WHAT IS A CLOUD AND CLOUD STORAGE?
Simply described, a cloud is a network of computers. It refers to an organization of PCs claimed by one individual or organization, where others or organizations can store their information. On your own machine, everything is put away on one actual stockpiling gadget — your hard drive. Cloud storage is a form of data storage, encompassing everything from files to apps, that is completely virtual. It refers to a virtual storage area that can span across many different physical storage devices.
When you use cloud storage, some of your files may be on a physical server in London while other files are on a physical server in California. So instead of keeping data physically on servers, data is hosted in an online environment. Using cloud storage can be compared to a hazy, unreachable object, much like a cloud itself, because the majority of users are unaware of where their physical files are.
WHY DO WE NEED CLOUD STORAGE?
Cloud storage is becoming a very popular means of storing and managing data for individuals and businesses alike, owing to factors such as cost-effective storage, flexibility and ease of use, data security and scalability. The market has witnessed a steady rise in the number of service providers foraying into the market, contributing to a multi-billion-dollar economy. Increasing number of companies are now setting aside a budget towards Cloud technology.
Security: Without a doubt, security is the main factor in users’ preference for cloud storage. The cloud offers you a safe and secure way to manage your data, unlike hard discs, which are more likely to become corrupted, destroyed, or worse, stolen, resulting in data loss. Cloud storage provides several backups across data centers, ensuring the security of your data so you can relax and concentrate on your business. Collaboration. This is a fantastic approach to boost individual and team productivity. Multiple people can simultaneously access, edit, and modify content for files stored in the cloud. Any authorized user, wherever they may be located, has easy access to all of your digital assets, which are all present in one area. It works.
Scalability: Scaling simply refers to a size change. It might go up or down. It entails adjusting to the escalating (or, conversely, dwindling) demands of any business requirements. If your company is now careless about the workload and data handling capacity, it is quite likely that as your company grows, you will eventually run out of hard drive space, to put it mildly. Scalability is the ability to handle increased workloads without changing or interrupting your current working methodology, and cloud storage makes this possible.
Cost Savings: This is perhaps the feather in the hat for Cloud’s USP. Traditionally, companies have been draining huge amounts of money in setting up and maintaining servers and hardware infrastructure. This in turn, also multiplies the manpower and maintenance costs. In a cloud model, your hardware needs and all associated inconveniences like purchase cost, maintenance and repair, are all taken care of by the vendor, allowing you and your staff to just focus on the core work. Cloud ultimately offers a bang for your bucks!
HOW DOES CLOUD STORAGE WORK?
A third-party cloud provider provides cloud storage, which is owned and operated by them and accessed over the Internet using a pay-as-you-go pricing model. The storage, privacy, and resilience of your data are managed by these cloud storage providers, making it available to business apps everywhere. Applications can use an Application Programming Interface (API) to access cloud storage or conventional storage protocols. Many providers offer complementary services to collect, store, protect, and analyze data at scale.
WHAT DOES THE STRUCTURE OF CLOUD STORAGE LOOK LIKE?
There is high demand for cloud storage in the market. Because cloud storage is suitable for the management of billions of files including metadata. Cloud storage services, therefore, use two alternatives to format the memory of their own servers:
· Block Storage
· Object Storage
· Block Storage: Block storage format for structured data
Block storage is a flexible and logically structured storage model in which all data is divided into data blocks of equal size, which in turn receive their own addresses. The addresses of the physical memory cells are abstracted, so the actual location of the storage units is irrelevant for file storage. The hard disk or server on which new data lands, how the individual blocks are to be arranged and how access to them works can be easily regulated by software. In the cloud, block storage is particularly suitable as a storage format for database applications and other programs that work with structured data.
· Object Storage: Object storage format for unstructured data
Object Storage is a storage system that stores files as objects, including the corresponding metadata. Each object receives a unique identification number that can be used by accessing applications to control it without the need for access control. It is not possible to modify saved objects — any changes will ensure that a new object is created that contains the customized version of the original file. This makes object storage the optimal cloud storage format for backup and archiving solutions. In addition, object-based management is well suited for storing multimedia files such as music, videos or movies that are read-only (for example, when using streaming services).
TYPES OF CLOUD STORAGE
· Public Cloud Storage
As the name suggests, public cloud storage supports customers that need to utilize computer resources including its hardware and software. Basically, using a public cloud storage is like being tenants living in a big apartment with other people (company), and having a landlord (the service provider). Similarly as during the instance of loft lease, the expense of public cloud is lower than private cloud.So, who uses the public cloud ? Public clouds are mostly common for non-critical tasks such as file sharing or development and testing of an application, therefore small-scale companies with no private information use it. Anonymous users with the authority can also have access to the public cloud. Keep in mind that the service provider fully controls the public cloud storage, its hardware, software, and infrastructure.
Some of the advantages of public cloud storage are:
o Cost efficiency
o Vast flexibility
o Expert monitoring
· Private cloud storage
When we say “Private”, we can conclude that this cloud model is the infrastructure that is used solely by a single organization. The infrastructures found in private cloud storage can be managed either by the organization itself or by a specific service provided. Since a private cloud storage service is designed for individual needs, naturally, they are more expensive than other clouds. However, they are also known to be better in resolving the organization’s biggest fear, security, and privacy.So, who uses a private cloud? Private clouds are used by large enterprises who store sensitive and private information such as government agencies, financial institutions, and healthcare organizations. These private cloud infrastructures can be located either on-premises or with a third party.
The numerous advantages offered by the private cloud are:
o Vast flexibility
o High efficiency
o Ability to customize
· Hybrid Cloud Storage
A hybrid cloud storage crosses the concepts of private and public cloud infrastructures together. How is this possible exactly? When a hybrid cloud storage is used, critical data is stored in the organization’s private cloud, and the remaining data is stored in the public cloud. This method allows you to customize the features and modify it to your needs by using the resources given to you. When you think about it, both time and money is used efficiently by this method.
So, who uses Hybrid cloud storage? Many organizations utilize this specific model when they need to quickly upgrade their IT infrastructure. A hybrid cloud serves as an advantage to many businesses because of its flexibility.
The advantages of Hybrid cloud storage are:
o High flexibility
o Cost effective
o Time effective
o Easily Controllable
· Community Cloud
Lastly, we have the community cloud. This deployment model is dedicated to multiple organizations in the same community, which means it is not public, open to anyone in need. However, it is also not private, since there is more than one company using it. Some examples of community cloud are Banks, universities in common areas, or police departments within the same state. So, who uses community cloud storage? A simple answer to this would be the members of the community.
Some of its advantages are:
o Highly flexible to the needs of the community
o Cost efficient
o High security
There are many clouds storage services available, and many offer a free plan for a limited amount of space. Depending on your needs, a free plan might be plenty for you. This is a list of just a few available cloud storage services.
CLOUD STORAGE SERVICES
Dropbox.com is one of the most popular cloud storage services available. It was started in 2007 by a man that kept forgetting to carry his flash drive around. Dropbox uses encryption to help keep your data secure and everything you upload is automatically private. Dropbox offers different plans for individuals and businesses, but it starts off by giving each individual 2 gigabytes of free storage.
· Google Drive
Google Drive allows users to store a variety of files. It offers clients the chance to import records to specific email addresses, publicly, or anybody that has the connection to the document. It provides 15 gigabytes of storage for free and if you have a Gmail address, you already have access to Google Drive. Google Drive likewise permits clients to team up and make changes to documents simultaneously. This can be helpful for teams and groups.
· Apple iCloud
iCloud was launched by Apple in 2011. It allows users to always have access to the latest information from their Apple devices (iPhone, iPad, Mac, etc.). iCloud is particularly useful for sharing photos, calendars, etc. with other users. You do not have to have an Apple device to have an iCloud account, but you can only access your information when using an Apple device or a PC to which you’ve downloaded the iCloud software. However, you can get web-only access to your account that allows you to create new documents — use ‘Pages’ to create letters, flyers, and more; use ‘Numbers’ to create spreadsheets, and use ‘Keynote’ to create presentations. You have 1 gigabyte of free storage for any documents you create in iCloud.
One Drive is Microsoft’s distributed storage administration. It offers 7 gigabytes of free storage for new users and users can purchase additional storage space. It has Office Web Apps support, which means that users can create, edit and share Microsoft Office documents directly within a web browser. Amazon Cloud Drive Amazon.com offers a cloud storage service that gives users 5 gigabytes of free storage. If you have an Amazon.com account, you can log into the cloud storage service using your existing username and password.
CLOUD STORAGE SECURITY BEST PRACTICES
Cloud storage is changing into progressively standard as businesses move far away from ancient on-premises storage solutions. However, with the convenience of cloud storage comes the danger of knowledge breaches and different security threats. To confirm the protection of your knowledge, it’s necessary to follow best practices for cloud storage security. By following these best practices, you’ll be able to make sure that your information is secure and guarded from potential threats.
1. Encrypt Your Data
Encryption is the method involved with changing information into a structure that can’t be perused by any individual who doesn’t have a way to unscramble it. This implies that regardless of whether somebody was to get to your distributed storage, they wouldn’t have the option to figure out the information without the encryption key. There are multiple ways of encoding your information while utilizing distributed storage. You can utilize client-side encryption, which encodes the information before it’s shipped off the cloud, or server-side encryption, which scrambles information after it has been transferred to the cloud. Whichever technique you pick, ensure you’re doing whatever it may take to guarantee your information is secure.
2. Set Up a VPN to Access Cloud Storage
A VPN (Virtual Confidential Organization) is a safe association between at least two gadgets that scrambles all information sent and received. This implies that any information you ship off the distributed storage supplier is encoded, making it a lot harder for programmers to catch and take your information. Using a VPN likewise safeguards against man-in-the-center assaults, which are the point at which an aggressor blocks correspondences between two gatherings to get sufficiently close to delicate data. By utilizing a VPN, you can guarantee that the main approved clients approach your distributed storage account.
3. Choose a Reputable Provider
At the point when you pick a distributed storage supplier, you’re entrusting them with your information. You need to ensure that they have the important safety efforts set up to safeguard your information from unapproved access and vindictive assaults. A trustworthy supplier will have serious areas of strength to have conventions, vigorous confirmation frameworks, and other security highlights intended to guard your information.
4. Monitor for Unauthorized Access Attempts
Unapproved access endeavors can be an indication of malignant action, for example, an aggressor attempting to get to your distributed storage account. By checking unapproved access endeavors, you can recognize and answer any dubious action quickly. To screen unapproved access endeavors, use devices like CloudTrail or AWS Config to follow client exercises in your cloud climate. You ought to likewise set up cautions, so you are advised when there is dubious action recognized. Moreover, make a point to routinely survey the logs from these devices to guarantee that nobody has acquired unapproved admittance to your distributed storage account.
5. Conduct Regular Backups
Backups are fundamental for recuperating information in case of a fiasco, for example, a digital assault or framework disappointment. By consistently backing up your distributed storage, you can guarantee that your significant records as a whole and reports stay safe and secure.It’s likewise critical to store reinforcements offsite, so they’re not powerless against similar dangers as your essential distributed storage. Along these lines, assuming something happens to your essential stockpiling, you’ll in any case approach your supported data. Finally, try to test your reinforcements occasionally to guarantee they’re working appropriately. Like that, you will not be surprised when you really want them most advantages of Cloud Storage
· The advantages of Cloud Storage include:
o File Accessibility — The files can be accessed at any time from any place so long as you have Internet access.
o Offsite Backup — Cloud Storage provides organizations with offsite (remote) backups of data which in turn reduces costs.
o Effective Use of Bandwidth — Cloud storage uses the bandwidth effectively i.e. instead of sending files to recipients, a web link can be sent through email.
o Security of Data — Helps in protecting the data against ransomware or malware as it is secured and needs proper authentication to access the stored data.
· Disadvantages of Cloud Storage:
o Dependency on Internet Speed — If the Internet connection is slow or unstable, we might have problems accessing or sharing the files.
o Dependency on a Third Party — A third-party service provider (company) is responsible for the data stored and hence it becomes an important prerequisite in selecting a vendor and examining the security standards prior to investing.
o High Cost for Huge Data — Organizations that require a large amount of storage may also find costs increase significantly even after the first few gigabytes of data are stored.
o No/ Minimal Control over Data Storage Framework — Since the cloud storage framework is entirely managed and monitored by the service provider, the customer has minimal control over it.
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