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10 months ago Comment!

I just did a search for “Customer support software” in Google and almost all of the results were for cloud based customer support systems.  Companies such as Zendesk and Freshdesk topped the list of results.  Just about everyone seems to be moving to a cloud based solution for customer support.

Now, I will readily admit that when I see a herd mentality my natural instinct is to step back and ask “What could possibly go wrong”.  And, being in the business of providing non-cloud based support systems it just made sense that I write a post on my thoughts of all the things I think might go wrong – especially when you have so many entities (“the herd”) moving to cloud-based support systems.

1. Cloud-based support systems are attractive to hackers

Think about all the sensitive information that ends up in tickets.  From system credentials to email addresses, some users even include CC information and SS#s in tickets.  Its a treasure trove of information that hackers can use to ply their trade.  If you’re part of a large cloud-based customer support system then your customers data is part of that attractive package for hackers.  Even the NSA was hacked – it’s that hard to be safe online. So one of the best defenses against being hacked is not to make yourself a target in the first place. And that means staying under the radar to hackers.

2. You’re one bad employee away from losing everything

A rogue employee can wipe out a company’s systems.  Imagine if an employee just gets angry at a customer or a boss and decides to target a company’s IT systems?  Even if all data isn’t lost, you’ll be down for days as the cloud-based support company restores from backup.  Its very hard to restore terabytes of data – and very time-consuming.  Your own tiny amount of data that should take less than an hour to restore is held hostage by the vast amount of everyone else’s data.

3.  Lack of flexibility

If your company has or will have specific workflow needs then chances are the cloud-based providers will not be able to accommodate you. They are designed to service the most common scenarios so anything that is even slightly off the beaten path will force you to make compromises to your operations.

4.  Your business looks just like your competitors

If you’re using the same thing as everyone else, how do you stand out?  Standing out and being different at every touch-point you have with your customers can make you vastly more successful – if you do it correctly.  Customers remember different, especially if its a “good different.”

5.  You don’t really control your data

When was the last time you downloaded your data from a cloud-based customer support provider?  Even if you did, was it in a usable format?  I bet it just sat there in a backup archive.  While highly unlikely, its not impossible for a company to go out of business overnight.  And if you don’t have physical control of your data then it’s not really yours.

Wrap Up

So, there you have it – some reasons I could think of that might make me think twice against using a cloud-based provider for my sensitive customer data.  Now, having said that, there are just as many reasons for not managing your own system.  I am a fan of controlling my own data though. Regardless, this article is intended to help you see the other side of the coin so you can make a better decision on how to proceed with your customer support systems.

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