Many of the most disruptive tech developments, such as artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), and remote and hybrid working platforms, have been fueled by the continuous broad use of cloud computing.
According to a 2022 report by Statista, a large majority of businesses now use multiple public cloud providers, with 90% of large enterprises and 60% of small businesses currently implementing a multi-cloud strategy. This trend will most likely continue, with projections of 94% of large companies and 79% of small businesses adopting a multi-cloud approach in 2023.
It's easy to understand why this expansion is underway. Cloud computing totally eliminates the need to invest in the costly infrastructure necessary for complex and heavy desktop applications, hence the rise of cloud-based solutions for things like human resource software, project management platforms and unified communications providers.
Cloud services run on their own servers and data centers, and providers often offer them on a subscription basis. This feature allows businesses to skip the trouble of hiring or training a highly specialized team and still take advantage of cloud technologies.
However, having all the perks of this technology in mind, it doesn't hurt to reflect on the potential threats that its unchecked expansion may have. Let's take a deep look into the social risks, and potential dangers cloud computing may have if its growth continues at an alarmingly rapid pace.
What is Runaway Cloud Computing?
Runaway cloud computing refers to the rapid and unchecked growth of cloud computing infrastructure and services. It is characterized by the overuse or overreliance on cloud-based resources, which can lead to a plethora of security-related issues and social risks.
Technological expansion is generally a good thing for businesses, and the growth of the cloud industry is a natural consequence of growing business requirements. In this sense, cloud technologies provide a slew of benefits by helping companies effortlessly advance their IT capacity.
However, even if every component of the cloud-based system runs without a hitch, business demands change quickly. Internal IT personnel, typically overburdened and underpaid, can often only keep up in the most critical areas that require immediate repair or constant monitoring, leaving plenty of space for error elsewhere.
Errors of too much cloud computing include underutilized virtual space, unrestrained storage development, and endless levels of systems that burden enterprises financially and expose them to security problems. And, even though the cloud was designed to reduce waste, its rapid expansion can lead to risks and difficulties owing to a lack of proper control and planning.
The Problems With Runaway Cloud Computing and Some Cloud Computing Companies
What kind of problems can we see with cloud computing? Below, we have listed several of the most salient issues connected to runaway cloud computing.
The use of data in cloud computing raises several ethical concerns, particularly concerning AI and machine learning. For instance, when businesses collect and store large amounts of personal consumer data in centralized cloud repositories, questions arise about how this data is used and who is (or should be) responsible for making decisions about its use.
Therefore, the desire to provide personalized services can quickly lead to ethical and privacy concerns and regulatory issues. In addition to these concerns, decisions made by machine learning models or other similar technologies may reflect (or even enhance) the biases of the people who created the systems, which can have negative consequences for affected consumers.
Changes to the job landscape
Uncontrolled expansion of cloud computing technology has the potential to lead to job losses in certain industries. More businesses and organizations moving their operations to the cloud may lead to a decrease in demand for certain types of IT professionals, such as data center managers and network administrators.
Overall, the impact of cloud computing on job losses is complex and may vary depending on the specific industry or field. While the shift to cloud computing is also creating new professions and job opportunities, particularly in the areas of cloud architecture, security, and data analytics, it is essential to consider how quickly the job landscape changes for certain types of IT experts.
Cloud computing jobs are a new opportunity for programmers, engineers, and developers. Numerous cloud computing companies are looking for experts and specialists to help them optimize their safety protocols, speed, and all processes in general.
Among other good aspects this development is bringing to the market, we must also consider the cloud computing salary. Cloud computing salaries are quickly becoming some of the best in the tech sector. A cloud container specialist can make up to $150k annually, while support engineers can typically top that amount.
As companies move their assets and operations to the cloud, they may lose some control over those assets and operations as the responsibility shifts to the cloud service provider. The specific responsibility that redirects to the service provider will depend on the cloud service model used, which can change how companies approach security monitoring and logging.
Therefore, without access to the same level of network-based monitoring and logging, as on-premises IT, businesses may need to find new ways to monitor and analyze information about applications, services, data, and users.
Another risk associated with reduced visibility and control is the potential for data deletion threats. These threats can occur when end users are unable to clearly see where their data is physically stored in the cloud and have limited ability to ensure the secure deletion of their data.
Additionally, the deletion procedures may vary among different providers, making it difficult for companies to verify that their data was securely deleted or disposed of and that there are no remnants of the data available for attackers to access. This risk increases as companies use more cloud services from several different providers at the same time.
Difficulty switching providers
The decision to switch from one cloud storage or hosting provider to another can be difficult and expensive.
A company may find that it has to spend more time and resources than expected to move its assets and operations due to non-standard data formats or files, non-standard APIs, and reliance on one provider's proprietary tools and unique APIs. Also, if a hosting service goes out of business, there is potential for significant data loss or a lack of timely transfer options.
This issue is more prevalent in service models where the cloud service provider takes on more responsibility, as using more features and tools increases the exposure to the provider's unique settings. Unique settings require profound changes when moving to a different cloud service.
IT staff overload
The migration to the cloud can add complexity to a company's IT operations. This is because in-house IT staff must have the necessary skills and capacity to manage, integrate, and maintain the migration of specific assets and data to the cloud. They must also find time to keep up with their current responsibilities for on-premises issues.
This added complexity can also make key management and encryption services more challenging. The available services, techniques, and tools for logging and monitoring cloud services vary among cloud service providers, further increasing complexity.
Accidental data loss
Aside from malicious attacks, data stored in the cloud can be lost due to various reasons, such as accidental deletion by the service provider, physical disasters, or loss of encryption keys. The responsibility of avoiding data loss does not fall solely on the provider; however, companies should consider data recovery options and prepare for the possibility of their provider going out of business.
Nevertheless, recovering data from a provider may be easier than recovering on-premises data, as service level agreements often designate availability and uptime percentages. These percentages should be taken into consideration when selecting a service provider.
The Bad and the Good: Benefits of Cloud Computing
Cloud computing isn't all bad. Cloud Computing has changed the game. It has revolutionized the way businesses and individuals access and store information. It provides a number of benefits to its users, allowing them to save costs and improve efficiency. The main advantages of cloud computing include scalability, cost savings, agility, security, and reliability.
Scalability is a massive benefit of cloud computing. This means that the user can increase or decrease their cloud resources as needed, based on their business demands. This allows businesses to respond quickly to changes in the market and increase their capacity without investing in hardware and software. This also helps companies to save on storage costs as they only pay for what they use.
Cost savings are another great benefit of cloud computing. By using the cloud, businesses can reduce the cost of hardware and software as they no longer have to invest in expensive equipment. Cloud computing users don't have to pay for maintenance, as the cloud computing company or provider takes care of everything. This allows businesses to save money and invest it in other areas of their operations.
Agility is another benefit of cloud computing. As businesses can quickly scale up and down their cloud usage, they can respond rapidly to changes in the market and customer demands. This allows companies to be more flexible and competitive in their respective markets.
Security is another significant benefit of cloud computing. Businesses can use a well-protected cloud to ensure that their data is safe and secure. Cloud providers use a variety of security measures, such as end-to-end encryption and two-factor authentication, to protect data from unauthorized access. This ensures that businesses can store their data in the cloud without worrying about security breaches.
Finally, reliability is also a key benefit of cloud computing. Cloud providers are able to provide reliable services as they use multiple data centers located in different parts of the world. This creates redundancy and ensures that businesses can access their data anytime, anywhere.
Should We Fear Cloud Computing?
Although the rapid expansion of cloud computing is quite telling of its many advantages, it is still important to consider the potential risks and dangers that may arise from runaway cloud computing.
As more companies switch to cloud-based models, the only way to fully reap the benefits of this sort of technology is to ensure that the accompanying risks and issues are taken into account and ultimately resolved. In addition to the benefits of privacy and decentralization, Runaway Cloud Computing can also have a positive impact on new technologies such as Virtual Reality (VR), providing a more immersive and seamless experience.
All things considered, the dangers that this new IT revolution is bringing are only new challenges the industry has opened for all of us to swim through.
Do research before settling on a cloud computing company or cloud storage provider. Be sure to choose a secure and independently-verified cloud, like Internxt, to avoid any of the abovementioned dangers. The cloud is a double-edged sword, and it's up to us to choose how we wield it.