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Perspectives on New Cloud Platform Risks in 2021

By Ali Daneshmand

 

Since the violence on Washington DC on January 6, 2021, Social Media Platforms have been under extreme public scrutiny causing theories, conspiracy theories, information, disinformation, and a lightly structured set of controls on content accuracy. The ensuing debates caused Social Media platforms to change their Service Agreements in an attempt to mitigate their risk. A secondary consequence of this risk mitigation is being inherited to the public cloud platforms supporting these platforms.  This article addresses yet another “Too Big To Fail” system, and a possible new market that is ensuing.  This article will cover: (1) basic cloud definitions and services that are standard across the main large cloud services (i.e., Azure, AWS, Google); (2) a few aspects of this phenomena and how this risk can be mitigated moving forward.  We will cover the high-level history of Cloud Services in general, showing that the “Too Big To Fail”; (3) a basic comparison of On-Premise infrastructure, and Cloud Infrastructure, hybrid cloud/on-prem infrastructure; and (4) a subjective thoughts on building on-premise cloud services.

 

To be clear, this article is not political.  It is a technology article as it is affected by recent public events.  Let’s first state some obvious truths.  Social Media and the supporting technology are a reflection of the open market.  They are mirrors of societal and business behaviors, patterns and demands.  Social Media Platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, TikTok, WhatsApp, Instagram, etc and the large cloud services companies like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure Services, and Google Cloud Services are owned and run by private (aka non-government owned) entities offering public cloud services.  So, while we as the end users of these Cloud Services like to believe that the features are robust and never-ending with a supported Service Agreement, the reality is that features, and Service Agreements are changeable at the discretion of the Service Provider.  A perfect example of this is Amazon discontinuing its Parlor Social Media Platform.  Regardless of the political motives, the reliability of public cloud services is now in question.

There are three main service models of cloud computing that services common business needs – Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS). There are clear differences between the three and what they can offer a business in terms of storage and resource pooling, but they can also interact with each other to form one comprehensive model of cloud computing.  Imagine any of these services changing.  How will this change your Business Model and your service agreement to your clients.

IaaS (Infrastructure as Service) – This is the most common service model of cloud computing as it offers the fundamental infrastructure of virtual servers, network, operating systems and data storage drives. It allows for the flexibility, reliability and scalability that many businesses seek with the cloud and removes the need for hardware in the office. This makes it ideal for small and medium sized organizations looking for a cost-effective IT solution to support business growth. IaaS is a fully outsourced pay-for-use service and is available as a public, private or hybrid infrastructure.

PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) – This is where cloud computing providers deploy the infrastructure and software framework, but businesses can develop and run their own applications. Web applications can be created quickly and easily via PaaS, and the service is flexible and robust enough to support them. PaaS solutions are scalable and ideal for business environments where multiple developers are working on a single project. It is also handy for situations where an existing data source (such as CRM tool) needs to be leveraged.

SaaS (Software as a Service) – This cloud computing solution involves the deployment of software over the internet to various businesses who pay via subscription or a pay-per-use model. It is a valuable tool for CRM and for applications that need a lot of web or mobile access – such as mobile sales management software. SaaS is managed from a central location so businesses don’t have to worry about maintaining it themselves and is ideal for short-term projects.

There are three main types of cloud environment, also known as cloud deployment models. Businesses can choose to run applications on public, private or hybrid clouds – depending on their specific requirements.

1.     Public Cloud – A public cloud environment is owned by an outsourced cloud provider and is accessible to many businesses through the internet on a pay-per-use model. This deployment model provides services and infrastructure to businesses who want to save money on IT operational costs, but it’s the cloud provider who is responsible for the creation and maintenance of the resources. Public clouds are ideal for small and medium sized businesses with a tight budget requiring a quick and easy platform in which to deploy IT resources.

Pros of a public cloud

·       Easy scalability

·       No geographical restrictions

·       Cost effective

·       Highly reliable

·       Easy to manage

Cons of a public cloud

·       Not considered the safest option for sensitive data

 

 

2.     Private Cloud – This cloud deployment model is a bespoke infrastructure owned by a single business. It offers a more controlled environment in which access to IT resources is more centralized within the business. This model can be externally hosted or can be managed in-house. Although private cloud hosting can be expensive, for larger businesses it can offer a higher level of security and more autonomy to customize the storage, networking and compute components to suit their IT requirements.

Pros of a private cloud

·       Improved level of security

·       Greater control over the server

·       Customizable

Cons of a private cloud

·       Harder to access data from remote locations

·       Requires IT expertise

3.     Hybrid Cloud – For businesses seeking the benefits of both private and public cloud deployment models, a hybrid cloud environment is a good option. By combining the two models, a hybrid cloud model provides a more tailored IT solution that meets specific business requirements.

Pros of a hybrid cloud

·       Highly flexible and scalable

·       Cost effective

·       Enhanced security

Cons of a hybrid cloud

·       Communication in network level may be conflicted as it’s used in both private and public clouds.

 

 

 

In this post Insurrection, post Centralized Services, Agile Business Model era in Business Practices, how will change in Service Licenses Agreements in AWS, Google Cloud, or Azure change your business model?  Are you prepared for it? How much is the Public Cloud Option worth your business?  Maybe you’re Netflix, Hulu, or Youtube TV and a Public option is essential for your business model. Does this mean however that Netflix must use AWS as it’s cloud service?  Netflix, amongst other large public facing service companies certainly have the knowledge power and resources to not rely solely on the “Too Big To Fail” cloud services. Is the reliability and security of the Public Cloud Service is in question.  Is that worth the dollar savings?  Quite certainly, it is the evaluation of this author that there must be some consideration given to a Private and Hybrid Cloud Services for the purposes of Information Security / Integrity, and some control over the Enterprise’s Cloud Services.

Bottom line is existing mega cloud services like Azure, AWS, and Google Cloud are well on their way to becoming the cloud version of “Too Big To Fail” when it doesn’t have to be that large.  Any business depending on cloud does not have to depend on “Too Big To Fail”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References:

 

 “What Are The Types Of Cloud Computing?” –  https://www.leadingedgetech.co.uk/it-services/it-consultancy-services/cloud-computing/what-are-the-types-of-cloud-computing/

 

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