Users of cloud services become dependent on their provider. When choosing a cloud service, users are often unclear about the criteria they should set and the criteria a cloud service fulfils.
A clear example of this arises upon termination of the cloud service. In the case of in-house IT applications, after termination of the lifecycle the application and the data processed and stored within it will, generally speaking, still be available to the user. However, this is by no means guaranteed when a cloud service is terminated. Agreements will have to be made with the provider regarding the conditions under which data remains available. Many providers have standard solutions for this.
Another example of dependence occurs when one of the suppliers in the chain of cloud services discontinues their service. In such a case, the measures that the user should take are very different to those for in-house IT applications. A final example of dependence is the necessary cooperation of the provider if the user wishes to switch to a different cloud service. If the provider doesn’t want to cooperate, there is a risk of ‘vendor lock-in’.
In consultation with providers, users and branch organisations, the Online Trust Coalition plans to draft guidance for consumers on the important issues to be taken into account when selecting a cloud service and a provider.