While 2021 promises to bring many advances in cloud technology, the field still faces some significant hurdles. One of the biggest issues standing in the way of widespread adoption of the cloud is trust.
The public is not keen on using a technology that it does not inherently trust, especially considering the sensitivity of much of the information stored on cloud-based networks. Distrust of cloud networks stems from several different issues. For example, many people still do not understand exactly what the cloud is or understand the value that it can bring to an organization. From these two issues derive many misunderstandings related to security, accessibility, and reliability. Moving forward, a great deal of work needs to be done to build trust in this technology. Some strategies for accomplishing this include the following:
1. Increase protection for remote environments.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, more people are working from home than ever before. Secure remote work environments have become extremely important to companies across the world. Unfortunately, opportunistic threats have been on the rise as hackers try to take advantage of the situation. Across a number of different industries, these individuals are targeting high-value data. A wide variety of threats, including ransomware, were successfully used to attack important industries toward the end of 2020.
To build greater trust in cloud technologies, providers need to focus on protecting remote work environments and preventing these sorts of attacks. Providers have a responsibility to warn their clients of the threats and ensure they have the tools necessary for protection. While this may mean making frequent adjustments to security processes, doing so will only increase confidence among users.
2. Communicate openly and transparently.
Companies and individuals depend on the cloud systems they use every day. This dependence can result in a lot of anxiety when communication is not open and transparent.
When cloud providers consistently communicate the changes they make to systems, they gradually build trust among their clients. Customers want to receive these updates, whether they relate to availability, overall operations, security, or otherwise, so cloud companies should not worry about over-communicating.
Transparency is also key. Even if the update is not positive, the fact that the provider recognized a problem and is working to address it is reassuring. This level of transparency also opens up bidirectional communication and makes clients feel more welcome to ask questions or bring up problems.
3. Offer assistance with cloud products.
Not all clients will understand how to take full advantage of the cloud services they purchase. When providers take the time to work closely with clients and show them how they can use the service to expand their business and even scale their operations, those companies will inherently start to trust the provider. Cloud-based innovations can radically shift how companies operate, but these organizations may be hesitant to take full advantage. A provider that talks openly about opportunities and offers support during the transition shows clients that their success is valued.
Providers can even invest in ways to help clients drive growth, such as hyperscale data centers, which are designed to scale quickly with expanding companies. Modern hyperscale data centers are already responsible for nearly 40 percent of all Internet traffic.
4. Facilitate easy access to critical data.
Cloud system customers frequently have questions about security, privacy, and compliance. While cloud providers need to remain open to answering questions related to these topics, they can also address the issue by creating automated processes. For example, it is relatively simple to create a self-service portal for customers to initiate requests for information and collect important data. Through this portal, customers could also access audit reports, industry certifications, and more. Plus, the portal simplifies the process of getting critical information. Clients may be afraid to ask too many questions because they do not want to burden the provider, but automating the process allows clients to access the information easily on their own, which can provide peace of mind and increase overall trust.
5. Create clear guides related to the product.
While it may seem obvious, offering clear guides about security and other processes related to cloud products is a great way to drive trust. For many people, cloud technology is new and something that they may not understand completely. These guides are a great way to complement existing knowledge and fill in the gaps to some extent. Also, research has shown that a significant portion of security incidents related to the cloud resulted from misconfigurations and errors in implementation.
Guides will help companies ensure they are setting up their systems how they would like while not leaving themselves vulnerable. Although guides are not a replacement for assistance with implementation, they can help avoid issues that jeopardize trust. Plus, they help instill confidence that the product is secure (provided that setup is done correctly).