NATURAL DISASTERS AND CLOUD COMPUTING
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - NATURAL DISASTERS AND CLOUD COMPUTING
NATURAL DISASTERS AND CLOUD COMPUTING: IT PERSPECTIVE
All Ghanaians witnessed a natural disaster that occurred on the night of June 3, 2015 in Accra. A heavy
downpour caused floods in most places in Accra. Notable amongst them was the Circle disaster where
many people including women and children lost their lives in the fire that engulfed the Goil Fuel Station
during the flooding of the fuel station.
This could have been an earthquake, fire, etc who knows? Are our organizations prepared in the event
of any of these disasters affecting them? I am sure some would say yes we are prepared but majority of
organizations would not be prepared and when the disaster occurs, they would be found wanting.
In Ghana, most organizations do not have a Business Continuity Programme implemented in their
various institutions. Some organizations have their Data Centers on either the ground floors or the first
floors of their buildings except those organizations who happens to occupy higher floors in a multi
tenancy building. Such organizations could be greatly affected in the event of a natural disaster such as
flooding which is more prevalent in Accra and its surroundings due to the poor drainage systems.
Organization such as Toyota Ghana, Rana Motors, etc were also greatly affected in the floods of June 3,
2015 losing assets in millions of Dollars which includes that of their information assets stored on their
local computers. No one knows of their preparedness before the said disaster.
Technologies such as Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), etc are all examples
of Cloud Computing. This can make it possible for organizations to protect themselves from these
natural disasters as and when they occur.
Cloud Computing is a virtualized IT environment where you employ the use of networked remote
servers hosted at a service providers premises to store, manage and process data rather than a local
server. This can either be achieved by the use of Internet or a Secured Virtual Private Network (SVPN) to
the service providers’ site. Cloud computing can be classified as Private, Public and/or Hybrid.
Organizations can rely on cloud computing for their backup and disaster recovery service needs. This
assures organizations of a faster recovery of its IT services in times of a disaster. Organizations without a
proper backup practice take a longer time to recover their data or never recover which would be much
more expensive in the long run.
Prior to the September 11, 2001 disaster in the United States of America, most of the geographical
distances were not considered. Most organizations were storing backup data and/or replicating data to
a site just a few kilometers from their primary data centers in the United States. Majority of these
organizations after learning from the 911 disaster are employing virtualized IT deployments (Cloud
Computing) in their day to day activities.
Some Ghanaian organizations either have their Disaster Recovery (DR) Site next door just a few
Kilometers away from their primary data centers. Some even have their DR Sites closer to the sea than
their primary data centers which make the DR Sites more prone to corrosion than their primary data
centers. By employing Cloud Computing and using it as a DR site would ensure that your data is
protected from natural disasters and enhance your rate of recovery in the event of a disaster.
Pros and Cons of Cloud Computing
Like everything else, cloud computing too has its pros and cons. While the technology can prove to be a
great asset to your company, it could also cause harm if not understood and used properly. Below are
some pros and cons for the technology:
Pros of Cloud Computing
If used properly and to the extent necessary, working with data in the cloud can vastly benefit all types
of businesses. Mentioned below are some of the advantages of this technology:
Cloud computing is probably the most cost efficient method to use, maintain and upgrade.
Traditional desktop software costs companies a lot in terms of finance. Adding up the licensing
fees for multiple users can prove to be very expensive for the establishment concerned. The
cloud, on the other hand, is available at much cheaper rates and hence, can significantly lower
the company’s IT expenses. Besides, there are many one-time-payments, pay-as-you-go and
other scalable options available, which make it very reasonable for the company in question.
Information storage in the cloud gives you almost unlimited storage capacity. Hence, you no
more need to worry about running out of storage space or increasing your current storage space
Easy Backup and Recovery of Data
Since all your data is stored in the cloud, backing it up and restoring the same is relatively much
easier than storing the same on a physical device. Furthermore, most cloud service providers are
usually competent enough to handle recovery of information. Hence, this makes the entire
process of backup and recovery much simpler than other traditional methods of data storage.
Automatic Software Integration
In cloud computing, software integration is usually something that occurs automatically. This
means that you do not need to take additional efforts to customize and integrate your
applications as per your preferences. This aspect usually takes care of itself. Not only that, cloud
computing allows you to customize your options with great ease. Hence, you can chose only
those services and applications that would best suit your particular enterprise.
For many businesses, moving to the cloud increases opportunities for collaboration between
employees. Colleagues can sync and work on documents or shared apps with ease, often
simultaneously, receiving updates in real time.
Additionally, cloud computing allows each team member to work from anywhere. The cloud
centralizes your data, which means that you, your employees, and even your clients can access
your company data from any location with Internet access depending on their access rights.
Cons of Cloud Computing
Running all or some of your business applications in the cloud is great, as long as you can
maintain a consistent Internet connection. If any one of your cloud-based service providers loses
connectivity, or if your ISP experiences an outage, you're out of business until that Internet
connection returns. Even the best servers go down occasionally, so if you decide to use this
method, it is important to implement a backup plan for your internet service provider.
This comes down to whom do you trust with your business data? Not every business should
place its data in the cloud. Companies with highly sensitive data—or that must meet stringent
compliance regulations—may well need their own IT department to keep data secure. When
you store data in the cloud, you trust a third party to keep it safe.
Does your small business have an IT department that's security savvy enough—with enough
resources—to lock down your data? If so, you're set. If not, the cloud may well offer you more
security than you could provide on your own.
It is a known fact that you are ultimately the only entity that can fully control your data.
Additionally, because the purported safety of cloud computing isn't standardized, you may have
a difficult time determining how well third-parties protect your data.
Whichever technology you decide being it cloud computing, set up an in-house network or
employ both technologies, etc may have their pros and cons. You can reduce the risk by
ensuring that the third party has certifications in Information Security Management.
Though it is true that information and data on the cloud can be accessed anytime and from
anywhere at all, there are times when this system can have some serious dysfunction. You
should be aware of the fact that technology is always prone to outages and other technical
issues. Even the best service providers run into this kind of trouble, in spite of keeping up high
standards of maintenance.
It is very important to consult experts in this field of technology to give you the very best of advise
before you make a decision. You the organization can also protect your data before sending them to the
cloud by employing encryption. The cloud technology has come to stay and the earlier organizations
research on how to migrate the better.
Written by: James Sackitey Tetteh, C|EH, COM, CHP, ISO 27001:2013LA, ISO 9001:2008LA
Phone: + 233 200 297079