These are cloud users' top 2 concerns

These are cloud users' top 2 concerns

As a consultant advising clients about how to prepare a cloud adoption strategy, Ahmar Abbas hears lots of positive and negative thoughts.

But mostly, the head of DISYS's IT outsourcing and cloud computing division hears about two big concerns:

Who's snooping on my data?

Revelations last year about international and domestic mass-surveillance by government agencies have put cloud users on edge. Customers want to know if their data can be snooped on by their provider or some government, and how to prevent that from happening.

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Abbas says there are steps users can take to alleviate these concerns. First, know what your providers' policies are related to accessing customer data and responding to government requests for user data. Most providers have standard responses to these questions because they get them a lot, Abbas says. Equally important though, he says, is to be sure that providers inform customers of any changes to these policies. There are a lot of moving pieces, which means vendors may tweak their policies. It's important that users be informed of any changes to their vendors' privacy policies as well.

How to control your cloud costs

Adopting a public Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) cloud computing platform ushers in a new era of ease of access to resources. Now more than ever, developers and engineers can easily access virtual machines and storage through a portal like Amazon Web Services. That's great, but it can lead to over-use of the resources, users have found. Abbas calls it the "paradox of abundance."

"Once it becomes very easy to access infrastructure through point and click deployment, if you don't control it properly you can get system sprawl pretty quickly," he says. Companies are looking for tools to track and keep tabs on what infrastructure services are being used.

The good news is there are plenty of third-party tools on the market. Some track your usage, others can optimize your performance, and still others can provide forecasting of future use. Cloudamize, Cloudyn and VMTurbo are just some examples of companies providing such services. But a word of warning from Abbas: Using multiple services can add up to significant additional costs for the end user. One way to avoid this is to get usage data that vendors like AWS provide to users. By using APIs, DISYS helps users set up alerts to warn administrators when certain thresholds of spending or usage are being approached or exceeded.

Senior Writer Brandon Butler covers cloud computing for Network World and He can be reached at and found on Twitter at @BButlerNWW. Read his Cloud Chronicles here.  

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