to simple cloud storage solutions – are being adopted at wildly different paces by businesses. There are a whole host of reasons why some companies are hesitant to adopt cloud computing wholesale. One of the most prevalent of these reasons is a general fear about data security. Cloud computing, however, is not any more unsafe than regular networked computing and can be safer. Most companies with dedicated IT departments are well on their way to adopting cloud computing. A whole cadre of consultancies have sprung up with the explicit intention of helping companies move on to the cloud – for a price.
It Isn’t Hack Proof
Cloud computing is not utterly hack proof, but it is pretty secure. All good cloud computing services encrypt data as it travels between remote servers and user terminals. This makes it extremely hard for hackers to actually use or sell any data they intercept. Extremely advanced hackers, however, are occasionally able to compromise whole systems. The recent Russian Sunburst hacking campaign effectively used cloud computing services to piggyback across systems. Cloud computing users need to take the same stringent security measures they would take using conventional computing solutions.
Companies should not fear adopting the cloud, but they should put in place effective measures to counter hacking, espionage and extortion. Multi-level authentication processes are extremely effective at keeping the wrong people out at terminal level. Biometric authentication, password authentication and company details can all be used simultaneously to provide a multi layered defense.
Its Rise Is Inevitable
Economic and social realities make the rise of cloud computing inevitable. The sheer quantity of data that companies need to process, codify and analyze means that onsite servers and onsite computing power is impractical to constantly update. Cloud computing essentially shifts the financial responsibility attached to this onto cloud computing service providers.
The exponential nature of data accumulation means that companies are forced to either abandon the use of huge datasets or continue to invest in cloud computing. It is very likely that we will see the end of conventional software and storage in the near future as all computing becomes remote. Increased adoption of remote working in recent years has also made cloud computing a much more tempting path for businesses. Remote workers can still have access to all the tools and data they need if they have access to the cloud.
Humanity Needs To Mitigate The Environmental Impact Of Cloud Computing
Cloud computing is having a detrimental effect on the environment. Powering and cooling remote servers is immensely energy inefficient. Greenpeace estimates that the percentage of electricity used by the technology sector will rise from 7 percent to 20 percent by 2025 – thanks in large part to cloud computing. There needs to be a huge push to mitigate the environmental impact of cloud computing. Ultimately, this needs to come from the energy sector. The burning of fossil fuels for energy production needs to be abandoned on a huge scale if cloud computing is to become environmentally friendly. Renewable energy sources are all around us, but a combination of political indifference and industrial lobbying stops renewable energy from eclipsing fossil fuel use. Cloud computing is inevitable. Our reaction to it is not. Officials and industry leaders need to be pressured into abandoning fossil fuels for the sake of the planet. New taxation, incentives and political pressures need to exist in order to speed this transition along.