Ethics of Cloud Computing

Sarah Marquez
National University
11/08/2013

Ethics of Cloud Computing

Ethics of Cloud Computing
As defined by our text book authors Jane and Kenneth Laudon, cloud computing consists
of web based applications that are stored on remote severs and accessed via the “cloud” of the
internet using a standard web browser. This new technology would have been hard to image over
a decade ago but because of advances in interoperability and digitization via the web, cloud
computing is the newest form of a complex system data center. These data centers are worldwide
that store data and deliver information over the internet, providing users with resources,
applications and information that they previously would have stored locally. The cloud, run by a
network of IT service companies, Internet firms and telecommunications service providers,
offers services to all types of users. With this huge new data center that can hold all types of
information and share it with all types of users, raises many ethical issues. The article The Ethics
of Cloud Computing, describes many of the negative issues that this service can produce.
Some companies worry about the security risks related to entrusting their critical data and
systems to an outside vendor that also works with other companies (Laudon p184). This is one
of the biggest threats to privacy from using cloud computing. The article touches on three
important developments that are necessary for ethical analysis. One is the fact that cloud
computing shifts control from technology users to third parties servicing the cloud due to out
sourcing and off shoring of functionality of the cloud (Bozadag, Carsten, Ikonen, and
Timmermans p 3). Second the storage data that is in multiple physical locations across many
servers around the world can be owned and administered by many different organizations
(Bozadag, Carsten, Ikonen, and Timmermans p 3). Lastly the article describes the
interconnection of multiple services across the cloud at different levels of functionality of
different providers is connected to provide a specific service to an end-user (Bozadag, Carsten,

Ethics of Cloud Computing

Ikonen, and Timmermans p 3). All three of these issues play a central role when discussing
ethical issues of cloud computing.
Since cloud computing uses outsourcing or offshoring with third party vendors, the topic
over control can become problematic. Among risk associated with cloud computing are
unauthorized access, data corruption, infrastructure failure, or unavailability (Bozadag, Carsten,
Ikonen, and Timmermans p 3). As a user you can become vulnerable to not having control over
your systems or the information that is being shared. There are also questions of system
reliability, when you expect your systems to be available 24/7 and do not want to suffer any loss
of business capability if the IT infrastructure were to malfunction (Laudon p184). Cloud
computing puts companies at the risk and mercy of the systems if something was to go wrong.
The text and article both touch on these two important points about the system.
Cloud computing also allows the storage of important information at different locations at
multiple times. This typically may lead to what is referred to in ethical literature as “the problem
of many hands” (Bozadag, Carsten, Ikonen, and Timmermans p 3). I deal with this most
commonly at my current job. Since we process so much information and there are multiple
people processing and sharing the information, if a red flag goes unnoticed, multiple
consequence can occur. If a complex chain of events happens and multiple people will have had
the opportunity to prevent these consequences, it will be very hard to label someone as
responsible (Bozadag, Carsten, Ikonen, and Timmermans p 3). When Amazon’s cloud went
down in December of 2009. Subscribers on the US east coast were unable to use their systems
for several hours (Laudon p184). This may have been hard for Amazon to pin point what caused
this from happening.

Ethics of Cloud Computing

Overall the text and the article agree about the drawbacks that cloud computing can
produce. Security, Privacy and control are all big factors to think about when participating in
cloud computing. It will be important for companies to identify the risks and weigh out the
advantages and disadvantages when relying in this type of technology. The article really
contributes to the awareness and the importance of ethics when analyzing the use of cloud
computing.

Ethics of Cloud Computing

References
Lauden, K. Management Information Systems (12th Edition)
(Bozadag E, Carsten B, Ikonen V, and Timmermans J. the Ethics f Cloud Computing. A
Conceptual Review.

Ethics of Cloud Computing

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