Cloud concerns – trust

Using any software involves some degree of trust in the vendor. Using the Cloud requires a much higher level of trust.

Autodesk boss Carl Bass is a maker of carefully crafted things, so I’ll use that as an analogy. Using standalone software requires the sort of trust that a maker has in a tool manufacturer. Will the tools work properly and last a long time? Or will they break, potentially damaging the materials or even the user?

Using SaaS requires that same kind of trust, plus others. Will the tool manufacturer keep making that tool? If not, will spare parts continue to be available? Will the manufacturer change the tool design so it doesn’t suit your hand any more, or doesn’t work as well on the materials you use? Beyond that, there are some aspects of the relationship that stretch this analogy somewhat. For example, a SaaS vendor resembles a manufacturer that won’t allow you to buy tools, only lease them. Except the manufacturer can change the lease terms or end it any time it likes, and then come into your workshop and take all your tools away. Oh, and this take-your-tools-away right also applies to the company that delivers the tools to your door.

Using Cloud storage requires yet further levels of trust. It’s not tool manufacturer trust, it’s bank safety deposit trust. Will your carefully crafted creations be kept safe? Or will they be stolen or damaged? If they are, will you be compensated? If you can’t afford to pay the bank fees or want to use another banker because the teller was rude to you, will the bank politely return your valuables to your safe keeping or transfer them to the new bank? Or will they end up in the dumpster at the back of the bank?

Trust is vital. I’m convinced that a CAD on the Cloud takeover will live or die based on trust, more than any other factor. Potential Cloud customers must be able to trust that the vendor is going to do the right thing by them. Without trust, any vendor that expects to win its customers over to the Cloud has absolutely no hope. None. Forget it. Pack up and go home now, and save us all a lot of bother.

With that in mind, a few days ago I added a poll that asks Do you trust Autodesk to do the right thing by its customers?. I deliberately didn’t mention it, just to see what would happen. The initial results are interesting, with only 25% trust so far. If you haven’t already voted, I encourage you to do so.

I also encourage you to share your thoughts on the subject by commenting here. Although you’re welcome to comment as you see fit, it would be good to hear specific reasons you have for whatever level of trust you may have. Do you trust Autodesk? If so, exactly what has Autodesk done to deserve that trust? If not, just what has Autodesk done to deserve your distrust? I’m concentrating on Autodesk because that’s mostly what this blog’s about, but if you’re not an Autodesk customer, feel free to add your thoughts about any CAD vendor you like.

3 comments to Cloud concerns – trust

  • R. Paul Waddington

    Steve, again you have poised your hammer squarely over the head of a very big nail and good on you. I have written an article on just this topic about the exact same vendor and copped a lot of flax for doing so; tho’ all I was warning about is now known to be fact.

    The first thing to be said is trust can only be bestowed on individuals. If a company is trusted it is only because the management and individuals who make the company/corporation what it is are trusted. Expressing trust or distrust is therefore always going to be personal.

    Whether or not Autodesk can be trusted can easily be measured, and assessed, by looking at the way Autodesk have handled the issues I have raised – in relation to licencing. The closed shop mentality I have exposed and the total un-willingness, of Autodesk, to discuss, or negotiate, their licencing, with me is all the proof needed to decided trusting Autodesk with a companies IP would be a very un-safe business decision bordering on culpability.

    I would change my views in a flash if Autodesk chose to discuss my issues but until then I can only advise anybody thinking of using Autodesk’s cloud to do so at their peril.
    Caveat emptor.

  • Dave Ault

    When duplicity is present right from the start and perpetuated daily with glowing tales of user benefits with no guarantees of same. When we see nothing of serious 3d cad creation utilizing current web infrastructure. When we see articles of GPU utilizations on affordable desktops soon to obviate the need for server farm power over the web. When not one company is willing to clearly state they have solved the problem of operating over infrastructure they do not own or control.

    What is there to trust? If a company has a real product to sell me and they think it is to my benefit they need to be able to demonstrate exactly how and why.

    I think of a scene in Wizard of OZ where we are instructed to ignore the man behind the curtain. Two methods of cloud technology relationships could have been approached by cad on the cloud purveyors. A, we have a product in beta stage we are not willing to stand behind with ironcald guarantees but we are looking for volunteers both corporate and individual to help us develop one we can stand behind. B, we want to end piracy and force you to have to do what we want when we want and at the price we want and the heck with any considerations or guarantees to you.

    I have to admit to being very angry over this whole cloud thing and the total lack of accountability by those who offer it. I say this time and time again and it is always met with silence. Not one of these companies will state their responsibility to you or give any sort or guarantee. I am supposed to be excited about this cutting edge thing that no one is willing to stand behind?

    I wish you would ask point blank the Autodesk guys what type of guarantee they are willing to make about security, uptime, data ownership, compensation when data is lost/hacked/stolen or corrupted by transmission across the internet or by the employees of the cad company or server farm. Would the cloud program come with a permenant license I could still use autonomously on my desktop if I wish or do I have to pay you forever to utilise my own intellectual property? Will the data once put on the cloud format even be useable without going on the cloud? Oh, and of course the guarantee of better data throughput than I could do myself on my own server or workstation.

    I bet all you would get will be that corporate psychobabble market speak buzzword stuff they always come up with when asked a question you or I could answer clearly. But then we have nothing to hide do we.

    The question in my mind is why would known liars expect me to believe in them or their product?

  • ralphg

    Further on what Owen Wengerd recently tweeted about data-owners not being able to erase data stored in the cloud, the issue is getting attention in Europe:

    “‘Right to be forgotten’ may not be enforceable”

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/11/15/right_to_be_forgotten_might_not_be_enforcable/

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