Into the new world of cloud: advantages & challenges

Sanjay Gupta, Vice President & Country Manager - India, NXP SemiconductorsAs we enter the fourth industrial revolution, a revolution that is digital, we are set to see every industry undergoing a digital transformation. This revolution will not only bring the physical world and the “virtual” world into one but also force every company, every industry and eventually every country to digitally remaster. And at the heart of this revolution is Cloud Computing, which is powering technological advances that enable this wave of industrial revolution, much like the engine was at the heart of a former industrial revolution.

Cloud Computing represents one of most important advances in computing in history. While some of the fundamentals have been here for a while, recent advances in technologies have made Cloud Computing morepervasive, more acceptable, and most importantly more innovative to address the challenges that Information Technology professionals and business leaders face today, primarily with regards to Big Data.

And as the cloud continues to grow, there is a noticeable explosion of big data across the web. Social media is a completely different world, where both marketers and common users generate heaps of data every day. organizations and institutions are also generating large amounts of data on a daily basis, which can eventually become difficult to manage. According to a study, we have generated nearly 2.3 Trillion Gigabytes of data every day in the last five years and this figure is expected to reach 43 Trillion Gigabytes by 2020. In India, most companies already have at least 100,000 Gigabytes of stored data.

These high volumes of data present a critical challenge: How to manage and secure this data rather than just stacking it?

It seems like cloud computing and big data are an ideal combination for this. Together, they provide a
solution which is both scalable and accommodating for big data and business analytics. The advantages of cloud are hard to overestimate, considering that many of the most innovative organizations, such as Uber and AirBnB are using cloud to increase the ease of sharing information and coordinating with far flung teams. With that in the hindsight, let us look at these advantages in detail:

"It is necessary to understand that we are entering an age where cloud will soon be more of a necessity than a luxury"

With big data coming into picture, the traditional infrastructure of storing and managing data is now proving to be slower and harder to manage. Needless to say that these traditional systems were reactionary and they were providing insights from out of-date data, making big data a big effort. Cloud computing, on the other hand is enabling organizations to have thousands of virtual servers working seamlessly in only a matter of minutes. This means no more data warehouses and no more sweating data collection and analysis.

With cloud computing, the resources required to manage Big Data are easily available without costing big bucks. Before the cloud, companies used to invest huge sums of money in setting up IT departments and then paid more money to keep that hardware updated. Now companies can host their Big Data on off-site servers or pay only for storage space and power they use every hour.

While traditional solutions would require the addition of more physical servers to the cluster in order to increase processing power and storage space, the virtual nature of the cloud allows for seemingly unlimited resources on demand. With the cloud, enterprises can scale up or down to the desired level of processing power and storage space easily and quickly.

However, no matter how impressive it sounds, the cloud only amplifies the existing concern around data privacy and security. Today as technology advances, attackers are becoming relentless and innovating new ways to find entry points into a system. Ransomware, Denial of Service attacks, Phishing attacks and Cloud Abuse also pose serious threats to big data on the cloud. That is why it is critical to implement a solid governance plan into the cloud solution.

Additionally, elasticity of the cloud poses another crucial challenge. The cloud should have the ability to grow as the load increases and shrink as the load decreases. This is essential to make searching, sharing, storage, transfer, analysis, and visualization of data as smooth as possible.

At this stage, it is necessary to understand that we are entering an age where cloud will soon be more of a necessity than a luxury. And it is quintessential organizations for organizations to use this technology and build up competitive advantages as we enter a new world of the cloud.