Should Cloud Computing Service Providers Screen Potential Customers?

Should Cloud Computing Service Providers Screen Potential Customers?

The World Wide Web is full of articles advising consumers on what they should look for when choosing a cloud provider, how they should negotiate contracts with providers, what danger signs they should be aware of and a plethora of other advice. However, an extremely illuminating article that I read recently on IT World (See: What should cloud providers know about their customers?) made me think from the other side of the fence – “Should cloud computing service providers screen potential customers?”

Many would consider this line of thinking ludicrous. After all, what business it is of cloud providers to screen customers, as long as they pay for services rendered? Do other sellers of goods or services screen customers? Turns out, many do. If you were to go to a bank and open a safe deposit box, the bank will definitely run a background check even if they don’t scrutinize what you actually keep in that deposit box. Whether we like it or not, we live in dangerous times where criminals and terrorists are getting increasingly sophisticated by the day. Therefore, vetting customers who would be granted access to systems that are used by other customers to store confidential and proprietary information may not be unreasonable.

There are other considerations at play here. Under the PATRIOT Act, American investigating agencies have sweeping powers of search and seizure that extend to the realm of cloud computing as well. Whether we like it or not (See: Is Cloud Computing a Threat to Consumer Rights? ), whether it adversely affects business or not (See: Your Data in Australia is subject to the US Patriot Act), companies have to follow the law. While I am not a lawyer, I am sure that the FBI wouldn’t look kindly on a cloud provider who takes on a terrorist organization as a customer.

Finally, there’s the matter of being accountable to shareholders and other customers. All cloud computing companies have terms of service that must be adhered to. In that light, preemptive screening may actually help reduce monitoring costs and prevent Amazon’s WikiLeaks fiasco (See: Cloud Computing and WikiLeaks: Was Amazon’s action justified?). Please note that I neither endorse nor condemn Amazon’s actions in this regard, but am trying to present a balanced opinion.

As it happens, some companies are already thinking along these lines. The aforementioned article that set me thinking mentions a blog post (See: IBM Vets IaaS Customers To Ensure Security) which reported an interview with an IBM executive who was quoted saying, “An individual can’t simply sign up with a credit card” to use IBM services. Rich Lechner, vice president of cloud for IBM’s Global Technology Services unit, stated that IBM monitors the identity of each customer using its cloud service so that they know “who is in the building.”

Other organizations did not categorically deny such screening. Amazon Web Services spokesperson Kay Kinton had responded to an email saying, “We do not inspect customer data,” but then mentioned the use of “sophisticated screening up front to protect against fraud and abuse before customers are allowed to consume our services and then to scale.”

Personally speaking, I would not be surprised if some screening procedures are already in place. As for the justification of such actions, I will let you decide.

By Sourya Biswas

sourya

Sourya Biswas is a former risk analyst who has worked with several financial organizations of international repute, besides being a freelance journalist with several articles published online. After 6 years of work, he has decided to pursue further studies at the University of Notre Dame, where he has completed his MBA. He holds a Bachelors in Engineering from the Indian Institute of Information Technology. He is also a member of high-IQ organizations Mensa and Triple Nine Society and has been a prolific writer to CloudTweaks over the years... http://www.cloudtweaks.com/author/sourya/
FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogle+Share

2 Responses to Should Cloud Computing Service Providers Screen Potential Customers?

  1. This may be the “responsible” path for hosting companies to take.  Still, I’m concerned with the just-hand-it-over to ‘the Feds’ attitude within the industry.  Won’t anyone (major provider) fight a subpoena?

Join Our Newsletter

Receive updates each week on news, tips, events, comics and much more...

Advertising Programs

Click To Find Out!

Sponsored Posts

Sponsored Posts

CloudTweaks has enjoyed a great relationship with many businesses, influencers and readers over the years, and it is one that we are interested in continuing. When we meet up with prospective clients, our intent is to establish a more solid relationship in which our clients invest in a campaign that consists of a number of

Popular

Top Viral Impact

Cloud Computing Adoption Continues

Cloud Computing Adoption Continues

Cloud Computing Adoption Continues Nowadays, many companies are changing their overall information technology strategies to embrace cloud computing in order to open up business opportunities.  There are numerous definitions of cloud computing. Simply speaking, the term “cloud computing” comes from network diagrams in which cloud shapes are  used to describe certain types of networks. All

Cloud Infographic – Cloud Computing And SMEs

Cloud Infographic – Cloud Computing And SMEs

Cloud Infographic – Cloud Computing And SMEs SMEs (Small/Medium Sized Enterprises) make up the bulk of businesses today. Most cloud based applications created today are geared toward the SME market. Accounting, Storage, Backup services are just a few of them. According to the European Commission, cloud based technology could help 80% of organisations reduce costs by

Cloud Infographic: Most Used Cloud Apps

Cloud Infographic: Most Used Cloud Apps

Cloud app and analytics company, Netskope released its quarterly Cloud Report. The new report reveals that enterprise employees are using an average of 397 different cloud apps (most of which are unsanctioned), when IT estimated they have 40-50 — that’s a tenfold underestimation. Below is an infographic provided courtesy of the group at Netskope which goes into further detail.

Can I Contribute To CloudTweaks?

Yes, much of our focus in 2015 will be on working with other influencers in a collaborative manner. If you're a technology influencer looking to collaborate long term with CloudTweaks – a globally recognized leader in cloud computing information – drop us an email with “tech influencer” in the subject line.

Please review the guidelines before applying.

Whitepapers

Top Research Assets

HP OpenStack® Technology Breaking the Enterprise Barrier

HP OpenStack® Technology Breaking the Enterprise Barrier

Explore how cloud computing is a solution to the problems facing data centers today and highlights the cutting-edge technology (including OpenStack cloud computing) that HP is bringing to the current stage. If you are a CTO, data center administrator, systems architect, or an IT professional looking for an enterprise-grade, hybrid delivery cloud computing solution that’s open,

Public Cloud Flexibility, Private Cloud Security

Public Cloud Flexibility, Private Cloud Security

Public Cloud Flexibility, Private Cloud Security Cloud applications are a priority for every business – the technology is flexible, easy-to-use, and offers compelling economic benefits to the enterprise. The challenge is that cloud applications increase the potential for corporate data to leak, raising compliance and security concerns for IT. A primary security concern facing organizations moving