Cloud computing provides the capability to use computing and storage resources on a metered basis and reduce the investments in an organization's computing infrastructure. The spawning and deletion of virtual machines running on physical hardware and being controlled by hypervisors is a cost-efficient and flexible computing paradigm.
In addition, the integration and widespread availability of large amounts of "sanitized' information such as health care records can be of tremendous benefit to researchers and practitioners.
However, as with any technology, the full potential of the cloud cannot be achieved without understanding its capabilities, vulnerabilities, advantages, and trade-offs. This text provides insight into these areas and describes methods of achieving the maximum benefit from cloud computation with minimal risk.
With all its benefits, cloud computing also brings with it concerns about the security and privacy of information extant on the cloud as a result of its size, structure, and geographical dispersion. Such concerns involve the following issues:
Leakage and unauthorized access of data among virtual machines running on the same server
Failure of a cloud provider to properly handle and protect sensitive information
Release of critical and sensitive data to law enforcement or government agencies without the approval and/or knowledge of the client
Ability to meet compliance and regulatory requirements
System crashes and failures ...