Gartner releases cloud computing 'rights and responsibilities'

Gartner releases cloud computing 'rights and responsibilities'

Summary: Analyst firm, Gartner, published a set of guidelines intended to ease relationships between cloud vendors and users.


Analyst firm, Gartner, published a set of guidelines intended to ease relationships between cloud vendors and users. As cloud computing becomes more pervasive, the ecosystem (including vendors and analysts) is seeking ways to align expectations among relevant parties.

Gartner specified "six rights and one responsibility of service customers that will help providers and consumers establish and maintain successful business relationships:"

The right to retain ownership, use and control one's own data - Service consumers should retain ownership of, and the rights to use, their own data.

The right to service-level agreements that address liabilities, remediation and business outcomes - All computing services - including cloud services - suffer slowdowns and failures. However, cloud services providers seldom commit to recovery times, specify the forms of remediation or spell out the procedures they will follow.

The right to notification and choice about changes that affect the service consumers' business processes - Every service provider will need to take down its systems, interrupt its services or make other changes in order to increase capacity and otherwise ensure that its infrastructure will serve consumers adequately in the long term. Protecting the consumer's business processes entails providing advanced notification of major upgrades or system changes, and granting the consumer some control over when it makes the switch.

The right to understand the technical limitations or requirements of the service up front - Most service providers do not fully explain their own systems, technical requirements and limitations so that after consumers have committed to a cloud service, they run the risk of not being able to adjust to major changes, at least not without a big investment.

The right to understand the legal requirements of jurisdictions in which the provider operates - If the cloud provider stores or transports the consumer's data in or through a foreign country, the service consumer becomes subject to laws and regulations it may not know anything about.

The right to know what security processes the provider follows - With cloud computing, security breaches can happen at multiple levels of technology and use. Service consumers must understand the processes a provider uses, so that security at one level (such as the server) does not subvert security at another level (such as the network).

The responsibility to understand and adhere to software license requirements - Providers and consumers must come to an understanding about how the proper use of software licenses will be assured.

Readers interested in this topic should also see enterprise analyst, Ray Wang's, Software as a Service (SaaS) Customer's Bill of Rights. That document describes a set of practices to ensure consumer protections across the entire SaaS lifecycle, as indicated in the following diagram:

My take. For cloud computing to achieve sustained success and adoption, the industry must find ways to simplify and align expectations between users and vendors. Gartner's comments and the SaaS Bill of Rights are worthy steps toward that goal.

Topics: CXO, Cloud, Hardware, IT Priorities, Servers, Virtualization

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  • Best not to get involved with the outsourced cloud

    .. then you won't need to worry about having your rights managed and negotiated.
  • Worthy "baby" steps

    Gartner's rights-and-responsibilities guidelines reminded me of a tweet I recently saw from someone who said, "I hate it when I don't state the obvious and then find the obvious needed to be stated."

    I find it frightening to think users and providers need Gartner to publish these guidelines. They strike me as being painfully obvious and fundamental aspects of an Enterprise venturing into Public Cloud Computing.

    I believe cloud computing will "achieve sustained success and adoption" when standards are developed. Until then, guidelines and bills-of-rights are baby steps in addressing what must be the incredibly difficult activities of establishing contracts and SLAs between relevant parties.

    Steve Romero, IT Governance Evangelist
    Steve Romero
  • I can hardly wait

    My company has a large number of sites around the world. Over the last two years, all of our servers were removed from those sites and our data went to one set of servers, managed by a bunch of drones from some other company. I suppose this is a variant of cloud computing.

    It totally bites. Data access is notably slower (as you might suspect when cable runs of a few hundred feet become runs of thousands of miles). Service completely stinks, because the service company has no idea what we do and seems to care less. We may lose access to critical data for hours at a time. Long days get longer as we wait for servers to come back up.

    But our CEO gets his bonus for "saving money". If this is the cloud, then count me out. No way I'm putting my own data into a mess like that.
  • RE: Gartner releases cloud computing 'rights and responsibilities'

    Stating the obvious, so everyone's on the same page, is an absolute necessity. If your organization is going to use the cloud, and chances are you will, then knowing the benefits and limitations are a requirement. We need to post these guidelines, and the enhancements and evolutions that will doubtless follow, everywhere that computing deisionmakers work, on and off line.
  • From a contrarian perspective

    From a philosophical point of view, I really have no objection to the above. However, most of the above "Rights and Responsibilities" could just as well apply to the IT division of any organization, eh?
    I'll admit, if you're company is 10 Developers With Linux Servers, this probably doesnt apply, but if you are Any Large Fortune X00 Organization, how many of the above rights do *you* have? Seriously?
    Do *you* retain control/ownership of your own data?
    Do *you* get SLAs..?
    Do *you* get notifications about changes that affect your services upfront?
    So yes, the above are a pretty good starting point, but I hardly think they have anything to do with Cloud Computing in particular. On the contrary, one should try and get the above from *any* IT organization one has to deal with, whether it be internal, outsourced, Hosted, Cloud, or whatever. And the sad truth is, at *best* you'll get some half-hearted take on the above.

    Mahesh Paolini-Subramanya
    CTO Aptela, Inc.
  • Cloud, Security, Risk

    Whenever you put something outside your four walls, you give up exclusive control of security, risk, management, etc. Make certain your solutions providers and everyone else supporting your cloud endeavors is rock-solid. Google "The Business-Technology Weave" for some great reading on all things I.T. - as that blogger says, "In the realm of risk, unmanaged possibilities become probabilities"...
  • RE: Gartner releases cloud computing 'rights and responsibilities'

    Ha ha - let's apply these rights to all of our data & see what happens! Please have people send you videos of their conversations demanding these rights from their local CIO.

    Good idea in any case - how many times have new project costs blown out due to data extraction and conversion problems?
  • A better cloud service: do not move everything to the cloud.

    A lot of vendors thought cloud computing means moving away from PCs. They create applications on the web (cloud) so users can use the applications online, store files online, and never need to use any locally installed applications. The PCs are relegated to dumb terminals. However, this approach will not work for the mass market. Why?

    (1) PCs will not disappear; they become more and more powerful yet the price keeps falling. It is far more competitive than dumb terminals. Even the Net PCs and smart phones also become more and more powerful with every new model. Simply put, vendors will not just sell dumb terminals; and few users will buy dumb terminals.

    (2) With the tremendous horse power available at the local PC, treating the PCs as dumb terminals is a dumb idea. Users are used to desktop software, such as MS office, photo editing software, video editing software, HTML authoring software, etc. they will continue using the desktop software for its more advanced features and better performance than web-based applications. Moreover, be able to work on something offline is a huge advantage over web-based applications.

    (3) Many applications that require a lot of computing power and a lot of network bandwidth are not suitable for the cloud computing. (e.g. video editing, photo editing, etc.)

    (4) Moving everything to the cloud means you are completely locked in by your vendor. It is extremely hard to switch vendors, not to mention that you may not be able to find another compatible vendor.

    (5) Lack of control and flexibility: when you move everything to the cloud, you no longer have full control of your system and data. If the service is down, it will shut down your system; also, you cannot easily add any new services / features to your system; it is also hard to change the current services / features. Any such changes will have to go through your service vendor and at its mercy.

    There are better cloud computing solutions than those of Google, Amazon, and other cloud computing vendors, whose goal might be more focused on destroying Microsoft and PC than offering real better solutions. is one of the first few companies offering cloud storage and cloud IT Solutions. Our cloud solution combines the benefits of local computing and cloud computing. Users can continue using their local desktop software, while at the same time, they can store the data in the cloud. They can store, backup, share and synchronize local and remote data; they can collaborate with a group of people; sharing different folders to different users (or groups) with different permissions. Small businesses can host file server, FTP server, email server, web server, offsite backup system on the cloud. It is much easier to setup and manage group accounts and security settings than local solutions. Not only it saves on hardware, software and system administration cost, it is also more powerful than local solutions as our solution works anywhere. Businesses can easily switch to a central cloud IT system on <a href=""></a> to serve multiple offices.