Cloud Strategy: Many companies want to realign their cloud strategy in 2022. If you don’t want to fall into the trap of vendor lock-in, you should look carefully when choosing a provider and observe critical criteria.
While the use of the cloud was limited to the data center for many companies in the early years, it will increasingly become the center of gravity for all IT in the future. This is the result of the IDC study “Cloud Infrastructures and Architectures in 2021”. To transform to a digital infrastructure framework with the cloud as the central delivery model, companies should lay the foundation with a successful thought-out cloud strategy.
In addition, companies that rely on cloud providers from the USA face severe fines. The reason: You violate the European General Data Protection Regulation (EU-GDPR) and thus against EU law. Fines of up to 20 million euros are possible. However, there are a few things to consider when realigning the cloud strategy. Because some cloud providers rely on sophisticated and opaque techniques to bind companies to themselves – keyword vendor lock-in, where should those responsible take a close look at the fine print of the cloud offering, and which criteria should cloud solutions meet?
Cloud Strategy: One-Way Ticket For Company Data
The strategy is well-known, but it still works for many providers: With the vendor lock-in, providers have been relying on long maintenance contracts and incompatible interfaces when selling software for decades to retain customers. Providers are now attracting companies in the cloud environment with more favorable conditions when concluding long contract periods. Those who, on the other hand, requires a lot of knowledge for the operation of cloud infrastructures, such as Amazon Web Services or Azure, try to make companies dependent with a different strategy: If companies have laboriously built up the necessary know-how, they will switch providers consider less but stay loyal to the provider.
Cloud Strategy: Customer Loyalty Through Vendor Lock-Ins
Last but not least, the mass of data that has already been transferred can be a disaster for companies: The cloud providers are happy to support data transfer to their cloud infrastructure in the tera, PETA, or even exabyte range. However, if a company wants to get its data back from the cloud, the willingness to help is quickly over. Because while there are little or no fees to be paid for the migration to the cloud, the providers are happy to pay dearly for the return ticket for the data.
This dubious customer loyalty strategy through vendor lock-ins often works: Companies stay with the provider and are highly dependent on them because they shy away from costs and effort. Even in the event of price increases or significant changes in the range of services, the user has little choice but to accept the new conditions. This also applies if, for example, the cloud provider changes hands and suddenly belongs to an opaque company structure. Customers can hardly understand where their data is going and who can access it.
Avoid Violations Of Data Protection And Fines
Companies should now pull the ripcord and look for suitable alternative cloud providers. Primarily when IIoT or AI projects are planned in the future, companies should act before they continue to transfer massive amounts of data to the cloud that they will have to fetch back sooner or later. When looking for suitable alternatives and choosing a cloud provider, the following criteria can help:
Companies are already fundamentally relying on more security and privacy with a provider. The server infrastructure should be in-house, highly available, and in Germany. Important to note: Even if a provider advertises hosting data on servers, this information can be misleading. Because data stored in this country has also been subject to the Cloud Act since 2018, if the provider’s headquarters are in the USA, for companies, this means: US authorities are allowed to access their data.
Data Processing By Third-Party Providers
When it comes to data processing by third parties, companies should also take a careful look at the small print. We speak of third-party providers when information about the behavior, reading habits, or preferences of a website visitor is passed on to the website operator and third parties. These can be internet or server service providers and script, font, or analytics services providers.
If a cloud service provider works with third-party providers, it is often difficult for customers to understand where their data is sent. Especially when advertisers are involved, there is hardly any transparency. Companies should therefore pay attention to whether cooperation with third-party providers is excluded when choosing a cloud provider. And whether fonts have been specially purchased (that is, they do not have to be downloaded via Google or Adobe) and their data does not reach other servers.
Cloud Strategy: Rely On Open Source Software
If you don’t want to fall into the trap of vendor lock-in and value transparency, you should also rely on the use of open-source software: If a cloud provider works with open source, companies can convince themselves in the code that those agreements are kept. This is how companies stay independent and flexible.
Providers who collect and store as little data as possible from companies themselves have also proven themselves. The zero-knowledge principle, for example, guarantees that the provider himself has no way of accessing protected data. With end-to-end encryption on the client-side, companies create the prerequisites for keeping their data secure, even if the provider falls victim to a cybercrime attack. Because the data is hosted on the provider’s servers, the key always remains in the customer’s hands.
Two-factor authentication can also protect storage and mail systems against unauthorized access. Automatic versioning of the stored data, for example, via snapshots, offers protection against mutual overwriting while working together on documents. And also includes special protection against ransomware attacks and data loss.
Cloud Strategy Is The Basis For Corporate Success
Today companies are networked around the world and store data in the cloud. They also use international providers’ software, social networks, and web conference systems for communication. At the same time, international data transfer is becoming more and more complex. A healthy thought-out cloud strategy is essential for companies today. Anyone who relies on a scalable, secure, and efficient cloud solution creates a necessary basis for future corporate success. Companies should act now and choose suitable alternative cloud solutions to prevent fines for data protection violations and vendor lock-in. A lot can be achieved with simple means. If you pay attention to the criteria mentioned for cloud and email hosting, you take the protection of your data into your own hands and already create enormous improvements.