The Lighter Side Of The Cloud – Recovery Backup
The Lighter Side Of The Cloud – Whoops!
The Lighter Side Of The Cloud – Synchronization
The Lighter Side Of The Cloud – Passwords
The Lighter Side Of The Cloud – The Escape

Stuck In The Clouds: The Issue Of Data Ownership

Stuck In The Clouds: The Issue Of Data Ownership

While the immediate benefits of cloud services are typically clear to new users, individuals and businesses alike are becoming increasingly aware of a looming issue: vendor lock-in. As these users amass large amounts of data in their cloud-based accounts, from email to pictures and everything in between, they are learning that exporting that data can pose a significant challenge.

Vendors often rely on the fact that once you are comfortable using their services it is difficult to leave and move that data out or to another service. For individuals, this can mean that their cherished digital data such as pictures, videos, music, email and more may be locked away without reasonable methods of exporting or transferring it to a different service. The issue is often even more severe for businesses; certain data such as email, customer relationship management (CRM) information, documents, contacts, calendars and company intranet sites are crucial to the daily operations and continued success of a company. The reduced control that often comes with adopting a cloud service, as contrasted with an on-premise solution, means that this data can remain entrenched within the confines of the current cloud service. This inconvenient reality can manifest itself in several ways, including difficulty exporting the data, moving data to a new employee account when another leaves the company, or moving the data for all accounts to a new cloud service. Innovation, customer satisfaction and overall experience should be the reasons to stay with a cloud service, not vendor lock-in.

APIs to the rescue?

Yes…and no; many cloud service providers recognize, in part, the need to provide some level of open access to users’ data by providing application programming interfaces (APIs) for their services. These APIs allow access for cloud service users to design in-house software for utilizing data stored in the service, or for third-party developers to design software functionality for integration with additional services. As a cloud-based data management and migration company, we develop tools that work with APIs of various service providers to solve these data portability issues. The following brief overview highlights how some of the most popular business tool providers treat data portability concerns in two crucial areas: email & collaboration tools and sales & CRM tools.

Email and collaboration:

Google – Google provides access to a number of APIs for developers in a myriad of ways, and specifically within Google Apps for its business customers. The APIs and level of access provided by Google are so powerful that they have spawned entire separate businesses that augment Google Apps functionality. Integration with these APIs is so prevalent that there is now a robust array of applications in the Google Apps Marketplace.

Office 365 – Microsoft has taken strides with its cloud-based email and collaboration suite, Office 365, to provide options for migration and archiving. Microsoft has included functionality for migration both directly and also via API access for integration with other tools. Additionally, it has included archiving functionality with Office 365, but only at the most expensive tiers. While this is a step in the right direction, potential clients should be aware of different service level limitations.

CRM and sales T=tools

Salesforce – It is hard to think about the cloud and not think of Salesforce. The company has been a major proponent of online services for its CRM platform, but how does it fare with data portability? While Salesforce offers export functionality, the data is broken up into multiple CSV files, which can be cumbersome for some users to manage. You may receive one file for each table in your database, which you then have to upload to a new CRM. Salesforce APIs are available to migrate to another CRM and there are many open source and third-party options available, such as CopyForce.

SugarCRM – SugarCRM is an increasingly popular CRM tool. Sugar offers both easy import and export functionality. The export process in particular is very easy to use in order to import data into another tool or store it locally. While there are options for high degrees of customization with SugarCRM, additional modifications are not necessary for customers who want to move services. This type of data portability allows customers to focus on features, and not vendor lock-in, when considering a CRM tool.

Insightly – Insightly offers a combination CRM and project management tool in one, and is committed to providing multiple options for data portability. It provides API access for advanced integration as well as end-user functionality for easy and useful data export. The API offers basic and essential methods for a deep level of access for those companies that can invest in software development. For others that cannot, your sales and project data is exportable in XML format and the contacts records and, crucially, the notes, are exportable through standard CSV files.

Beyond APIs?

APIs made available by service providers do not, on their own, answer the need for cloud data portability. The most obvious limitation of APIs is simply the need to invest in software development. If a service’s sole method of data removal is an API, then surely this isn’t accessible to many individuals, SMBs and even enterprises that have chosen not to invest. Data access methods are best implemented when they incorporate features that are accessible and practical for users and admins alike.

As users come to rely heavily or even exclusively on cloud services for their business data, we anticipate that an increasingly important feature will be the data portability provided by these services to the end users and non-developers.

By Bob Greenlees,

Bob is the director of operations at ShuttleCloud, a leading cloud data portability platform. Bob leads business development at ShuttleCloud and is responsible for customer success. He is an all around startup hustler and has a background in IP law.

Follow Us!

CloudTweaks

Established in 2009, CloudTweaks.com is recognized as one of the leading authorities in cloud computing information. Most of the excellent CloudTweaks articles are provided by our own paid writers, with a small percentage provided by guest authors from around the globe, including CEOs, CIOs, Technology bloggers and Cloud enthusiasts. Our goal is to continue to build a growing community offering the best in-depth articles, interviews, event listings, whitepapers, infographics and much more...
Follow Us!

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.

Recent

Mobile Connectivity Rises – 24 Billion Networked Devices By 2019

Mobile Connectivity Rises – 24 Billion Networked Devices By 2019

Mobile Connectivity Rises Mobile Technologies such as BYOD, Wearable Technology and Internet of Things are the cornerstone to strong cloud computing adoption and will continue to be the case as the number of connected devices continue to climb. In May 2015, Cisco released the complete VNI Global IP Traffic Forecast, 2014 – 2019. Global highlights…

9 Pitfalls of Providing Cloud-Based Online Government Services

9 Pitfalls of Providing Cloud-Based Online Government Services

Cloud-Based Online Government Services Pitfalls When the US government designed the Affordable Care Act, a key part of the program was to encourage enrollment through the Healthcare.gov website. This online service was supposed to make it easier for citizens to learn about the ACA, compare their health insurance options, and take full advantage of this…

IOT, Intelligent Sensors, And The Change That Is Coming…

IOT, Intelligent Sensors, And The Change That Is Coming…

Intelligent Sensors And The Future What is or isn’t connected: In the end, that is the internet of things. They, the things, represent stuff that has been around for the past 30 years. It was only recently that we have developed a way to consistently connect those devices. Despite the increasing awareness of IoT, it…

Popular Archives

Five Cloud Questions Every CIO Needs To Know How To Answer

Five Cloud Questions Every CIO Needs To Know How To Answer

The Hot Seat Five cloud questions every CIO needs to know how to answer The cloud is a powerful thing, but here in the CloudTweaks community, we already know that. The challenge we have is validating the value it brings to today’s enterprise. Below, let’s review five questions we need to be ready to address…

Cloud Infographic: Corporate IT Security Stats

Cloud Infographic: Corporate IT Security Stats

Cloud Infographic: Corporate IT Security Stats Each week on CloudTweaks we provide a few shoutouts to companies who provide engaging and interesting infographics that reflect our readers interests.  In this case, we have an excellent infographic provided by the team at arellia.com which takes a closer look at cyber-security and some of the biggest malware threats…

Sponsors

The Many Hats Of Today’s IT Managers

The Many Hats Of Today’s IT Managers

The Many Hats of IT Managers In years past, the IT department of most large organizations was much like a version of Middle Earth: a mysterious nether world where people who seemed infinitely smarter than the rest of us bustled around, speaking and typing languages that appeared indecipherable, yet, which made our world work. They…

Selling Your Business To Your Employees

Selling Your Business To Your Employees

Mobility For Your Employees It may seem a radical notion, the idea of selling your business to the people who work for you, but this is the era in which we now work. Employees of all levels are all incredibly aware of their options when it comes to mobility and employability. This doesn’t mean that…

Established in 2009

CloudTweaks is recognized as one of the leading influencers in cloud computing, big data and internet of things (IoT) information. Our goal is to continue to build our growing information portal, by providing the best in-depth articles, interviews, event listings, whitepapers, infographics and much more.

CloudTweaks Comic Library

Advertising