Cloud Computing: Why it is important and what are the risks?

Cloud Computing: Why it is important and what are the risks?

CloudAt 2011, years before the cloud become a trend, I’ve made a decision that costed me nearly 5 days of struggling: I’ve decided to install a powerful Software Configuration Management tool: Microsoft Team Foundation Server. Motivated by the popular objectives of using such product,I’ve spent the following five days looking for prerequisites, facing installation issues, conflicts and unexplained behaviors, and eventually I’ve managed to get everything on track.

Less than one year later, I’ve logged into my Microsoft account, signed up for a Team Foundation Service account, and in 5 minutes I had a better value than the server I’ve installed in 5 days. In this post, I will discuss how the current trend of cloud computing – evolved to impact the software quality assurance as we know it today.

Top reasons for choosing Cloud Computing

We can understand cloud computing as explained this paper as “large scale distributed computing paradigm where a pool of virtualized, dynamically scalable, managed computing services are delivered on demand over the Internet.”.

Cloud computing promotes the following positive impacts on Software Quality Insurance and Project Management in general:

  1. Zero capital: cloud computing promotes zero initial investment into hardware and reduction of system administration. Therefore, the estimated budget for establishing a QA department shall be reduced when thinking of using a cloud-based QA tool.
  2. One fix for all: from a customer perspective, having an automatic fix of faults on a subscribed cloud service makes it more reliable, from a software house perspective, it is much less expensive to fix one issue in one place instead of fixing the same issue in many places.  Otherwise, maintenance can be a very costly activity when organisation is running various essential business applications on multiple version and different type of OS.
  3. Separation of interests: In OOP, we usually use the term ‘separation of interests’ to refer to dividing each corresponding piece of code onto a separate code-component. In the cloud, we let the dedicated system engineers of the service provider take care of the stability of the service and the operations of its infrastructure.

Cloud computing risks

  1. Security is not guaranteed: there are host and network attacks that can violate the integrity and confidentiality of data in the cloud.
  2. Confidence concerns: Cloud computing raises privacy and confidentiality concerns because the service provider necessarily has access to all the data, and could accidentally or deliberately disclose it or use it for unauthorized purposes.

Do we really have to worry about these risks? well, there is no one guaranteed answer for that question, but in my opinion, choosing the proper cloud service provider will reduce these risks to the minimum.

Just like any other aspect of life and work, the Quality Assurance-related operations and associated professionals should always analyse the emerging cloud services and study how to better implement and use it to achieve more for less.

About The Author

Mohamed Nagieb
Mohamed had been managing and successfully delivering tens of regional projects in Egypt and the Middle East, specially in Gulf region. He is holding MSc. of Software Engineering from University of Liverpool, UK. He is a founder and co-founder of multiple startups and software development firms.

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