How to demystify the cloud and data centres for customers
Our CEO @David Tudehope recently featured on The Today Show to explain where the cloud lives and how it works. While it may be obvious to those in the business, the interview did reveal some simple ways we can explain the workings of the cloud to the customers of our customers.
When you work closely with data centres and the cloud every day, it’s easy to forget some of the basic questions people who use the cloud every day have.
Where is the cloud located? Is it literally in the sky? Can anyone access my information stored there? Are strange international corporations monitoring my online purchases?
For those in the know, such questions may induce eyerolls. But uncertainty around the physical location of our data, as well as its security and sovereignty, is very real amongst potential customers who use this technology and the public at large.
Recently, Macquarie Data Centres featured in a segment on Channel 9’s The Today Show, where Macquarie Telecom Group CEO David Tudehope guided the show’s technology expert Trevor Long around our Intellicentre 2 (IC2) facility in Sydney.
The purpose of the segment was to help people understand where the cloud actually lives, and the importance of the critical infrastructure supporting, managing and storing the cloud. There were a number of concerns and gaps in knowledge the public had, and it’s important that cloud and data centre professionals understand that their customers may share these concerns.
It’s clear we can’t assume cloud expertise among the general public and customers of our customers. If you’re not breaking down processes and explaining them in accessible terms, your message could go straight over peoples’ heads.
Here are three ways the interview successfully broke down concerns about the cloud.
1. Tell, but also show.
This didn’t become an axiom by accident. The power of the visual can go a long way when it comes to painting a clear picture and clearing up doubts. By touring through the rows of computers at IC2, we were able to quickly highlight the impact and importance of technical real estate running the cloud. Pairing this with the fact that the centre is in Sydney localised the cloud and debunked the ‘scary overseas corporation’ concern.
2. Introduce an analogy.
When technical matters seem difficult to explain in a digestible way, an analogy can do wonders, like the one David introduced when comparing the cloud to a photo album. A comparison that customers can relate to will have a much better chance of being remembered and understood.
“The cloud is really like moving from having a physical photo album at home to storing those same photos in a central electronic location,” David said.
Your customers may have a more advanced grasp on cloud technology than this, so adapt the analogy accordingly. Get creative.
3. Address the concerns.
When asked whether the data stored in IC2 is secure, David responded: “Most Australian data, on cloud apps, is stored in Australia. The challenge is when data is stored outside Australia. This is subject to foreign law and foreign regulation.”
The issue of data sovereignty has become mainstream in recent months. Combined with longer-standing concerns around cybersecurity, there is a greater need to educate customers about where data is stored and who has access.
Our answer is simple – Australia, only and always, and in some of the most secure buildings in the country, like IC2, our soon-to-launch IC3 and our recently launched IC5 in Canberra.
Remember, while it’s obvious to those of us on the inside, the inner workings of data centres and cloud may not be as clear to those on the outside.