Welcome!

@CloudExpo Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Yeshim Deniz, Jason Bloomberg, Ed Featherston, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog

@CloudExpo: Blog Feed Post

The Ethics of Cloud Computing By @Skytap | @CloudExpo [#Cloud]

Cloud computing can only reach its full potential if a real, lasting trust is established between providers and customers

The Ethics of Cloud Computing - Part 3

​This is the final chapter in Seth Payne's three-part series. Click here to read Part One or Part Two.

Where Do These Ethical Principles Come From?

As I mentioned above, I find that understanding the "why" of moral and ethical behavior is just as important as knowing "what" moral behavior is expected.  For this reason, I will briefly outline the origins of the ethical principles I have outlined above.

Broadly speaking, ethical and moral philosophy is dominated by two schools of thought.  On the one hand sit deontologists.  Deontology is the idea that there are certain moral rules to be followed simply because of the nature of sentient life.  For example, a strict deontologist, like the great philosopher Immanuel Kant and even great thinkers in the East, argue that being honest at all times is a moral principle to be observed under any and all circumstances.  The basic reasoning here is that human beings have value in and of themselves; completely separate from whom they are, what they may do or how they act.  This is a recognition of the universal value of sentient life, especially human life,  and certain moral rules are established which insist that sentient life is never to be used as a means to an end because, life is an end it itself.  As I say, this type of thinking is common in both Western and Eastern moral philosophy.  Even ancient Greek "Virtue Ethics" are based on a deontological thinking.

Consequentialism, by contrast, is not based on any set of pre-defined moral rules.  Rather, the morality of any given action is based on the consequences that result from the action.  So, if I choose to do X and this produces positive consequences, I conclude that X is moral.  If, however, X produces negative consequences then I conclude X is immoral.  Of course, this type of analysis is done before an action is taken and moral judgments are made on the expected outcome.  The biggest proponents of consequentialist thinking have been John Stuart Mill (19th Century), Richard Hare, and contemporary moral philosopher Peter Singer of Princeton.

Philosophers and ethicists debate deontology and consequentialism ad nauseum.  Some deontologists have even admitted frustration because consequentialism seems to right, but they know it must be wrong! And indeed, I think there is a good point to be made here.  Unless consequentialism is taken to extremes, it seems to be a very a substantive basis for moral thinking.  I see the relationship between consequentialism and deontology as being similar to that of the relationship between Newtonian mechanics and Einstein's relativity.    When we look out into the cosmos, Newtonian mechanics break down.  But If I'm building a bridge, I use Newton, not Einstein.  It's all a matter of context.

Regardless of any philosophical debate, the reality is that we live in a world where both consequentialist and deontological thought are necessary.

Consider the issue of respective individual privacy.  From a deontological viewpoint, we must seek ensure privacy because IT users are human beings with value in themselves and to invade their privacy is an affront to that inherent value.  On the other hand, if an employee inadvertently sends sensitive customer data outside the firm via email, then we may consider the question in consequentialist terms.  If sensitive customer data is leaked, it could result in serious negative consequences for both the customer and the firm, and thus should be avoided/prevented.  Of course, by preventing data leaks we are also fulfilling a duty to customers that is, generally, a moral rule borne of deontology.

The same applies to the other ethical principles discussed above.  There are times when we must honor a duty to customers and yet other times when preventing potential harm - to either the firm or to its customers - must factor into moral decision-making.

I have observed that most of us default to consequentialist thinking without even realizing we have done so.  There is no harm in this, necessarily.  However, if a firm attempts to minimize its own negative consequences and places its own needs above the duty to customers moral conflict arises.  Moral conflict leads to unhappy customers and unhappy customers are not just bad for business, they often represent a breach of trust - be it large or small, perceived or real.

It is important to note that moral culture within an organization begins at the top.  A service provider without strong moral leadership cannot hope to act morally in the aggregate.  Regardless of the number of customer service, technical support, or account management employees who seek to do right by their customers, these employees can only work within a larger corporate culture.  Moral leaders create moral employees.  Moral employees create happy customers who feel respected and valued.

Cloud Computing Ethics in Practice
As mentioned above, the core ethical principles of IT remain unchanged with the advent of Cloud Computing.  However, as the saying goes, while the play remains the same, the players have changed.  And even though the governing ethics remain largely unchanged, it is important to reexamine them especially in light of the fact that so much of what used to be entirely internal considerations of operations and risk management, has been entrusted to providers and individuals who sit well outside direct organizational control.

Service providers must understand the operational risk they are assuming for their customers.  Providers become stewards of customer data, functional operation, and risk mitigation.  Fulfilling this duty as stewards requires the proper investment in technology and talent.  It also requires explicit and honest communication with customers.

Customers too have a responsibilities and duties as they are, most likely, providing services to customers of their own.  Consumers of cloud services must have a deep understanding of the technology being utilized and its accompanying risks.  The only way to meet this responsibility is to 1) perform due diligence when considering a 3rd party cloud services provider and 2) maintain consistent communication with the chosen provider to keep abreast of any changes that may impact their ability to meet the needs of their customers.

Ultimately it really comes down to some pretty simple ideas.  Be honest, be responsible and transparent, respect privacy, and treat both customers and vendors as we, ourselves, would like to be treated.

Cloud computing can only reach its full potential if a real, lasting trust is established between providers and customers.  This trust can only be built on strong, well-defined system of ethics borne of organizational cultures dedicated to long-term relationships and customer success.

Seth Payne is a Sr. Product Manager at Skytap. He received and MA in Religion & Ethics from Yale University and an MBA from New York University's Stern School of Business. Seth previously worked as a Technical Product Manager at the New York Stock Exchange and has 15+ years experience in high-tech.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Skytap Blog

Author: Noel Wurst is the managing content editor at Skytap. Skytap provides SaaS-based dev/test environments to the enterprise. Skytap solution removes the inefficiencies and constraints that companies have within their software development lifecycle. As a result, customers release better software faster. In this blog, we publish engaging, thought provoking stories that revolve around agile enterprise applications and cloud-based development and testing.

@CloudExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Hitachi, the leading provider the Internet of Things and Digital Transformation, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Hitachi Data Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd., offers an integrated portfolio of services and solutions that enable digital transformation through enhanced data management, governance, mobility and analytics. We help globa...
As pervasive as cloud technology is -- and as persuasive as the arguments are for using it -- the cloud has its limits. Some companies will always have security concerns about storing data in the cloud and certain high-transaction applications will always be better suited for on-premises storage. Those statements were among the bottom-line takeaways delivered at Cloud Expo this week, a three day, bi-annual event focused on cloud technologies, adoption and associated challenges.
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Hitachi Data Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi LTD., will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City. Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) will be featuring the Hitachi Content Platform (HCP) portfolio. This is the industry’s only offering that allows organizations to bring together object storage, file sync and share, cloud storage gateways, and sophisticated search an...
While some vendors scramble to create and sell you a fancy solution for monitoring your spanking new Amazon Lambdas, hear how you can do it on the cheap using just built-in Java APIs yourself. By exploiting a little-known fact that Lambdas aren’t exactly single threaded, you can effectively identify hot spots in your serverless code. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, David Martin, Principal Product Owner at CA Technologies, will give a live demonstration and code walkthrough, showing how to o...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CollabNet, a global leader in enterprise software development, release automation and DevOps solutions, will be a Bronze Sponsor of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, taking place from June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CollabNet offers a broad range of solutions with the mission of helping modern organizations deliver quality software at speed. The company’s latest innovation, the DevOps Lifecycle Manager (DLM), supports Value S...
"Peak 10 is a national cloud data center solutions managed services provider, and part of that is disaster recovery. We see a growing trend in the industry where companies are coming to us looking for assistance in their DR strategy," stated Andrew Cole, Director of Solutions Engineering at Peak 10, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
@GonzalezCarmen has been ranked the Number One Influencer and @ThingsExpo has been named the Number One Brand in the “M2M 2016: Top 100 Influencers and Brands” by Analytic. Onalytica analyzed tweets over the last 6 months mentioning the keywords M2M OR “Machine to Machine.” They then identified the top 100 most influential brands and individuals leading the discussion on Twitter.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Juniper Networks (NYSE: JNPR), an industry leader in automated, scalable and secure networks, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Juniper Networks challenges the status quo with products, solutions and services that transform the economics of networking. The company co-innovates with customers and partners to deliver automated, scalable and secure network...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Super Micro Computer, Inc., a global leader in compute, storage and networking technologies, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Supermicro (NASDAQ: SMCI), the leading innovator in high-performance, high-efficiency server technology, is a premier provider of advanced server Building Block Solutions® for Data Center, Cloud Computing, Enterprise IT, Hadoop/...
Amazon has gradually rolled out parts of its IoT offerings in the last year, but these are just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to optimizing their back-end AWS offerings, Amazon is laying the ground work to be a major force in IoT – especially in the connected home and office. Amazon is extending its reach by building on its dominant Cloud IoT platform, its Dash Button strategy, recently announced Replenishment Services, the Echo/Alexa voice recognition control platform, the 6-7 strategic...
The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming our world right before our eyes. In this rush to adopt these new technologies, organizations are often ignoring fundamental questions concerning who owns the data and failing to ask for permission to conduct invasive surveillance of their customers. Organizations that are not transparent about how their systems gather data telemetry without offering shared data ownership risk product rejection, regu...
Judith Hurwitz is president and CEO of Hurwitz & Associates, a Needham, Mass., research and consulting firm focused on emerging technology, including big data, cognitive computing and governance. She is co-author of the book Cognitive Computing and Big Data Analytics, published in 2015. Her Cloud Expo session, "What Is the Business Imperative for Cognitive Computing?" is scheduled for Wednesday, June 8, at 8:40 a.m. In it, she puts cognitive computing into perspective with its value to the busin...
In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, discussed the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docker c...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on ...
Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
With billions of sensors deployed worldwide, the amount of machine-generated data will soon exceed what our networks can handle. But consumers and businesses will expect seamless experiences and real-time responsiveness. What does this mean for IoT devices and the infrastructure that supports them? More of the data will need to be handled at - or closer to - the devices themselves.
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists will examine how DevOps helps to meet th...
NHK, Japan Broadcasting, will feature the upcoming @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley in a special 'Internet of Things' and smart technology documentary that will be filmed on the expo floor between November 3 to 5, 2015, in Santa Clara. NHK is the sole public TV network in Japan equivalent to the BBC in the UK and the largest in Asia with many award-winning science and technology programs. Japanese TV is producing a documentary about IoT and Smart technology and will be covering @ThingsExpo Silicon Val...