In 2022, many companies want to realign their cloud strategy. If you don’t want to fall into the trap of vendor lock-in, you should take a close look 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 gravitational center of the entire IT in the future. The IDC study “Cloud infrastructures and architectures in 2021” came to the same conclusion. For the transformation to a digital infrastructure framework with the cloud as the central deployment model, companies should lay the foundation with a well-thought-out cloud strategy.
In addition, companies that rely on cloud providers from the USA face severe fines. The reason: You violate the General Data Protection Regulation (EU-DSGVO) and thus 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 small print of the cloud offering and what criteria should cloud solutions meet?
Cloud Strategy: One-Way Ticket For Enterprise 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 also attracting companies in the cloud environment today with more favourable conditions when concluding long contract terms. On the other hand, anyone who requires a lot of knowledge to operate cloud infrastructures, such as Amazon Web Services or Azure, tries to make companies dependent with a different strategy: If companies have laboriously built up the necessary know-how, they will go far by changing providers rarely consider, but remain 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 also be fatal for companies: Cloud providers are happy to support data transmission in their cloud infrastructure up to the tera, PETA or even exabyte range. However, if a company wants to retrieve its data from the cloud, the willingness to help is quickly over. Because while there are no or low fees to be paid for the migration to the cloud, the providers are happy to pay dearly for the return ticket of 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 corporate construct. It is then almost impossible for customers to understand where their data is going and who can access it.
Avoid Privacy Violations And Fines
Companies should now pull the ripcord and look for suitable alternative cloud providers. Primarily when future IIoT or AI projects are planned, companies should act before they continue to transfer massive amounts of data to the cloud, which sooner or later will have to be retrieved at great expense. The following criteria can help when looking for suitable alternatives and when selecting a cloud provider:
Companies are already relying on more security and privacy with a provider. The server infrastructure should be self-operated and highly available. Important to note: Even if a provider advertises hosting data on servers, this information can be misleading. Because data stored has also been subject to the Cloud Act since 2018. If the provider’s headquarters are in the USA, US authorities can access their data for companies.
Data Processing By Third-Party Providers
When it comes to data processing by third parties, companies should also take a close look at the small print. Third-party providers are when information about the behaviour, 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 providers of script, font or analytics services.
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 explicitly purchased and your data does not end up on 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 see for themselves in the code that agreements are kept. This is how companies remain independent and flexible.
Providers who collect and store as little data as possible from companies themselves have also proven their worth. The zero-knowledge principle guarantees, for example, that the provider himself has no way of accessing protected data. With client-side end-to-end encryption, companies create the conditions for data to remain secure, even if the provider falls victim to a cybercrime attack. Because the data is hosted on the provider’s servers, its key always remains in the customer’s hands.
Two-factor authentication can also protect storage and mail systems against unauthorised access. Automatic versioning of the stored data, for example, via snapshots, offers protection against mutual overwriting while working on documents together. And also includes special protection against ransomware attacks and data loss.
Cloud Strategy Is The Basis For Corporate Success
Companies today are networked worldwide and store data in the cloud. They also use software, social networks and web conference systems from international providers for communication. At the same time, international data transfer is becoming increasingly complex. A well-thought-out cloud strategy is indispensable for companies today. Anyone who relies on a scalable, secure and efficient cloud solution creates an essential 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. Anyone who pays attention to the criteria mentioned for cloud and email hosting takes the protection of their data into their own hands and already creates enormous improvements.