“Building Trust in the Cloud, Step by Step”


Henning von Kielpinki, ConSol GmbH

Henning von Kielpinski, cloud expert at ConSol:

“The opportunities the cloud presents to business and private users of cloud services have been a subject of a conversation for some time. However, it is only now that the majority of users are beginning to get a handle on the potential applications of cloud technologies. Data security in the cloud and provider confidence are hot topics due to the fact that cloud services are playing an increasingly important role in data outsourcing, meaning that there is some overlap with big data. In addition, the possibility to migrate to other cloud providers and choosing the right cloud strategy add to the list of questions. How can and should the market face these challenges?

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Data Security

Attacks on cloud computing services have increased significantly over the past twelve months owing to the fact that data storage has become well established in cloud computing. It is vital that cloud services are secure and reliable, given the mainstream acceptance of cloud computing as a service provider or service enabling technology. It is necessary to use confidence building activities to also find a non-technical path now that end-to-end security, or in other words, the encryption of the entire application complex, is being presented as the most secure solution. However, while end-to-end security represents the optimal solution, this is often not feasible due to technical or financial constraints. Here, it is recommended to better explain the risks and benefits to users and providers in order to provide the most efficient solution. Neutral bodies should establish a means to compare these aspects, while avoiding the use of flashy buzz words. To this end, approaches are already visible in politics and in organizations such as EuroCloud or the BICC.net security network.

Clarity and Qualification of the Offer

Indeed, the large number of cloud providers reinforces the argument for an objective comparative matrix. Due to the large number of start-ups, cloud outsourcing customers risk committing themselves to a provider whose business model may prove unsustainable in the medium term. A comparability matrix of a dozen parameters at most could potentially provide relief here. It would apply to various providers and enable independent comparison. This way, it would be possible to consider the cost-benefit ratio. We can expect metrics that will make it possible to compare the performance and availability of different providers in the medium term and in terms of the clarity of the cloud market. As the cloud means mostly standardized packages, support for an initiative like this would also have to come from the providers in order to remain scalable. Individually negotiated solutions are likely to remain the exception due to their complexity. It is also possible that we will see various availabilities in the form of modules from one provider, as the likes of Amazon have already shown.

Automation and Rejection of Exclusively Proprietary Technology

It is impossible to avoid additional costs when switching cloud providers. However, proactive planning can help minimize these costs. The risk of a lost investment and a vendor lock-in can arise if there are no contingency plans in place or where 100-percent proprietary technology is used. For service providers, it means making proprietary software cloud-ready, or in other words, fully automated. In addition, it is essential that company processes can map this form of the service. It is still possible to make out some serious shortcomings here. On a technical level, it is worth attempting to establish an abstraction layer between the provider’s proprietary elements and the proprietary software. This makes it easier to switch to other cloud technologies. The framework used is key: Open-source systems such as OpenStack make it easy to switch from one service provider to another.

The Right Cloud Strategy: Public or Private Cloud

You cannot generalize when it comes to the question as to which cloud solution is the most suitable. This has to be determined on a case-by-case basis. That said, many companies that use private cloud solutions do not disclose this information for fear of damaging their image. They are hesitant because customer acceptance of cloud solutions remains poor. Nevertheless, the public cloud does not dominate the market. Constructions known as virtual private clouds, which are a hybrid of hosting, cloud, and managed services, are frequently used. They involve individual service and liability agreements with the provider. Use of the public cloud by businesses is more well-established in the U.S. They often have a more naive approach to data privacy issues, which may seem strange to European (and particularly German) customers. However, it gives users and providers there an opportunity to gain an edge in terms of experience.


The observations above confirm the need to assess the cloud market using standardized quality metrics in order to make the heterogeneity of the market easier to comprehend. In the future it will be crucial for competitiveness that providers reliably support their customers during migration to other systems and providers by making those services more flexible. These measures, which are also supported in EuroCloud and BICC.net, are sure to increase confidence in the cloud market. It is expected that smaller companies in particular will quickly recognize the advantages of cloud services.”