Cloud computing has many advantages and there is a lot to like about the cloud. Some on will handle and maintain the cloud and you get to put their data in the cloud. We lose the control over the cloud when we avoid proper handling of the cloud. When we lose the control over the cloud, it leads to security issues and it becomes a nightmare to the entire service user when the cloud service falls down. There are many such incidences in the past where there was a huge loss due to the cloud outage. Such incidence keeps occurring in the future as well, we if don’t handle the cloud properly and have better cloud security methods. As the cloud service is a big chain, it doesn’t only affect a person or two; the value lost will be in billions as it is linked to service providers, Clients, and users. The topmost reasons for cloud failures are outages, human errors, bad weather, and human hacks.
CLOUD SYSTEM FAILURES
One of the most used Software-as-a-Service models is iCloud. iCloud provides storage for the users through the internet. It allows users to store up to 5GB and upon user’s requirements, iCloud storage upgrade options are available for monthly/yearly subscriptions. Any Apple product such iPhone, iPad, MacBook has a iCloud access by default and users have an advantage of 5GB free storage. iCloud serves as a backup of photos, contacts, notes and these can be accessed from any device which is connected with internet service.
The iCloud system was hacked on August 31st, 2014. Hackers hacked top celebrities and many women iCloud accounts. They posted all private pictures of top celebrities on imageboard 4chan. Later these pictures were shared with other web and social networking sites such as Reddit. A subreddit was created to share these pictures which gathered around 100000 followers in a single day. Later, Reddit announced that the users will be banned from the site if they re-share any of the private pictures and it banned subreddit on the same day which shared the private hacked pictures. Initially, everyone believed that the pictures were obtained by Apple’s services suit but later it was found out that the hackers randomly guessed the victim’s passwords. The cloud services stored the copies of pictures and the hackers obtained those pictures.
Apple announces that the hackers were able to obtain the picture by guessing the victim’s iCloud passwords. After this incident, Apple updated the security measures for iCloud. This had a bad impact on the users to save their private images on iCloud and this shows that even a topmost cloud service system has backlogs in terms of cloud security.
PayPal is an American company which is one of the world’s largest online payments transfers company. The traditional way of Money transfer system is through checks and money orders but the PayPal is an electronic money transfer system. PayPal operates for many companies with a small exchange rate.
On August 3rd, 2009, PayPal face an outage which affected huge money transfers. There was an outage for an hour and this could service process about $2000 every second which sums up to $7.2 million in that hour. The cloud service employee tried to identify the cause and the location of the data center where the issue was caused and tried to run the system up but it took another three and half hours to direct the data traffic to other data center. Therefore the total number of transaction affected could be $7.2 million to $32 million.
Food Stamps (EBT) Power Outage
The Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) which is known as “Food Stamps” is used to purchase the food using the government benefits. This food stamp uses Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards to access in all the stores. I the year 2013, Xerox was conducting the EBT for 17 states in USA in it data centers.
On October 12, 2013, EBT system was failed and went offline when the Xerox was conducting the tests. During its routine tests of its backup system, a glitch caused the EBT to go offline. The retailers had no other ways to check the EBT balances which resulted in declining the EBT cards for several hours. Some other stores allowed users to use their EBT card anyway without even knowing the balance in their cards. In some locations, it is reported that police charged some users with fraud who took an advantage and filled their carts with thousands of dollars’ worth food.
By accepting the customers without check the EBT balance and declining hungry customers as the store cannot check the balance, either way, it affected the users and store owners.
Intuit Cloud Outage
Intuit is a software company which develops and sells financial software to small business firms. This software vendor is popular for the software products such as QuickBooks, TurboTax, and Quicken which are cloud-based services. Intuit faced an outage for 36 hours in early June 2010. During the outage, business owners were unable to access their reports for 36 hours straight. Intuit announced that the power outage was caused during the regular maintenance. The reason was the power outage which forced out the primary cloud data center as well as back up sites.
There are many companies that rely on Intuit for credit card payments and payroll for small businesses. Within a month, Intuit faced another outage which caused many customers confidence in their service and many stepped back from their cloud service.