Taking Stock: Spotting a cloud bluffer

THERE’S NOTHING LIKE a bit of cloud computing. In fact, TS disappears into the cloud at least two, or three, times a day. Good for the digestion, TS finds.

So we were intrigued to note that the latest Accountex show certainly had a cloudy flavour about it (tastes like meringue, by the way).

Intuit biz head Nick Williams said that 88% of small and medium businesses expect their accountant to be ‘on the cloud’. Xero said that 65% of UK practices already use the cloud, or are planning to do so, up 12% (up from 53%? – Ed) from 2013.

So, on that note, TS’ good friend Dr Peter Chadha (CEO of DrPete Inc and chairman at Steegle.com), has outlined how clients might look to spot a ‘cloud bluffer’. You have been warned:

1. Thin on facts – Bogus cloud operators are very thin on details – they can never give examples of use, other than Dropbox and they often have very little long term planning. They think more about entering the cloud than they do about exiting it.

2. Cloud washing products – Products that have been around for years have been ‘cloud washed’ by just adding cloud to their product name. Backups are now cloud backups, suddenly servers are cloud servers and network devices are cloud enabled. Even though it’s the same backups, servers and network devices that were around a decade ago!

3. Contract terms give away the bogus cloud operators – It’s quite common for hosts to dress up and try to pass themselves off as clouds. Beware any firm that talks about contracts with fixed medium-term capacity commitments. Another giveaway is the one day notice period for changes. If they need 24 hours’ notice to scale up your capacity, they’re not a cloud operator as this means they have to ask their provider to manually adjust capacity on your behalf.

4. Public cloud nausea – They feign disgust at the public cloud services (the Amazon, Google & Microsoft etc) and trump up fears of big brother when true futurologists and cloud-gurus know this is where at 75 per cent of cloud computing is heading for normal businesses.

5. Jargon busting – Acronyms and defensive jargon signify a fatal lack of confidence, and this behaviour is actually doing us all a disservice and undermining those of us in the cloud that provide a reliable service, or specialist advice.

6. Exiting – when you ask about how you can move to another cloud – they question your intelligence. Graceful exit (data liberation from their claws) with guarantees of support is what you need.

So there you go folks. Are in in the cloud, touching the cloud, or is your head above it? Whatever, thinks TS. On such a nice day, there aren’t actually many real clouds about. Enjoy.

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