Summit 7 Team Blogs

Cloud Trust: “Processing your data on your behalf.”

I wrote a few blogs recently on Cloud for small business and Microsofts’ Office 365 being safe for businesses.  The aim of those blogs was to help readers understand the direction of the tech giant.  Microsoft has been touting its security measures and how Office 365 is mature enough for government data storage. They have strengthened their position with acquisitions of large state government clusters such as Chicago, New York, and Texas.  As Office 365 gains momentum in the government arena, they will continue to market how the platform is ready for your businesses data.  But what does that really mean, and how does that affect all the other providers of cloud services?

While I can’t speak about every provider, what I am finding through research is that cloud providers are slowly creating and accepting certain standards as to how they manage disaster recovery, load balancing, anywhere access, systems monitoring and so much more.  These standards are allowing consistency on how they operate and keep their bottom lines profitable.  They are also finding better ways to cut cost, become more efficient, and provide users cheaper services with better Service Level Agreements that meet minimum business requirements.

Even so, it’s not surprising that many business have avoided cloud computing.  What this shows is, as the industry is maturing, service providers are differentiating themselves in the core areas such as storage or file sharing, disaster recovery, scalability of platforms, bring your own OS, and a standard set of requirements is being adopted by many of the major players.  This is good news and perhaps the way things should be.

Office 365 Corporate VP of Operations and Services Engineering, Rajesh Jha said during a presentation on Office 365, “A core engineering principal for us is that it’s your data.  We process it on your behalf, we enable things like search, and anywhere access and devices, but you control it.  You own it, we simply process it on your behalf.”

The concept is quite simple.  As a provider of cloud computing, they (Microsoft) are enabling users to create, store and manage their data efficiently and productively within the Office365 cloud platform.   It’s definitely a growing trend for service providers and something to consider when running or managing a business. But, as with everything, there should be a certain amount of caution when moving workloads to the cloud.  Many users will forever be skeptical of just how much control they have over their data. However, the industry is trying to tell you that they don’t need to know what your data is, they just want to process it for you.

When looking at cloud services, you should definitely do your homework when choosing a cloud provider, regardless of the need, and don’t assume they all play by the same rules.  Here are few tips to help you out:

  • Locate, find and compare their SLA’s (Service Level Agreements)
  • Don’t “just accept” the privacy policy (Read it)
  • Find out if they share your account data with any third parties
  • Understand what happens to your data if you decide to leave their services
  • Know where you data is physically stored (onshore vs. offshore)

As a consumer, you still have a chance to determine what will and will not be acceptable with your data.  So more power to the consumer, but do your due diligence to ensure that your valuable information won’t be compromised or misused - regardless of the price to process it.

What cloud providers have you found to have exceptional services?  Leave a comment shoot me a tweet at @eharris04




About Eric.Harris