Information Technology and Ethics/Cloud Computing and its effects on Quality of Life

What is Cloud Computing? edit

Cloud Computing Defined edit

Cloud Technology is a revolutionary innovation in the field of Information Technology that enables the delivery of computing services via the internet. Services that looked impossible just a few years ago are now being offered with great results and efficiency. These services include but are not limited to networking, servers, storage, and databases. From an important point of view, it can be argued that it comes second only after the creation of the internet itself as its usage and benefits are endless. We are benefiting enormously from using Cloud-based services in our day-to-day life and wouldn't be able to function without it.

Cloud Computing and Services edit

There are four main types of cloud computing. These types are Private, Public, Hybrid, and Personal. Along with the three types, there are three primary cloud services. These are services are Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platforms-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). It is important to understand the differences between each type of cloud computing, along with their different services, to select the best fit.

Cloud Computing edit

Cloud Computing is the type of cloud environment that is employed for use. It defines where the data is stored, such as on-site or off-site, and how users interact with the cloud environment. The four types of cloud computing are: Private, Public, Hybrid, and Personal.

Private Cloud edit

Private cloud computing is dedicated to a specific individual or company. This type of cloud computing in the past has been based within the individual or company's network, however, with the expansion of cloud computing, many cloud providers offer private cloud subscriptions allowing off-site private clouds.

Public Cloud edit

Public cloud computing is what most people think of when thinking about the cloud. The infrastructure and environments that this type of computing is made on is generally a third party, many common Public Cloud providers include Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Microsoft Azure.

Traditionally Public Clouds are run off-site by an individual or company. The provider owns and maintains the physical infrastructure of the data center and rents out space to the customer. As one may think this can cause some legal and ethical issues.

Hybrid Cloud edit

Hybrid Cloud computing is a combination of cloud computing. There are many various ways of making a hybrid cloud including one private cloud and one public cloud, two or more different private clouds, two or more different public clouds, or on-premise infrastructure combined with cloud computing.

Many environments today are of the hybrid cloud type by tying together corporate or private networks with the flexibility and reliability of cloud computing.

Personal Cloud edit

Personal Cloud Computing also referred to as PCC, is a network-attached device primarily designed for media streaming. Users are able to benefit from cloud-based storage while also having control over their data.

More often than not, at a first glance, the price can be a bit steep; however, it could save you money in the long run due to fewer data security issues. Since these are portable services, a data breach is likely to be more limited since it is remotely managed

Cloud Services edit

Cloud Services are the infrastructure, platforms, or services provided by the third party to the client. These services are provided over the internet and include:

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) edit

IaaS is a service type in which the third-party provider is responsible for the infrastructure of the network. This includes the physical servers, hard drives, and networking of the devices. The user then gets to decide on what operation systems, middleware, applications, and data are stored on the machines.

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) edit

PaaS is a service type in which the third party provides the infrastructure and the application software on the machines. The only thing the user is in control of is the exact applications that are installed and the data the applications use on the machines.  

Software-as-a-Service(SaaS) edit

SaaS is a service type in which the third party takes care of all aspects of the machine. This means that the users can log in at any time and not have to worry about maintenance or updates as it is the responsibility of the third party.

Real Life Uses of Cloud Computing edit

Industry Related Cloud Computing [1] edit

The cloud greatly favors the development of business activity in the vast majority of industries. In this section, we will explain the five main advantages that the implementation of the cloud brings to companies in their activity.

Access edit

The cloud enables companies to provide real-time access and the latest version of the software to those who need it. From an employee perspective, changes in the product or service can be made in a very simple way. On the other end of the spectrum, from a customer point of view, those who have internet access will receive the latest update from anywhere in the world, with any device.

Agility edit

One of the main advantages of the cloud in the industry is the ease with which they can scale the system. Scaling the system through the cloud is very simple since it does not require actions such as installing servers or setting up networks. From a company's point of view, being agile is very useful as it allows for faster innovation and quicker adaptation to changes made by the competition.

Cost savings edit

The use of the cloud in the industry allows cost savings for the company. Realizing economies of scale allows the company to reduce costs. When it comes to storage in physical format, in order to increase its capacity, the company will need more physical space (very expensive). However the cloud is very flexible, you can increase its capacity very easily (cheaper).

The cloud's ease of making changes and the time saved in making those changes is also essential in reducing costs for the company in question. The cloud lowers direct costs, benefiting from elasticity and the pay-per-use model to reduce the expense associated with those infrastructures that are now underutilized. This can reduce company costs by 20%-60%.   

Efficiency edit

One of the main advantages of the use of the cloud by the industry is the efficiency it provides. First, companies often opt for plans that offer unlimited storage space. At the same time, all this data is processed in a very simple way, thus improving the efficiency of the process. Finally, being able to immediately access information and manage data from anywhere makes the organization more efficient.

Reliability and Security edit

Unlike storage in physical formats, the cloud is much safer for protecting data and files: as they are stored on remote servers, the information is secured, eliminating the risk of damage, corruption, or loss of the physical disk and with it any valuable data. Although certain unforeseen events may occur, such as attacks, cyber theft, data damage, etc., the cloud is secure, as it has mechanisms that make it virtually impossible to corrupt a file.

Benefits and Risks of Cloud Computing edit

Benefits edit

Storage, File Sharing and Syncing edit

It's now possible to expand storage, share and sync files on a device without having it stored locally on your device. The mainstream ways that this is done are through services like iCloud, OneDrive, and Google Drive.

Education edit

Cloud Computing has made it possible for students to follow their education fully online. During the COVID 19 pandemic, this was evident as students were forced to stay home. The education that was received did not stop but instead was totally transferred to cloud platforms. “Cloud computing has enabled students to access data anywhere and at any time. Students can enroll online and participate in online learning activities. Cloud computing has enabled institutions to use the storage cloud to store large amounts of data securely without installing a complicated and expensive infrastructure. For students in less developed countries, cloud computing technology has enabled them access to educational websites and cloud knowledge-sharing forums and communities” (Wilber, 2020).[2]

Health edit

“Cloud computing technology is gaining pace in the healthcare industry. Its application includes managing and sharing patient data to reduce operational costs, such as data storage devices. In addition, patients are able to access their medical records through pervasive devices like mobile phones. This has seen the medical sector move from the traditional intranet to a quick and secure solution through cloud computing” (Willber, 2020).[2] Cloud technology has changed the way the medical industry uses technology. Now all patient data can be recorded 24/7 and uploaded in real-time on the cloud. Cloud Computing has made it possible for medical professionals to access their patient data from every computer they have access to. Patients now can get better service during the time they are hospitalized. “The patients, who are growing accustomed to instantaneous delivery of services, get to avail the same promptness from the health sector as well. Cloud also amps up patient engagement with their own health plans by giving them access to their own healthcare data, thus resulting in improved patient outcomes” (Arkenea, 2019).[3]

Navigation edit

We all remember the old fashion paper maps. Some of us are all young enough to have seen them only in movies or heard about them from our family members or friends. Paper maps were the only way back in the time to navigate from one point to another. With the advancement of technologies, maps got uploaded to the Cloud. Maps got integrated with GPS to give us pinpoint accuracy of our location. When we combine these two types of technologies we get a real-time location on maps and real-time instruction on where to turn next so we can arrive at our destination. Cloud technologies totally revolutionized the way we travel because now many services are way easier than they used to be before. Taxi services, shared drive services, trucking services, etc.

Risks edit

Compliance edit

Non-compliance with current policies and contractual requirements relating to the handled data or company operations poses a risk. The legal implication of using an external IT provider should be carefully reviewed.[4]

Compatibility edit

Migration to the cloud may cause issues with an organization's existing IT infrastructure, as well as its security requirements and regulations. Pre-planning is essential in taking into account all of these factors before committing to the change.[4]

Logical Access edit

Administrator access is through the Internet rather than a controlled and Restricted on-site connection. The risk of unauthorized or inadequate Privileged access, such as administrator access, increases as data is processed outside the organization, meaning that outsourced service providers can bypass control exerted over in-house programs. Access via the Internet also means more exposure and subsequently more risks. The cloud characteristic of ‘on-demand self-service’ requires a management interface that is accessible to users of the cloud service. Unauthorized access to this management interface is much higher in online cloud environments than for traditional systems where this management facility is only accessible to a few administrators.

Network Security edit

There is an increased risk of hacking and intrusions in cloud environments. Hacking and intrusion risks include attackers gaining access to data and applications via some kind of remote access system and web application, and injection vulnerabilities exploited by manipulating input to a service or application so that parts of the input are interpreted as executed code against the programmer’s intention (i.e. SQL and command injections, and cross-site scripting). Security threats such as man-in-the-middle attacks, authentication attacks, Side-channel attacks, social networking attacks, and denial of service (DoS) attacks pose major threats in cloud computing environments.

Data Privacy and Security edit

Hosting confidential data with cloud service providers involves the transfer of a considerable amount of an organization’s control over data security to the provider. Companies must comply with requirements, set by their own organization or by an industry or government body, for securing both internal and external data and applications. Cloud computing, in most instances, means that data and applications are hosted at an off-site location, outside the legal and regulatory umbrella of the organization. Compliance needs to be proved regardless of the location of data. Compliance with some laws and regulations includes(Carroll et al.,2011):[5]

- Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS);

- Geographical restrictions applicable to the transit and storing of data;

- Sarbanes Oxley Act (SOX);

- Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA);

- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA);

- Auditing standards such as SAS70 and ISO

References edit

[6][7][8][9]

  1. HighCloud Solutions. (2021). Cloud Industry Forum. from https://www.cloudindustryforum.org/content/6-benefits-true-cloud-based-business-solution
  2. a b Willber, T. (2020, October 9). Impacts of cloud computing in our Everyday Life. Cloud Computing Magazine. Retrieved April 10, 2022, from https://cloud-computing.tmcnet.com/breaking-news/articles/446806-impacts-cloud-computing-our-everyday-life.htm
  3. Arkenea, V. K. (2019, October 2). 5 ways cloud computing is impacting healthcare. 5 Ways Cloud Computing Is Impacting Healthcare. Retrieved April 10, 2022, from https://www.healthitoutcomes.com/doc/ways-cloud-computing-is-impacting-healthcare-0001
  4. a b https://www.innovativearchitects.com/KnowledgeCenter/cloud-computing/cloud-computing-risks.aspx
  5. Carroll, Mariana & Van der Merwe, Alta & Kotzé, Paula. (2011). Secure cloud computing: Benefits, risks and controls. 1-9. 1 - 9. 10.1109/ISSA.2011.6027519.
  6. HighCloud Solutions. (2021). Cloud Industry Forum. Retrieved April 11, 2022 from https://www.cloudindustryforum.org/content/6-benefits-true-cloud-based-business-solution
  7. Personal cloud computing: Why should one have a personal cloud? EES Corporation. (2021, September 14). Retrieved April 26, 2022, from https://www.eescorporation.com/personal-cloud-computing/#:~:text=Efficient%20User%2Management-,What%20is%20personal%20cloud%20computing%3F,is%20designed%20for%20media%20streaming
  8. K. R. Choo, "Legal Issues in the Cloud," in IEEE Cloud Computing, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 94-96, May 2014, doi: 10.1109/MCC.2014.14. Types of cloud computing. Red Hat - We make open source technologies for the enterprise. (n.d.). Retrieved March 18, 2022, from https://www.redhat.com/en/topics/cloud-computing/public-cloud-vs-private-cloud-and-hybrid-cloud
  9. Innovative architects. MICROSOFT Gold Partner & Expert SharePoint Consulting Firm. Retrieved April 12, 2022, from https://www.innovativearchitects.com/KnowledgeCenter/cloud-computing/cloud-computing-risks.aspx