Friday, February 06, 2015

Transparency, vendor management & the Cloud

I recently came across a post online containing the headline, “Google, Microsoft and Amazon pay to get around ad blocking site.” The first paragraph summed it all up, “Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Taboola have quietly paid the German start-up behind Adblock Plus, the world's most popular software for blocking online advertising, to stop blocking ads on their sites.”

I like the use of the word “quietly” because it implies things being done behind the scenes. Now think about the implications of this in regards to cloud-based security services such as anti-spam and web browsing. A customer pays the cloud vendor to filter out spam and questionable websites but employees keep getting junk mail and are routed to sites that are supposed to be blacklisted. What gives? Well, that cloud-based security vendor makes as much (or more) money from NOT blocking certain companies that pay to be whitelisted as they do in payments from customers.

What recourse does a customer have? Transparency might seem simplistic but it allows for a buyer of cloud-based services to get information up front. Transparency should apply to every aspect of that vendor’s way of doing business including full disclosure of their paid relationships with other firms. So if a customer knows that their vendor is being paid to whitelist certain big companies, a decision can be made as to whether the pros of the service offered outweigh the cons, maybe find a different vendor.

Caveat emptor, "Let the buyer beware."

- Rob

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