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Cloud Clarity Needed to Protect Confused Buyers

Cloud vendors must establish one definition for cloud to protect buyers falling foul of multiple interpretations of the technology.

With more and more providers joining the cloud market and confusion still reigning over what the term actually means, baffled buyers are at risk of paying over the odds for technology that isn’t technically cloud, or worse entrusting their business data in unsuitable cloud solutions.

This is the warning from a panel of technology experts who gathered at a round table event to discuss the different ways that companies define cloud, and whether the confusion is causing businesses to invest in something they don’t understand.

Simon Swan, co-founder of online recruitment marketplace HiringHub.com said: “There is a real cause for someone to put together a dictionary for the cloud. Define the key terms and then whoever deals with IT in a business can go to that place and get the information. Then they will have a grasp of it before they engage with a cloud company.
“You have got to educate your audience. There needs to be a resource there for them, because they need to have confidence in the infrastructure.”

Lawrence Jones, CEO at cloud and colocation company UKFast, said: “We see different definitions of hosting, hybrid and cloud from every provider. To us, hybrid is where the whole solution is in a data centre, and part of it is dedicated and part of it shared.

“People don’t ask the question about what it all means. No-one would ever ask what the technology of the cloud is, they just log on and move on. We make sure that we have the conversation with clients asking why they want to move to the cloud and work out the best option from there – whether that’s cloud or dedicated.”

Tony Pepper, CEO and co-founder of Egress Software Technologies, explained that the confusion is market-wide as, despite organisations like the Cloud Industry Forum creating universal definitions, many firms continue to use their own.

Pepper said: “There is a real misunderstanding in the market, because everyone has their own definitions. It used to be very black and white, but now because services work so closely together it is a lot greyer. It keeps changing. For example, how many people using this cloud model understand liability?”
But Nick Kavanagh, operations director at Gteq, disagreed with the point, saying that he believes that, thanks to cloud sneaking its way into our personal lives more and more, businesses are more “cloud savvy” than they realise.

He said: “Businesses have been using it [the cloud] for a long time. Email systems like Hotmail, or programmes like Dropbox are all cloud-based. People don’t realise they are using it but they have been, and they are comfortable with it.”

The panel gathered at a round table debate held by hosting and colocation firm UKFast to discuss the evolution of cloud and its effects on business.

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