The data center cloud, privacy, and company policy.

Tonight I was reading about hosted data center services causing workplace privacy issues. I don’t believe this is really a problem if the data center outsourcing is done right.

The issue brought up by the original post is one of control. If a company simply outsources email services, how do they enforce their own employee email policies? Add to that legal requirements that a particular company may have, and that may cause “server hugging”, the tendency for a company not to want to let go.

So, how does a company make the best use of data center services without losing control? The first option is co-location. If the company owns and manages the server, the information on it is still under the company’s control, whether the machine is in the company’s own computer room or an outsourced data center.

The second option is the cloud. I’m not talking about cloud based applications, such as Google Apps. With cloud based applications, the data and the policy regarding that data is totally under the control of the app provider.

In this case, I’m talking about cloud based virtual private servers. Even though the data lives in the providers data center, control of the server resides with the customer. In this case, the cloud virtual provider has no say what the customer is running on the virtual and no hand in setting policies regarding the use or dissemination of data from the customer server.

Obviously, this is a major benefit to the customer, since they retain full control of server operations and data. There is no issue of the provider having to “give” the customer his messages.

This is also a good thing for the data center cloud provider. The provider doesn’t need to insert themselves into any customer legal issues around the data.

The question over control really is only an issue for provider controlled legacy mail services and cloud hosted app email services. Sell the customer cloud hosted virtual private servers, give them all the benefits of cloud computing, let them manage the virtual, and you have the perfect division of responsibility.

If companies want to come up with a reason to keep hugging servers, they’ll have to find a different on than this!

Vern, SwiftWater Telecom


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