Thursday, December 16, 2010

If I ran a Cloud Computing provider...

I recently ran across this humorous video showing how Cloud Computing providers are having conversations with their customers. While it's obviously a fictional scenario, it highlights some of the key concerns that customers have about moving their corporate information to an external service. While cost is always a factor, it's not the only factor. Customers have existing investments in hardware and software, as well as processes that integrate with various aspects of the business. Lori MacVittie (F5) does a good job highlighting why cost isn't the only issue involved in Cloud Computing.

But more important than cost, public Cloud Computing providers seem to forget (or often ignore) that customers need to be able to trust them...and trust that their data won't be lost. This is somewhat of a technology issue, but it's more of a people issue. They are betting their job and the assets of their company on providers, so it's not unusual for them to seek to trust AND verify where their data is going.

So if I was a Cloud Computing provider, this would be at the top of my list of "value add" to the customer. Show them your facilities. Show them how your facilities and services are secured, certified and audited by independent groups. Show them where their data goes and how you're able to identify it.
In other words, be transparent in helping them begin to trust your service. Chris Hoff (Cisco/CloudAudit) does an excellent (and on-going) job of explaining how Cloud Computing providers could go about doing this, especially in the areas of security.

  • Would this potentially expose some of the "secret-sauce" of Cloud Computing providers? Maybe.
  • Would this potentially expose a Cloud Computing provider to criticism from competitors or social media? Maybe
  • Would it move Cloud Computing providers to a level of transparency that could rise above media criticism every time a Cloud Computing service has a hiccup? Definitely
A move to public Cloud Computing services is ultimately a change event for an existing business. Change is primarily about people and their ability to adapt. It seems to me that Cloud Computing providers could expand their markets by addressing the people elements of the change they are proposing in their value propositions.

That's what I'd focus on....


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