Ethics and Values in Cloud Computing Architecture

Cloud computing and data center infrastructure providers are realizing more and more what Dion Hinchcliffe pointed out to me months ago during an interview for Ethics of Big Data. Namely that the physical manifestation and configuration of their architecture can be viewed as a direct, real-world expression of their organizational values.

What does this mean for primarily engineering and technically driven organizations?

It means that historically conceptual discussions about seemingly soft and squishy topics like values and ethics are beginning to play a bigger role in how architecture decisions are made. Understanding more about the role values play in an organization can help drive tactical action and improve and stream line effective decision-making in the real-world in a way that provides a wide range of benefits.

The benefits includes:

  • increasing opportunities to generate value from innovation
  • reducing risks from unintended consequences (such as from data breaches or other system failures)
  • building longer-lasting and deeper brand relationships
  • increasing customer loyalty (through the explicit expression of shared values)
  • reducing friction from evolving legal and compliance requirements

These are all direct benefits enjoyed by organizations which engage in explicit ethical inquiry about their data handling practices.

To initiate that inquiry, organizations are learning how to incorporate and apply ethical principles to their traditional business operations. An example is a discussion coming up during a webinar with Stephen O’Grady, Principal Analyst & Co-founder of Redmonk and Bryan Cantrill, Senior VP of Engineering at Joyent, who will be exploring the role principles and ethics play in today’s cloud-driven economy. https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/886809008

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About Kord Davis

Kord Davis is a former Principal Consultant with Cap Gemini and has spent nearly 20 years providing business strategy, analysis, and technical consulting to over 100 organizations of all sizes including: Autotask, Microsoft, Intel, Sisters of Mercy Healthcare, Nike, Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), Northwest Energy Alliance (NEEA), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Western Digital, Fluke, Merix, Roadway Express, and Gardenburger. Integrating a professional background in telecommunications and an academic background in philosophy, he brings passionate curiosity, the rigor of analysis, and a love of how technology can help us do the things we really want to do better, faster, and easier. A formally trained workgroup facilitator, he holds a BA in Philosophy from Reed College and professional certifications in communication, systems modeling, and enterprise transformation.

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