Cloud computing firms to earn the trust of businesses

Assignment Help Management Information Sys
Reference no: EM13998140

What assurances and practices do you feel are necessary from cloud computing firms to earn the trust of businesses and the public? What role can Canadian government(s) play in helping cloud computing realize its potential? And why do you think Microsoft, a company that has been historically opposed to open standards, is now lobbying for them?

Danger in the Cloud The general public has embraced cloud computing more readily than many businesses. Millions of people trust cloud computing technologies from Google to store their email, appointment calendars, and address books. They trust Facebook to store their photos and personal information. Businesses have been more hesitant to trust Internet firms with their valuable corporate information – and with good cause. Cloud computing services do fail, leaving users unable to access programs or data. It is not uncommon for Google, Twitter, Microsoft, Facebook, and other online companies to experience server outages. In other cases, cloud computing services have lost customer data. Perhaps the most notable was the catastrophe with T-Mobile’s Sidekick smartphone service. In October 2009, T-Mobile informed its thousands of Sidekick users that it had lost their data and might not be able to recover it. It advised the users not to turn off their cell phones, as the data stored on them would be irrecoverable. The Sidekick uses a cloud computing data service from a Microsoft subsidiary ironically named Danger, Inc., to back up user data from smartphones. The data stored includes user contacts, calendars, notes, photos, text messages, and other data typically stored on mobile phones. The cloud storage system for this data failed and had no backup system in place. As angry Sidekick users posted comments online, the failure gained the attention of businesses and consumers. In the end, much of the data was recovered, and those who lost data were compensated with a $100 credit. Still, the incident is considered a black eye for T-Mobile and cloud computing. Similar incidents such as Gmail outages cause businesses to be leery about trusting cloud computing with important data. The City of Los Angeles has decided to trust Google and its online applications rather than using traditional software such as Microsoft Office. The decision was not made lightly. The $75-million contract came with several stipulations. Google has agreed to pay a considerable penalty if a security breach occurs. Google is legally responsible for any release of data in violation of a nondisclosure agreement. The city’s data must also be encrypted, stored on a dedicated server, and kept in the United States with limited access. Such assurances are essential if cloud computing is going to live up to its potential for businesses. Microsoft wants to see new laws designed to offer protection for data stored in the cloud and to enact stiffer penalties for hackers who attempt to illegally access it. Microsoft hopes that government support for cloud computing will spread globally so that data can be safe wherever it is stored within the global business infrastructure. “We need a free trade agreement for data”, says Brad Smith, senior vice president and general counsel at Microsoft. Without government assistance, open standards, and international cooperation, some fear that cloud computing will be controlled by two or three big companies, leaving smaller companies unable to compete. Users may be locked into one service provider’s proprietary system. Open standards, on the other hand, would allow customers to easily transfer their cloud computing services from one company to another. Smith calls for cloud computing vendors to band to together to establish open standards for data storage that provide transparency for security and privacy. “Simply put, it should not be enough for service providers simply to say that their services are private and secure,” Smith said. “There needs to be some transparency about why this is the case.” Jonathan Rochelle, a group product manager at Google, suggests that cloud computing isn’t any more dangerous than storing data on your own PC or server. “While it feels more comfortable, the same way the money under your mattress feels more comfortable, it may not be the best way to manage your information,” suggests Rochelle. The point is that the public is willing to trust banks and companies with their financial well-being, so why not trust the companies that provide cloud computing services with your information?

Reference no: EM13998140

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