Cloud security 101: Vendor lock-in

What happens when you want to shift your data to another Cloud provider?

Vendors come and go and so do organisational requirements. So, what happens when you want to shift your data to another Cloud provider?

Frost & Sullivan ICT practice research director, Arun Chandrasekaran says the great promise of Cloud — compared to on-premise software, hardware and services — is that it is meant to unshackle customers from vendor lock-in. But do today’s Cloud providers live up to this?

This article is part of a Computerworld Australia series looking at the issues surrounding Cloud security and reliability.

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“Let’s assume that I am using CRM from vendor A and hosting it offsite,” he says.

“After using the CRM platform for three years, how easy is it for me to shift it in house or to another Cloud provider?”

These, Chandrasekaran believes, are the kind of questions that customers should ask their Cloud providers before they even think about putting pen to contract paper.

Gartner research director, Rob McMillan, says Cloud lock-in is a new field where people have to negotiate contracts because unless “get out” clauses have been negotiated and put in the contract, customers will likely be locked in for a period of time.

“There needs to be Cloud industry standards,” he says. “We’ve had standards for security that have been around for years and are well known, such as ISO 2000. These are necessary but not sufficient for what we need in public Cloud.”

According to McMillan, there are Cloud standards in development but a time frame on when they would be released has not been set.

However, he says this is an area that end user organisations will need to keep an eye on so they can start using those standards when they become available.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

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