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Whether you call it Software as a Service (SaaS), Managed Service Provider (MSP) or On-Demand Services, your organization uses the service running “in the cloud”. This blog will discuss these services, their benefits, drawbacks and operations. Are we biased? Yes. We believe that some services make sense for most organizations. Email security is one of those. However as Mark Twain said, “All generalizations are false, even this one.” Each Tuesday we will post information and questions about Software as a Service. Occasionally, we will have a "Guest Post" from either a consultant or vendor posting her/his thoughts on Managed Services generally as well as some degree of specificity based on her/his unique perspective. We encourage your insights, comments and feedback. Welcome.


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Concerns About SaaS – Data Ownership

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While the “Future of SaaS” Survey had only been open for a short time, the trend of the responses to the question: Are There Any Concerns or Reluctance to Using Cloud-based Services? were clear. Even though the remaining options are getting votes, the top four answers are as we expected.

  • Security – Does anyone have unauthorized access to my data in the “cloud”? (57% of respondents)
  • Uptime – Can I get to my data when I need to? (62%)
  • Data Ownership – Who owns our data? (52%)
  • Retrieve-ability – Can we retrieve our data if we want to take it back on-premise? (48%)

Respondents are permitted to select more than one concern.

We may see some shift in the ordering of these concerns but, we expect these to remain the top four. We will discuss Ownership in this series of blog entries.

Click the link to download the results in our Whitepaper- The Future of SaaS – Survey Results.

Data Ownership

Well duh, it’s our data so of course we own it! Really? Are you sure? After all, it’s on some other company’s computer. Facebook’s recent attempt to change its terms of use brought up this topic for another look.

This topic has been banged around for some time now so it is no surprise that 52% of the survey respondents are concerned about it.

“Why would the provider want to take ownership of a client’s data?” There is no benefit to a SaaS provider taking ownership or control of a client’s data. The SaaS provider is in the business of providing the client with services not pirating your data. The SLA and agreement should cover the contingencies.

An interesting article entitled, Cloud service consumers have the right to retain ownership, use and control of their own data is found at Data Ownership and Control 6 Rights for Cloud Service Customers in CIO Zone.

The Legal Ownership Question

What happens when the client is faced with an e-Discovery demand? This is another reason SaaS providers have no interest in ownership of a client’s data. They would be embroiled every time any of their clients was sued.

Virtually all e-Discovery today contains a request for all email sent or received by the relevant parties pertaining to the items listed in the complaint. So what if a sheriff comes knocking on a SaaS provider’s door with a subpoena for access to a client’s records?  A recent interesting article discusses this issue.

Regardless of your personal, political or patriotic position on the WikiLeaks saga; as a consumer of cloud computing services you have to feel comfortable that your business is your business and should only be taken down by someone that has legal authority – not your hosting provider under pressure from their government. Amazon Confirms Public Cloud Fears.

It is your data regardless whether it is held in your data center or on a virtual server in the cloud. To make a long blog shorter, the legal dictum, Vox emissa volat, litera scripta manet. (While words spoken may fly away, what is written remains.) is still wise. In other words, “Get it in writing!”

So, how do you become comfortable with a potential SaaS vendor? Ask questions. Contrast their solution among vendors and your on-premise solution. For a list of good questions to ask, read our, Critical Questions to Ask a Potential SaaS Provider.

To discuss cloud-based services for your organization, email us or call us at 770-603-0300. Click the link to download the results in our Whitepaper- The Future of SaaS – Survey Results.



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