TechLines: choosing partners

TechLines: choosing partners

Summary: Success in cloud might be all about choosing the right provider, according to the TechLines: Cloud Control session held last month.

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Success in cloud might be all about choosing the right provider, according to the TechLines: Cloud Control session held last month.

The panellists passionately discussed the issue of portability, with the fear being that companies could sign up to a provider, become unhappy with the service and then be unable to take their data and leave.

Microsoft director of Developer and Platform Evangelism, Gianpaolo Carraro, said that it wasn't exactly a new problem, with companies encountering the same issue when using a start-up company's software: the start-up could disappear.

What companies often did was get that start-up's code in escrow, so that there would be a fall-back if the fledgling company went belly up. It was necessary to "have a backup plan for [the] backup system", he said.

Deciding which company to go with was going to be a major skill for IT employees, according to IBM director R&D Australia and chief technologist, Glenn Wightwick.

"The IT professional is going to have to have a set of skills to advise the business on this is a risk in this company, I'm not comfortable with their level of maturity and the fact that they haven't agreed to standards," he said.

"Ultimately, I think we'll be dealing with organisations that put their hand on their heart and say we stick by the standards."

Questions to be asked when choosing a cloud provider, according to Wightwick and futurist Mark Pesce, were:

  • Do I trust them?
  • Do I know people involved?
  • Have they had security breaches?
  • What's their uptime?
  • What are their terms of service?
  • Are they active in the cloud standards space?
  • Where are they based? Do you want to end up with a legal battle with someone in Delaware?

Carraro thought that the staff who could carry out this sort of risk analysis for the company would be well compensated.

"I think the IT job is evolving from the screwdriver to the person advising the business. And as an IT professional I'm likely to earn more by advising the business."

Topics: Cloud, IBM, Microsoft, TechLines

Suzanne Tindal

About Suzanne Tindal

Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at ZDNet.com.au as the site's telecommunications reporter, a role that saw her break some of the biggest stories associated with the National Broadband Network process. She then turned her attention to all matters in government and corporate ICT circles. Now she's taking on the whole gamut as news editor for the site.

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  • I agree with Gianpaolo Carraro on using software escrow as a risk mitigation tool. Fortunately, we experience the situation where the investor has had the foresight to request the code go into escrow. When that has happen and a software release event has occurred the source code and documentation have been passed across to the software user as required. Development software escrow agreements are more complicated than standard licence escrow agreements as in many cases, payment of development instalments are based not only on functionality delivery but also source code deposit with an escrow agent such as Software Escrow Guardians. Software Escrow Guardians is an industry partner with Microsoft and a featured software escrow agent for Microsoft’s Independent Software Vendors and the Certified for Microsoft Dynamics standard.
    SoftwareEscrow