Cloud providers hide important insights from customers, claims report

Hidden metadata in the cloud and flawed customer support models are damaging businesses financially and operationally, according to new research by Forrester.

Cloud metadata is information about the performance, configuration and operations of each cloud workload, and is critical to optimising costs and demonstrating compliance.

But while this metadata is typically available to cloud providers, customers suffer broad gaps in their knowledge of workloads, Forrester’s research discovered.

In a study of 275 IT decision makers and top-level executives, all respondents said they had suffered a negative business impact from this knowledge gap, including outages, wasted resources, unexpected costs and challenges reporting to management.

>See also: Beware the perils of hidden data

Further, more than 60% said they cannot grow their cloud footprint due to associated issues around transparency, compliance and support.

“Cloud providers fail to keep cloud users happy,” the study reported. “As companies expand their use of cloud services, they need to be confident that their cloud providers aren’t holding anything back, and are committed to their success.”

“No one should have to take on greater business risk or accept sub-par support in the quest to gain the economic and business agility benefits of cloud.”

According to the survey, cloud customer satisfaction is overall very low. Over 50% of cloud customers reported their provider does not understand their company’s needs or care about their success.

Without critical data, compliance safeguards may fail. Compliance practices act as a proxy for safeguarding customer data, and 72% of respondents were bound by compliance requirements.

Yet the majority of respondents found critical data available to cloud providers but hidden from users, creating challenges with implementing proper controls (55%), understanding the provider’s compliance (51%), and getting documentation on the provider (51%) and their own workloads (42%).

The research found that inadequate support issues begin at onboarding, with more than half (51%) of respondents unsatisfied with this process for reasons such as it taking too long (26%) or a lack of human support (21%).

The issues then continue after on-boarding, with 52% of respondents unsatisfied with support due to slow response times (22%), lack of expertise of the support personnel (20%), lingering support issues (19%), and higher-than-expected support costs (18%).

>See also: 4 megatrends that will dominate cloud computing for the next decade

“Buried in the complexities of today’s clouds are crippling hazards,” said Lilac Schoenbeck, VP of product management and marketing at iland, which commissioned the research. “Critical metadata is withheld, seriously dampening cloud growth – yet all the while, businesses are building growth plans based on an assumption of infinite cloud resources.

“This threat could take us back to the days of bargaining for your IT resources – a result that neither IT nor the business is prepared to face.”

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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