There has historically been an air of skepticism in regard to the cloud. Businesses concerned about their providers' abilities to meet security and availability demands have been hesitant to move their assets to cloud storage. However, service providers are making headway in gaining customers' trust by fostering transparency through clear service-level agreements. Forbes contributor Louis Columbus recently explored the issue of trust in cloud computing. He described a scenario in which an IT decision maker asked for an audit only to find out that a cloud vendor could not deliver on the promises. Despite these early challenges, there are many things that industry players are doing better, which has generated improved confidence in the technology. Some of these actions include:
- Flexible SLAs: Cloud storage companies and other providers are moving away from the one-size-fits-all approach to delivering services.
- Service testing: It has become increasingly important to back up promises with proven results, either by subjecting to third-party testing or acquiring certifications.
- Pilot projects: Companies that start off with small-scale projects benefit from seeing the value of their cloud deployments before making a much larger investment.
"Trust is the greatest accelerator there is in cloud computing's growing adoption, and that's earned when cloud applications get beyond simple metrics to delivering insights and useful intelligence on secured platforms," Columbus wrote.
Another industry shift that has helped counter skepticism is the movement toward open source paradigms. Writing for Computerworld, Seth Payne, senior product manager at Skytap, suggested vendors could build better relationships with buyers by being transparent about their data center specifications, cloud storage architectures and SLAs. While it may seem like making this information available would give competitors an advantage, Payne said the net effect of providing such data would be positive.