Depending on who you speak to, Software as a Service is the fastest growing of the four letter cloud acronyms of which we’re all so fond. Still, there are some barriers to its wider adoption that still need be to be addressed.

The genesis for this post was this article in Forbes. Sean Jacobson highlights what he sees as some of the more pragmatic business problems with SaaS adoption in enterprises:

  • Finding the “right” partners for an early stage SaaS company.
  • Most startup entrepreneurs have little or no experience formulating deals.
  • Many companies focus on what’s in it for them, versus the mutual benefit.
  • It can be difficult to prioritize among various business development opportunities.

He makes some compelling cases, though I think he left out the elephant in the room that’s so simple to describe it only needs one word. Pretzel. That was clearly the wrong word, let me try again.

Trust

I’ve made no secret of my reservations about aspects of cloud computing. There’s nothing inherently insecure or untrustworthy about the technology, but its broad application in contemporary end user systems leaves a lot to be desired. PRISM and other government surveillance systems are largely made possible by incomplete or flawed cryptography, either by [perceived] necessity or choice.

From a cloud provider’s business perspective, you can’t fault them. Well okay, I regularly do, but still. Consumers seem more than happy to trust their data with services that regularly leak their data. To them the priority is UX and—to a certain extent—fashion.

These priorities won’t fly in the enterprise. Or at least, in an enterprise with an informed CIO!

Companies need assurances their data will be kept private, that they’ll be informed of breaches. This goes beyond SLAs or other agreements an enterprise may enter with a cloud provider, it gets to the very core of the provider’s business. Can I trust this provider unequivocally with my data? Are their business priorities in line with mine?

Cloud computing is getting quite a battering with the revelations about PRISM, and continued leaks of user data from Facebook, Google and so on. Lets take this opportunity to address this root issue once and for all.

Photo of SalesForce characters by Timothy M. O’Brien. I’ll admit I think the No Software guy is cute, but that huge smile on the other is a little unsettling!