Cloud Computing Triple Whammy: Privacy, Security & Interoperability (PSI) & The Future….
Since cloud computing took off as a commercial service in 2006 with Amazon’s launch of the Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), the industry has grown by leaps and bounds. Cloud Computing “-as-a-Service” model is on target to hit $623 Billion by 2023. Yet, it still remains vulnerable to the triple whammy of privacy breaches, security lapses & interoperability issues contributing trillions in annual losses globally. Is there a cure?
In 1961 John MacCharty first suggested that computing can be sold like a utility, just like water or electricity. But, cloud computing as a commercial service did not really take off until Amazon launched the Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) in 2006.
In 2019, 90% of companies used one or the other cloud computing service, and 94% of the global workload in 2021 will be handled by data centers. Cloud Computing’s “-as-a-Service” model is projected to hit $623 Billion by 2023. Cloud
Computing is such a hot tech category that Forbes runs a special Cloud 100 series on top 100 cloud computing companies every year since 2016.
The Cloud Computing Continuum
NIST defines Cloud Computing as a model for enabling ubiquitous, 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 service provider interaction. This cloud model is composed of five essential characteristics, three service models, and four deployment models.
The 2011 NIST definition, however, needs a revision as the three service models originally conceived have considerable evolved from Saas (software as a service), Paas (platform as a service) & Iaas (Infrastructure as a service) to conceivably Everything as a service (Xaas).
Moreover, cloud computing isn’t anymore considered as a single, self-contained product — it’s a computing continuum of complex portfolio of services that dynamically evolve over time just like the space time continuum.
Benefits of “-as-a-S” Cloud Model
From Amazon’s EC2 data storage services to almost everything on the cloud X-as-a-Service, the cloud computing market has expanded at a rapid pace. The exponential growth is obviously due to a range of advantages cloud computing provides both for organizations and end-users. Some of those benefits are:
- Scalability (outsourcing provides access to unlimited computing capacities, storage space, RAM, etc): A company essentially can quickly and seamlessly scale its processes up and down depending on requirements without worrying about additional deployments or downtimes)
- Cost- and time-effectiveness (no capital expense or delays in setting software infrastructure): Companies don’t have to purchase and deploy personal equipment, saving much time and money. A pay-as-you-go model is quite beneficial. Thus “as-a-service” model cuts costs and simplifies IT deployments.
- Flexibility: Cloud computing helps in distributing workloads across the company and can be remotely accessed by end-users, irrespective of their location. Companies could even hire a global and, perhaps, cheaper workforce when they use cloud computing.
- Elasticity: In cloud computing, elasticity is defined as “the degree to which a system is able to adapt to workload changes by provisioning and de-provisioning resources in an autonomic manner, such that at each point in time the available resources match the current demand as closely as possible”
- Feeds And Facilitates Innovation: Cloud computing has given businesses an edge that drives innovative solutions that can be implemented speedily and step up motivation within the company.
- Focus on core competencies (no need to set up apps and programs or conduct training for employees): Companies can concentrate on their direct duties and achieve better performance.
- The high quality of services (professional support and maintenance of IT infrastructure and systems): Cloud computing vendors provide the latest updates, guaranteeing the quality of services.
- Provides Great Efficiency at a Lower Price: Cloud computing is very cost-effective as companies need not invest in expensive, heavy infrastructure, making it inexpensive and faster.
- Minimizes Maintenance Hassles: Shifting to cloud computing takes away the huge cost associated with the maintenance and upgrade of software, renewal of licenses, maintenance of infrastructure as well as the employment of technically skilled staff for software upkeep. Cloud computing is based on a ‘pay-as-you-go’ expense model.
- Increased Resource Sharing: The resource acquisition and release can be dynamically and cleverly managed.
- Better Collaboration: Employees can share files and documents on the cloud. This increases collaboration and reduces unnecessary duplications or generation of multiple versions of documents.
- Enables Better Backup: Recovery from disasters such as hardware failures are much faster and have the least impact on the business, due to cloud-based solutions.
- Better customer experience: The above-mentioned pros lead to customer satisfaction and increase customer loyalty.
Besides the aforementioned advantages cloud computing facilitates business agility, smoothens business transformations, and can be environmentally sustainable. SMEs tend to benefit the most from cloud computing.
Triple Whammy Of “aaS” Model: A Necessary Evil
Notwithstanding all the benefits that cloud computing affords, its “-as-a-S” services are not without serious flaws.
With the concept of next generation Internet (of everything) and its semantic Web 3.0 interface, the cloud continuum is rapidly evolving from software / platform / infrastructure to servicing everything. Such evolution has to be in sync with the ambitious goals of Web 3.0. Of many goals of Web 3.0, three core characteristics stand out —
Privacy, Security & Interoperability.
Unfortunately, despite every major Internet business jumping into the cloud computing bandwagon, cloud computing still stays vulnerable to
the triple whammy of Privacy, Security & Interoperability (PSI).
As the “aaS” cloud model keeps growing to encompass almost every online business, the magnitude of the price that humanity pays for privacy / security breaches grows enormously. As reported by Cybersecurity Ventures in their 2019 Annual Cybercrime Report,
the magnitude of its impact on society will be a gargantuan $6 trillion annually by 2021.
This, they claim, represents the greatest transfer of economic wealth in history, and will be more profitable than the global trade of all major illegal drugs combined. Since 90% of all online business is attributed to cloud, a lion’s share of this cost is attributed to cloud computing’s PSI Triple Whammy.
The list of businesses moving to the cloud computing “aaS” model keeps growing; so does the cloud computing market size and the cost of the PSI vulnerabilities.
Market Growth Ignores The PSI Triple Whammy
Today, Cloud Computing is one of the fastest growing markets in software industry predicted to reach $623 billion by 2023.
This is despite cloud computing facing the triple whammy of privacy breaches, security threats and interoperability flaws. Not withstanding those shortfalls, “-as-a-Service” cloud computing model has grown exponential because of the advantages it provides over the old legacy systems. The cloud computing market continues to grow at 18% CAGR.
The advantages of “as-a-Service” business model are so compelling that the the Triple Whammy of Cloud Computing is often ignored or underplayed. For instance in a Forbes article, 13 members of Forbes Technology Council discuss some of the biggest challenges a business might have to overcome when moving its operations to the cloud, but just plainly ignore the privacy, security and interoperability issues. This is essentially because,
the world has come to believe that those shortcomings are part and parcel of cloud computing architecture, and we have to deal with them by implementing control measures and policies, rather than tackling them by architectural design.
Cloud Computing, PSI & Web 3.0
Privacy, security and interoperability (PSI) are the three major variables that impact the resources that populate the Web. A technology that impacts those three variables by design will evidently make the Web fully privacy-compliant, more secure and completely seamless in terms of interoperability, and yet be equitable enough to get rid of the autocracy of a handful of companies that currently control the Web 2.0.
The Internet, with over 4.4 billion users, is fast moving towards 100% reliance on data centers and cloud computing. It is therefore obvious that Web 3.0 can only achieve its PSI goals of privacy, security and interoperability via cloud computing continuum. The cloud continuum in its totality, therefore plays a key role in the design of the next generation Web 3.0.
PSI: The Pillars Of Web 3.0
Earlier, we had disclosed LIQUIDUS, a radical new approach that puts users in full control of their personal data,
transforming “data subjects” to “data owners,” and disenfranchising data controllers.
Liquidus by design is GDPR compliant, giving the companies total freedom from data liability. This is because, with Liquidus, they would not be controlling user data. This could mean substantial savings for big Internet companies as GDPR imposes hefty fines for non-compliance. For example, in its very first year GDPR penalties are estimated in billions (Facebook alone is facing $5 billion). As explained in the previous blog Liquidus technology presents a trinity of ground-breaking concepts that are not only multi-billion markets in their own right, but together constitute 3 pillars of next generation Internet.
Integrating privacy, security and interoperability (PSI) by design in legacy cloud computing services can tackle the cloud computing’s triple whammy.
However, with hundreds, if not thousands of cloud computing services out there, any such architectural integration on mass scale will be virtually impossible. So…..
What if there was yet another “aaS” solution to fix the PSI Triple Whammy?
Perhaps, Privacy, Security Interoperability-as-a-Service!!!
The Epicenter Of Web 3.0 & Cloud Continuum Convergence
The ambition of Web 3.0 is to focus on creating a democratized, decentralized, and human-centred internet that provides better services to people, giving them back control of their data and empowering them to participate. This means using technology in a way that upholds human dignity, privacy and security, while being interoperable, transparent and trustworthy. The interface that serves as the hub of all that we want to acheive with Web 3.0 is the web browser.
The Future… Towards A Smart Cloud Computing Continuum
As part of cloud computing continuum, both fog and edge computing systems shift the processing of data closer to the source of data generation. The main focus of doing so is to reduce the amount of data sent to the cloud. Therefore Fog & Edge computing brings processing close to the data source improving the speed and performance of data transport. This helps in decreasing latency and thereby improving system response time.
As much as we talk about the core, the fog, the edge and even the last mile of the cloud computing continuum, we mostly ignore the client device or precisely the web browser as the principle human computer interface (HCI). If the cloud computing continuum’s syncing with Web 3.0 is to happen, the HCI should become no less important than the server nodes that have always been the principal focus of the cloud, fog or edge computing.
To maximally leverage a cloud computing continuum, integration of resources at the core, at the edge, at the client and along the data path is imperative to support dynamic and data-driven application workflows.
However, cloud computing continuum remains a bit weary about the peripheral client computers on account the End Node Problems (Individual computers on the periphery of networks/clouds are called end nodes.). As a result we often ignore and exclude the client computer from the cloud continuum. As a preventive measure from End Node Problems, companies often impose restrictions on how their employees access their web portals, issuing company defined laptops, and only allow those specific computers to remotely connect. A synergy between cloud computing and Web 3.0 cannot happen unless the End Nodes aren’t secured. The tragedy is cloud companies do not see web browser as another home for implementing and anchoring cloud technologies that empower the client end of the continuum.
The client web browser isn’t just an epicenter of Web 3.0, but as equal a component of the cloud computing continuum as the data servers in the cloud, fog or edge are.
On December 2019 the market share for Chrome was the highest with 56.1% followed by Safari, Microsoft and Firefox at 18.1%, 7.5% and 5.5% respectively.
Data is always associated with some credentials of its owner or controller. It therefore ensues that any data that is subjected to privacy, security and interoperability concerns always has an owner or a controller. Data without an owner or controller is orphan, and may have little or no privacy or security concerns, and therefore has not much relevance.
5G Impact On The Continuum
As 5G is entering our lives, the speculation on how 5G will change every aspect of our online lives is ripe.
Will 5G impact the cloud computing continuum? How?
The debaters are taking some extreme positions between: 5G will kill cloud computing and 5G will be a quantum leap from candlelight to electricity. The former opinion that makes cloud computing obsolete is the camp led by Jon Markman, who predicted in his Forbes article,
“Longer term, blazing-fast wireless networks have the potential to eliminate the cloud as a computing platform. A post-cloud world would involve billions of autonomous smart devices. They would process and act on the data they collect at the edge of the network, in real time.”
While Dave Linthicum of Delloitte believes 5G is the functional equivalent to businesses getting electricity for the first time. He means those who don’t have broadband will discover the whole new world of cloud computing with 5G that can take their businesses to the next level.
Not withstanding the debate, 200GB speeds at your disposal is definitely going to be a boon for business owners, remote workers, and everyone else who enjoys the Internet. We believe 5G will not make the cloud computing obsolete, but on the contrary the 5G speeds will enhance it by tilting the balance of the cloud continuum towards the end nodes delivering the best of both the worlds: the cloud computing world and the 5G world.
End-node computing is no longer about managing laptops and desktops. Using two or three, even four computing devices is becoming a norm. The devices often are with different capabilities, models, shapes and sizes, operating systems, and security requirements. Today and increasingly more in future, you need to support user access to services, applications, and data on any device and in any location. This flexibility and productivity can only be delivered by cloud computing economically. Moreover, the applications that users consume are either as a service (through a cloud model) or more traditionally, in a client-owned, on-device native app model. Transitioning to user-centric computing calls for a new approach, and the End Node is bound to play an important role in that approach.
In the new cloud-fog-edge-end node HCI computing environment, users can stay connected and have access to the best networks and services as a seamless extension of their traditional desktop. They can choose their devices and access personal applications while retaining access to corporate applications and services. They can make their own decisions on diversity of cloud services while still remain interoperable, free from privacy breaches and security threats. For accomplishing all of that the cloud computing continuum has to become more user centric and 5G will be a key factor in getting there.