Decentralizing The Cloud: What You Should Know About Fog Computing

Championed by corporate giants like Google and Amazon, cloud computing has revolutionized digital storage and access over the past decade. A Forbes study revealed that 55% of companies experienced heightened productivity after switching to a cloud hosting service. With this benefit, among others, the trend has caught on. The global market for cloud service equipment is expected to reach $79.1 billion by 2018.

Suddenly, the cloud is spreading. The term “fog computing,” or edge computing, was coined by Cisco in 2015. Fog computing basically decentralizes the cloud, spreading data over multiple data centers rather than one central storage system, Digital Journal reports. By using only one data center, there was usually a long distance between a user and their data. Fog computing aims to lessen this gap, allowing the information to travel more quickly.

This method of storage also improves cyber security, Digital Journal reports. Again, cloud storage keeps the file in one place, making it easy for an attacker to access the data. With fog storage, however, the data is picked apart and sprinkled into these separate storage centers. If a hacker ends up accessing one of these centers, they would only be able to pull a random bit of the file.

Computer scientists Rosario Culmone and Maria Concetta De Vivo of the University of Camerino in Italy recently published a paper on fog computing in the International Journal of Electronic Security and Digital Forensics, further emphasizing the security and efficiency potential of this technology.

“Our proposal is based on this idea of a service which renders information completely immaterial in the sense that for a given period of time there is no place on earth that contains information complete in its entirety,” they write in the paper.

Bernard Marr, author of “Data Strategy,” writes in Forbes that organizations would need to have increased internet speed to access fog computing, alleging that the technology may require more time to take off.

“Any business relying on storing its data in someone else’s data center would be wise to consider this new trend, and analyze how their business might be affected in the future by lack of bandwidth to access it,” he writes. “It seems prudent then to consider how we might bring at least some of our data back down to earth until the US and other western nations have the wired and wireless Internet speeds we deserve.

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