By Lipsa Dash, Monika , KIIT School of Law, KIIT University
Editor’s Note: Cloud computing is a growing trend whereby the organizations these days are switching to virtual work-space. It has come to be known as the third revolution after Personal Computers and Internet in the field of Information Technology. It offers enterprises an efficient, flexible, easy to set up and potentially cost effective model to ease their computing needs and to accomplish business objectives. However, there are certain issues involved in switching over to cloud computing, particularly since the legal environment has not been set up as per the requirements yet. There is the risk of breach of security and privacy, interoperability, instability, data portability and the challenges of change management involved. While the adiposity of these critiques cannot be discounted, it cannot at the same time be denied that cloud computing is here to stay. The world is undergoing a remarkable technological change and with the advancement of Internet along with the expansion of IT infrastructure at large level, cloud computing is bound to revolutionize the way in which information and communication technologies are stored and disseminated, and will create lasting implications on businesses around the world.
Technological Development is the central desire and a trend worldwide. ‘Cloud’ is a metaphor for the internet but different from virtualization. Person using the internet initially used to share files and use hosting services but later started searching any term on Google or using their web-based email services to send or receive emails; Facebook and many other social networking sites are using Cloud application. Cloud Computing is revolutionizing the way in which the world is computing data online. There are three main models namely: The Public Cloud, The Private Cloud & the Hybrid Cloud and three service models: Infrastructure-as-a-Service, Software-as-a-Service, and Platform-as-a-Service. The authors will be putting forward a detailed study with a developing country perspective like India and its advent of attracting additional foreign investment, the SME sector growth and transformation, the potential of the sector to contribute to overall economic growth, modernization of infrastructure and employment generation and bridging digital division and a comparative approach that benefits the developing world. It’s a new invention for outsourcing, sometimes a game charger although with some legal complications like Data Security & Privacy, Data Portability, Data breaches etc. Cloud computing in India is still not trusted. The Legislation of India and the courts have yet to act on new phenomenon of cloud computing, so it’s a space for reactions in the near future.
Technological Development is the central desire and a trend worldwide. In recent years, cloud computing has emerged as an important solution offering enterprises a potentially cost effective model to ease their computing needs and accomplish business objectives.[i] Thirty years ago, the PC completely changed the way people work. Today, we are witnessing a new revolution with the convergence of the cloud and the billions of mobile devices in use today.[ii] Several years ago, 10 Mbps shared ether net local area network commonly used, followed by switched ether net and 100Mbps fast ether net. Wireless LAN then introduced with speed up to 54Mbps. The fast prompted of high-speed system developed with new applications such as image and video data. Moreover, the cloud computing which application continues to increase and make work performing easily without software installation on the computer is introduced. Cloud computing has made a long journey since the year 1966 where Parkhil wrote out his ideas in book titled “The Challenge of the Computer Utility” whereby almost all the characteristics of today’s cloud computing. Therefore, the platform idea of cloud computing first began during the 1960’s by McCarthy; he proposed that in the future “computers may someday be organized as a public utility”. He believed with a new way of organizing information and data is only within arm’s reach. There has always been an increase demand for better technology. Companies are increasingly aware of the business value that cloud computing brings and are taking steps towards transition to the cloud.[iii]
Yahoo email, Gmail, or Hotmail are examples of cloud computing programs. However, even though this technology is convenient and cost saving to use, there are several drawbacks and certain restrictions.
In 1999, Salesforce.com is one of the first to invest in cloud computing where they introduced the concept of delivering enterprise applications through a simple website, then Amazon launched the Amazon web Service. Then in 2006, Google Docs, which has spread the word of cloud computing and became the leader of public awareness. It followed by collaboration of industries such as between Google, IBM and several universities. With the continuous improvement in computer technologies it will also provide improvement in cloud computing.
Cloud computing is basically the access of an organized server by using a computer or any device that could access the servers. Cloud computing encompasses any subscription-based or pay-per-use service that, in real time over the Internet, extends IT’s existing capabilities. Cloud computing is at an early stage, with a motley crew of providers large and small delivering a slew of cloud-based services, from full-blown applications to storage services to spam filtering. Cloud Computing is a completely new IT technology and it is known as the third revolution after PC and Internet in IT.[iv]
Cloud Computing is the improved version of task management. In other words, by collecting large quantities of information and resources stored in personal computers, mobile phones and other equipment, Cloud Computing is capable of integrating them and putting them on the public cloud for serving users.[v] Cloud Computing refers to both the applications delivered as services over the Internet and the hardware and systems software in the datacenters that provide those services. The services themselves have long been referred to as Software as a Service (SaaS). The datacenter hardware and software is what we will call a Cloud. When a Cloud is made available in a pay-as-you-go manner to the general public, we call it a Public Cloud; the service being sold is Utility Computing. We use the term Private Cloud to refer to internal datacenters of a business or other organization, not made available to the general public. Thus, Cloud Computing is the sum of SaaS and Utility Computing, but does not include Private Clouds. People can be users or providers of SaaS, or users or providers of Utility Computing. We focus on SaaS Providers (Cloud Users) and Cloud Providers, which have received less attention than SaaS Users.
From a hardware point of view, three aspects are new in Cloud Computing.[vi] Working in a cloud environment is the latest IT fashion, though has its advantages such as, flexibility, efficiency, cost reduction and environment friendliness, it raises questions about its security dynamics.[vii]Traditional servers and cloud servers are two different means of storing data. Traditional servers provides physical accessibility whereby you can restrict and control the direct and on premise connections, and the other is all about virtualization using the server and its components located somewhere else- and the only point of contact being the data screen in front of you. In cloud computing, this administrative access must now be conducted via the Internet, increasing exposure and risk.[viii] Cloud computing was initially rooted in distributed grid-based computing. It has become a significant technology trend and expect that cloud computing will reshape IT processes and the IT marketplace. With the cloud computing technology, clients use a variety of smart mobile devices to access programs, storage, and application-development platforms over the network and internet, through services offered by cloud computing providers.[ix]
MAIN MODELS OF THE CLOUD
The three defining characteristics of clouds: massive scalability, easy to allocate resources and a service management platform to describe key architectural elements of computing and storage clouds.[x]
- Public cloud
The cloud infrastructure is open to the public and controlled by an organization as cloud service provider, which is available on a commercial basis. It makes customer enables to extend and organize a service in the cloud with low cost compared to the cost required compared to other deployment options. However, it makes free public clouds leads lower secured than fee paying cloud models, because fee paying model more focus on security in all applications layer and data accessed.
- Private cloud
The cloud infrastructure deployed, operated and maintained by cloud service provider for an organization special purpose as a client. The security is more better than public cloud,\ since private cloud as special treatment and services to the client through private network, which is indicated more secure from unauthorized access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, perusal, inspection, recording or destruction of information.
- Hybrid cloud
Hybrid cloud consists of any clouds type, as feature as clouds have the ability through their interfaces to allow data and/or applications moved from one cloud to another. Hybrid Cloud provides more secure control of the data and applications and allows various parties to access information over the internet. It has an open architecture that allows interfaces with other management systems. Hybrid cloud describes combining a local device configuration, such as a plug computer with cloud services, describe configurations combining virtual and physical, collocated assets -for example, a mostly virtualized environment that requires physical servers, routers, or other hardware such as a network appliance acting as a firewall or spam filter.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) alone is simply hosted virtualization. It will be valuable to users with low utilization and high cost of labor for hardware support, but it doesn’t offer enterprises enough economy-of-scale benefits relative to their own data centers to spawn a real revolution. Platform as a Service (PaaS), which locks users into a specific operating system and middleware set, displaces more current cost but has a narrow target of opportunity. Led by Amazon, the cloud industry is creating an in-between model: platform services.[xi]
CLOUD HAS SOME CORE CHARACTERISTICS:
- It’s virtual: Imagine racks of servers, humming along in a data center. Together, these servers become a massive pool of resources. Divide this “pool” into multiple virtual servers, and you create a “cloud.”
- It can be secure: For the utmost security, create a private cloud on dedicated hardware. But always remember to put appropriate security measures in place, no matter which cloud you choose.
- It’s flexible and scalable: Since virtual servers aren’t physical, they are super flexible, giving you what you need at the moment. Spin up a server in minutes, and take it down just as easily.
- It can be affordable: You’ll get the greatest cost savings in the public cloud, where your virtual servers run on physical servers that you share with other customers.[xii]
- It’s open (or closed): In the open cloud, you can easily move your cloud around without being locked into one provider or a closed, proprietary technology.
- It can be secure and affordable: A hybrid cloud gives you the benefits of both public and private clouds. For example, you can put public-facing components in a public cloud, while storing customer-sensitive data in a private cloud.
CONTRIBUTION OF CLOUD COMPUTING TO GLOBAL ECONOMY
Cloud computing represents a convergence of two major trends in information technology – (a) IT efficiency, whereby the power of modern computers is utilized more efficiently through highly scalable hardware and software resources and (b) business agility, whereby IT can be used as a competitive tool through rapid deployment, parallel batch processing, use of compute-intensive business analytics and mobile interactive applications that respond in real time to user requirements.[xiv] Cloud computing can help the SME sector grow and transform.[xv] IBM, Parallels, Microsoft, VMware, and Salesforce.com are Global Players.[xvi]
The small and medium enterprises (SME) sector is the backbone of the Indian economy as it employs around 40 per cent of the Indian workforce. With the sector growing at a rate of 8 per cent per year, India has the largest number of SMEs in the world at 48 million, second only to China. Ironically, the contribution of this workforce is a huge mismatch of numbers as it contributes approximately only 17 per cent to the GDP. Cloud solutions help SMEs implement technology quicker so that they gain competitive advantage. About 58% of all on behalf of Microsoft companies surveyed expect to be competitive with cloud services.[xvii]
In 2008, IBM opened a cloud center in Bangalore for mid-market vendors, universities, government bodies, and microfinance and telecommunications companies. Then, in early 2012, it helped India-based Tulip Telecom construct a 900,000 square-foot data center—the largest in the country—which will provide cloud infrastructure services. Parallels has also been operating in India since late 2008.
In 2009, Microsoft started offering productivity apps on the cloud for approximately $2 per month, including email, collaboration, and conferencing services. Also in 2009, VMware opened a cloud center in Pune. Salesforce.com started operations in 2005, and in September 2011, it acquired a social customer-service SaaS startup, Assistly, for $50 million. Salesforce.com has many high-profile clients in India, including Bharti, eBay India, SIFY Technology, Polaris, and the National Research Development Corporation.[xviii]
However, the sector has the potential to contribute to overall economic growth, modernization of infrastructure and employment generation. The latest BCG research says that if more SMEs adopted the latest IT tools in India they could boost revenues by $56 billion and create more than 1.1 million jobs in the country. Cloud computing is a technology which has changed the way IT solutions are being delivered. According to Zinnov[xix], the cloud computing market in India is expected to reach $4.5 billion by 2015 and the SME sector is likely to drive growth. Here are some myths and facts associated with IT solutions.
PROS & CONS OF THE CLOUD:
Future of Cloud Computing Survey found that 75 percent of companies were using cloud services in 2013, up from 67 percent in 2012.[xx]
It’s simple, cost-effective: The myth is that IT investments require purchase of hardware, software, modern networks and personnel with necessary skill sets to operate. Actually, it is simple and cost-effective for SMEs to run IT solutions by having an account with a cloud computing service provider.
Costs cut down: Cloud computing solutions are considered expensive and beyond anyone’s comprehension. But, actually cloud computing cuts down the cost of investment in hardware and software as these services are provided by the service provider on pay per use basis or subscription basis, which is affordable by cash-strained SMEs. Cloud computing drastically brings down the operating cost and total cost of ownership by reducing the risk of operation.
Secure network: Data stored in the cloud is not considered to be secure, trustworthy and reliable. But, the cloud ensures a well-functioning, developed and secure network enabled by the service provider requiring high-speed Internet connectivity.
Maintained by service provider: Data maintenance and software upgrades are an expensive affair. Data is maintained by the service provider and the client need not worry about the change in version of software and installation charges of the software.
Custom Solutions: The need of SMEs is limited but they have to spend on entire software suite. In fact, there are custom cloud-based solutions for different verticals under SMEs.
Conversion: The myth is that huge volumes of data are present in the old systems and conversion is an issue. Data in the legacy systems can be easily incorporated into cloud solutions without any break in business activities.
Cloud computing helps in collaborative work among various team members in online mode. This enables SMEs get access to new markets with better branding and prompt delivery.[xxi]
We are in the midst of a revolution in computing. It goes under the name of cloud computing. In a nutshell, cloud computing is “a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or services provider interaction.[xxii] With cloud computing, the lawyer keeps original electronic files outside the lawyer’s office on a server controlled by another person. Examples include Gmail, Google Docs, Drop box, or iCloud. In both remote data backup and cloud computing, the primary concern is potential third-party access to confidential client information.
Cloud being Lawyers next choice in the changing trend and increasing number of cases in the current technology, a lawyer should be Competent and confident to deal with the risks. Lawyers need to educate themselves to ensure that the communication tools and methods they use are secure. They should be strong in the technicalities will protect the lawyer from ethical violations and reduce the risk of damaging a client’s case and alienating the client.[xxiii]
As regards the cons, cloud computing has crossed the threshold from a technology issue to a matter of political and cultural debate. It is at the center of the controversy over the National Security Agency’s collection of data in the name of counterterrorism. It has also launched conversations about the future of the workplace in the age of telecommuting. But while the cloud has permeated our lives, myths swirl around the concept.[xxiv] Business transactions being done with the help of computers are still at stake. The impeccable usage of computers, security and storage access, manipulation, and transmission of data is always of high importance and it must be safeguarded by technology that enforces particular information control policies.[xxv]
Some major issues can be –
- Security & privacy
- Infrastructure: Performance, transfer rates, IP address space, limited capability, fine-tuning hardware
- Data management
- Interoperability: Portability across platforms, lack of standards
- Legal issues
- Economic: Rent vs. buy, access to funding, cost of bandwidth
- Service management: Service usability, service discovery
- Software: Software engineering process, instability, design for the cloud, legacy applications
- Change management: Change management, previous investments, perceived loss of jobs
- Learning & education.[xxvi]
Data Security & Privacy: Vouk (2008) stated “today, almost any business or major activity uses or relies in some form, on IT and IT services.” Cloud computing is one of the IT services that is gaining popularity amongst stakeholder within business environment. According to the New York Times (2012), Facebook, a cloud computing software, is the “world’s largest social network”. Facebook also defined as “a data processor, archiving and analyzing shared of information, from our interests, our locations, to every article and link that we ‘like’”. However, the main problem of sharing information on the internet is the level of security deal with
The first common issue for cloud computing would be their security and privacy problem. As we all know, cloud computing is about storing their files with third party. For individuals, they might feel uneasy about sharing their files with another party especially the sensitive issues. Furthermore, as cloud computing allows the files to be accessed from any personal computer through internet connection, therefore viral infection and malware could occur.
The second drawback would be in terms of control. Since cloud service providers offer to save client’s files and documents, thus it is not reassuring to use since the data saved might be lost. As an example experienced by T-Mobile’s Sidekick smart phone services where in October 2009; the data of the clients have been lost and were not able to be retrieved.
Therefore, it is quite risky to use cloud computing as there would be loss of control over the saved data.
When people talk about security threats, they’re usually thinking about hacking, identity theft, malware and phishing schemes.
Despite the potential gains achieved from the cloud computing, the organizations are slow in accepting it due to security issues and challenges associated with it. Security is one of the major issues which hamper the growth of cloud. The idea of handing over important data to another company is worrisome; such that the consumers need to be vigilant in understanding the risks of data breaches in this new environment. This paper introduces a detailed analysis of the cloud computing security issues and challenges focusing on the cloud computing types and the service delivery types.[xxvii]
Businesses should have the leverage of migrating in and out of the cloud and switching providers whenever they want, and there should be no lock-in period. Cloud computing services should have the capability to integrate smoothly with the on-premise IT.[xxviii]
The importation of personal data from EU countries thus appears to be the driving force behind the Indian data protection debate. Protection of personal data in the European Union (and European Economic Area) is based on the EU Data Protection Directive. On 11 April 2011, the Indian Ministry of Communications and Technology published rules implementing certain provisions of the Information Technology (Amendment) Act 2008 (IT Amendment Act 2008) dealing with: (a) protection of sensitive personal data: security practices and procedures that must be followed by organisations dealing with sensitive personal data (Data Privacy Rules)[xxix]; (b) due diligence to be observed by intermediaries; and (c) guidelines for cybercafés.
As cloud computing is enabling more data-intensive applications at the extreme scale, the demand is increasing for effective data management systems. One main topic in this category is data storage and all the issues that come with it such as data federation (i.e. storage across different providers), data segmentation and recovery ,data resiliency, data fragmentation and duplication, and data backup. Other issues include data retrieva and processing, data provenance, data anonymization, and data placement (across different data centers).[xxx]
This category includes issues related to the cost-benefit aspect of the cloud from a financial point of view. For cloud providers, the cost of the hardware infrastructure For cloud providers, the cost of the hardware infrastructure and the administrative costs associated with it are key to under- standing the economic viability and sustainability of the business. Cloud providers also need to work on effective monetization strategies that would provide a reasonable return on their investments. This includes producing profitable pricing models, resource bundling options and licensing strategies. Moreover, the way billing and payments are currently handled by different cloud provider’s lacks clarity.[xxxi]
FUTURE OF CLOUD COMPUTING
- The research firm Gartner predicts that companies will spend $788 billion on public cloud services in the next four years. And the McKinsey consulting firm forecasts that cloud technology could have an economic impact of $1.7 trillion to $6.2 trillion a year by 2025.[xxxii]
- People are often worried about the security and reliability of cloud computing, surprisingly, compared to other network, cloud computing is more secured since most of the cloud service vendors utilize the highest security certifications.
- Social-media companies such as Twitter and Facebook; media companies such as Netflix; and search, Web and cloud giants such as Google are already moving toward the future of cloud apps by developing applications that push the boundaries of current software technology and practices.[xxxiii]
- Future applications will use cloud-hosted services offered by both cloud providers and third parties, and even authored by enterprises, and delivered through generic Web.
- It will gradually evolve from being cloud architecture to being the only architecture.
- It might just turn being the cheapest place to put the personal matters.
- Currently, if the company can afford it, then they can have access to the full Microsoft Suite, ERP applications, CRM applications, accounting software, and a host of other applications that will improve productivity within a company.[xxxiv]
- To take the city of Vancouver as an example, it has built a simulated version of the entire city by combining terrain files, building footprints, satellite photos and GIS data for parcels and streets into a 3D modeling programme. With this, they can demonstrate how shifts in population affect density and better understand the impact of new infrastructure projects in the planning stages.[xxxv]
Cloud computing has become a fad now. The most established players are IBM, Google, Microsoft, & AT&T. The Key technology providers are Cisco, Apache, & EMC. The innovators are Amazon, SalesForce.com, & Enomaly. The Enablers are Capgemini, Rightscale, & Vordel. As the civilization enters into the new millennium, the words of 19th century have suddenly taken a new meaning. The world is undergoing a remarkable technological change. The advancement of Internet along with the expansion of IT infrastructure at large level has revolutionized the way in which information and communication technologies are stored and disseminated, and is creating lasting implications on businesses around the world.[xxxvi]
Edited by Kanchi Kaushik
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[xix] A leading management consulting company.
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