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Trust in the cloud

An analysis of why it's so important to have a trusting relationship with your cloud provider.

All business relationships depend on trust, but few relationships require the levels of interdependence as those between cloud buyers and providers. Buyers must be confident their critical business services and data will always be available and safe, while cloud providers must rely on buyers to be clear and open about their needs.

Building trust

Recent research from the Cloud Industry Forum shows buyers aren't as satisfied as they could be with providers. The survey found that, in spite of rising rates of cloud adoption, end users continue to cite a range of inhibitors, primarily security, privacy, and lack of control. These stem from a lack of trust that cloud-based data will be appropriately secured, that it won't be compromised or inadvertently accessed, and that businesses will be able to retrieve and migrate their data when a contract terminates.

Establishing trusted relationships takes time and requires transparency on both sides. Cloud providers say that it can take months to agree a contract with new customers, to get to a point where both sides are happy that each can match the other's expectations, and feel confident that their philosophies are aligned.

Security is often at the top of the agenda during conversations between buyer and provider. The buyer will want to see that the provider is compliant with established security standards and practices, including controls over access to data - physical and virtual - staff vetting, backup, and other data protection measures. By the same token, the customer will need to commit to openness with the provider, so that each understands how the other works.

Assuring trust

Cloud customers should look for providers who:

  • Embed security and privacy into their infrastructure and processes.
  • Ensure customer data is safe.
  • Hand ownership and control of customer data to the customer.
  • Explain clearly to customers how their data is stored and accessed, and how the provider secures it.
  • Prove compliance with global and local standards
  • If cloud providers can provide evidence that customer data is safe and private, and that the customer retains ownership of and control over their information, buyers will begin to feel comfortable with them - and that is the first step to creating a mutually beneficial, trusting relationship.