It is too soon to see the effect that 2e2’s collapse has had on the sales of cloud solutions, but it has undoubtedly raised old concerns about data security in the cloud and entrusting data to third parties.

The stunned silence that followed the news of the collapse was quickly filled by the vital question, ‘How could this be allowed to happen?’ Several articles have recently aimed to answer this question, with Sooraj Shah of Computing doing a particularly good job of tracking down those in the know. What is clear is that the collapse was not due to any flaw in the technology, but more likely a combination of factors involving a company growing too fast to keep itself in check.

The Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) was quick to react to news of the collapse and released a list of actions IT buyers should be taking when investing in cloud solutions. This list also acts as a good starting point for any cloud vendor looking to learn something from 2e2 and start building a reputation as a trustworthy, secure vendor.

The CIF urges cloud users to add an exit clause to their contract before signing; we would also suggest that cloud providers add these clauses themselves, if they hadn’t done so already, and market this fact as widely as possible. Not only does this show confidence in the security of your solution, but it is also the quickest way to distance your company from 2e2. By proving that you trust your client, in turn they should begin to reciprocate.

Andy Burton, chair of the CIF, also stresses the importance of IT buyers having a disaster recovery plan, but we would argue that this responsibility should lie with the cloud vendor. They can at least make this process as easy as possible for the buyer by being clear in their terms and conditions rather than hiding loopholes in small print and detailed legal jargon.

Perhaps the greatest lesson to come out of this mess is the need for transparency and clarity in the cloud industry. With businesses more concerned with risk than ever before, cloud vendors must ensure they are putting potential buyers’ minds at ease. Communications and public relations have to play a key role in this.

The 2e2 debacle won’t halt cloud adoption but it has undermined an industry that only recently gained the trust of the business world. But as we have seen with the horsemeat scandal, a breakdown of trust in the market gives well run companies a chance to shine. Now all these companies have to do is learn to shout about it.

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