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Would you trust a cloud provider who could close your business down in 3 days?

Would you trust a cloud provider who could close your business down in 3 days? image

By Lee

07/07/2018

Would you trust a cloud provider who could close your business down in 3 days?

For the last few days I have been mulling over a dilemma, a dilemma which came to my attention via the register details here

The original source of the article is the medium details here

My dilemma concerns how artificial intelligence makes business decisions and how those decisions affect smaller businesses on a day by day basis. Are decisions black and white and taken without emotion or concern or should there be an element of consequential forward thinking.

The end user in question has a business model which is to monitor electrical output of wind turbines and solar panels across 8 countries 24 x 7. If too much electricity is generated it cannot be stored incurring lost revenue, if not enough electricity is generated penalties are to be paid. I understand a business of this nature works on tight margins and needs a very scalable and always available IT infrastructure.

The issue started on 28th June 2018 where the end user received a “barrage” of emails from Google saying there is some ‘potential suspicious activity’ and all their systems have been turned off.

The end user’s was site down, application engine, databases werer all unreachable and multiple Firebases stated the end user had been downgraded and therefore exceeded limits.

In short the customers IT resources had been shut down with a notice stating "if the situation was not resolved the client account along with all data would be deleted within 3 days".

The actual message from google was “We will delete your project unless the billing owner corrects the violation by filling out the Account Verification Form within three business days. This form verifies your identity and ownership of the payment instrument. Failure to provide the requested documents may result in permanent account closure.”

Googles customer service chat wads off. There’s was no phone number to call. The end user had an email asking to fill in a form and upload a picture of the credit card and a government issued photo id of the card holder.

The form was completed with the details and within 20 minutes all the services started coming alive. The first time this happened, the client was down for a few hours. In all they lost everything for about an hour. An automated email arrived apologizing for ‘inconvenience’ caused.

The question raised by the end user was simply; what if the card holder was not available for 3 days, if that was the case millions of dollars would have been thrown down the drain and years of work lost.

Many readers had an opinion as can be seen on Reddit and Hacker News.

The factors in play here are Google robots detected a problem; their robots handled the communications with the system operator; and said operator appears not to have a professional support contract.

Readers have commented this multi-million dollar business was running everything on a consumer plan, so this whole issue appears to have been based on a license issue and is the users fault. I do understand this side of the story, but then I also consider the fact if a human was involved instead of Goggles A.I, would this situation have be resolved without downtime?

Is A.I the way forward? If providers think it is then also ask the question, is first class support a part of their DNA? It is not all about how a business acts when things are going well, so should there be a human to talk to when an adverse situation arises?

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