Cloud Computing: Disadvantages - The other side of the coin!

Cloud Computing: Disadvantages - The other side of the coin!

Cloud Computing: Disadvantages - The other side of the coin!

In the previous article on the subject, called «XaaS: Cloud Computing - Everything as a Service«, In which the benefits, benefits, advantages and other current and future characteristics of Cloud Computing were highlighted, it was evidenced that regardless of anything this seems to be the way forward for the current technological business and commercial world.

However, they were not touched or deepened negative or disadvantageous aspects of said technology for the common citizen, society in its proper dimension and even less the approach to it from the perspective of the philosophy of Free Software and GNU / Linux. So in this post we will address these aspects to make a fair balance of information about said technology.

Cloud Computing: Introduction

Users and clients of applications and services based on cloud computing basically need to be guaranteed availability and access to them, and that their providers apply the appropriate and necessary security and privacy practices and technologies to mitigate the risks and failures that such technology faces as it is based entirely on the cloud.

They need this guarantee to be able to base their business decisions on solid, well-founded and correct information and operating conditions. This means that the main players of this technology, that is, the providers, are constantly bombarded with requests for audits.

But in addition to the possible failures, risks or attacks that such technology may face, it is also true that it or its operating philosophy can be seen totally against what many may appreciate or visualize as their individual or collective independence or freedom.

Cloud Computing: Disadvantages


Security risks

The security risks of cloud computing are efficiently mitigated with specific security benefits offered by different vendors. Cloud computing, itself, has considerable potential to improve security and resistance to failures or attacks. However, among the main risks in terms of security that can occur in cloud computing, are:

Loss of governance

Cloud infrastructures may be affected when a client or user gives up control of certain technological elements that can influence the security of the same provider in the cloud. Or, on the contrary, when the provision of these services by the cloud provider does not cover security aspects, which can create "loopholes" in terms of security defenses.

Industrial Partners

A customer or user may be closely linked to a cloud provider, and prevented from going back, that is, to an internal (local) IT Environment, if the agreements reached do not guarantee that the tools, procedures, standardized data formats or service interfaces guarantee the portability of the service, applications and data. By default, the migration of the client from one provider to another or the migration of data and services or the internal, a process that is too complex and almost impossible.

Insulation fault

Failures or attacks on the mechanisms that separate storage, memory, routing, or the impersonation of a provider (Guest Hopping Attack) is not usually very frequent due to its level of complexity, but the difficulty does not make them impossible to carry out.

Compliance risks

Many times because of how expensive or modern this type of technology can be, providers of the same tend to try to minimize expenses in regulatory or regulatory requirements of the sector, which in the long run can threaten processes of migration to the cloud or operational already online. Other cases may be that the use of the infrastructure used in the cloud cannot reach certain levels of compliance promised to users and customers.

Management interface compromise

The client management interfaces of a cloud provider are usually accessible through the Internet, what can pose a higher security risk, especially when they are combined with remote access technologies or policies, in addition to the typical vulnerabilities of used web browsers.

Privacy and Data Protection

A veces for a user or customer of a cloud computing provider to effectively verify that the provider applies or executes the correct or most successful data management practices, it is somewhat difficult, so it is difficult for you to be sure that the data is managed in accordance with the law. And in this regard, they often only have to settle for simple reports on their data management practices or certification summaries on their activities in the areas of data processing and security, and on the data controls they undergo.

Incomplete or insecure data deletion

Another case similar to the previous one (Data Protection), is when a user or customer of a cloud computing provider does not have the real possibility of effectively verifying that the same definitively eliminates any requested data, since sometimes the standard processes themselves do not definitively eliminate the data. Therefore, a total or definitive deletion of any data is impossible or undesirable, from the perspective of the client and the provider, for various reasons.

Malicious member

Damage caused by malicious members is rare, but often when it occurs, it is severely damaging.

Cloud Computing: Freedom

Risks regarding freedom

To make this point it is good to quote the following quote from Richard Stallman:

On the Internet, proprietary software is not the only way to lose your freedom. The software replacement service (SaaSS), that is to say, "be vice "Software Substitute" is another way of alienating power over your computer.

Free Software versus Private Software

As we have seen on other occasions, Since the World of Software Development began, at practically the same time Free and Open Source Software (SL / CA) have coexisted with Private and Closed Source Software (SP / CC). The latter always at the forefront in terms of what is usually interpreted as a threat to our control over our computers and private and personal information.

This threat often manifests itself through the introduction of malicious features or unwanted functionalitiessuch as spyware, back doors and digital restriction management (DRM). Which clearly often exposes our privacy and security, and reduces our independence and freedom.

Therefore, the development and use of SL / CA has always been a viable solution to counter SP / CC. Due to its four (4) essential freedoms, already well known to all. Freedoms that guarantee that we, the users, take control of what is done with our computers and on the Internet.

Free Software versus Cloud Computing

However, the emergence of the new 'Cloud Computing' model offers a very tempting new way that all (Users, clients, citizens and organizations, public and private), give up control of our activities, for the sake of our (supposed) freedom and even comfort and development.

In summary, at this point the following can be said about Similar unwanted effects of Cloud Computing (or Cloud Services / SaaS) and Proprietary Software:

they lead to similar harmful results, but the mechanisms are different. With proprietary software the mechanism is that you own and use a copy that is difficult and / or illegal to modify. With SaaS the mechanism is that you do not have the copy with which you are performing your own computing task.

And therefore, by not being able to modify we cannot know what it really does with our data and our personal information.

As this particular point is very broad, we invite you to read the full article by Richard Stallman thereon.

Cloud Computing: Conclusion


All the risks exposed above do not necessarily reflect a specific order of criticalityRather, they simply set out clearly the current landscape of risks that can occur within the cloud computing arena.

The risks of using cloud computing must be compared with the risks derived from maintaining traditional solutions, such as internal or local Infrastructure models. And although at a business, industrial or commercial level the advantages are usually many, the occurrence of a simple risk of the aforementioned can cause the failure of an entire business, or serious damage to its reputation, with or without legal consequences.

And although not in the last stay, a considerable loss in terms of independence and freedom, especially when it is applied to minor users such as individuals, communities, movements or societies.

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  1.   Beatriz Aurora Pinzon said

    Excellent article