Great Cloud Stories of Con Games and Snooping

Scam, Fraud

  • Ponzi Scheme
  • Phony Experts
  • Law Firms Warned about Intelligence Snooping
  • CloudGOO Brings Together Multiple Storage Accounts
  • Cloud Offers New Small Business Opportunities
  • Cloud Reconnaissance Mission

As in any industry, especially ones that are growing fast, cloud has its share of ne’er-do-wells. Here are some of the best stories about con games and snooping, along with a couple of feel-good tales – because cloud should never make you cry.

Ponzi Scheme

The Securities and Exchange Commission pulled the plug on a Ponzi scheme that fraudulently offered massive profits for investing in cloud technology. The scam, which was announced on March 28, 2014, targeted Asian-Americans, Latinos, and populations outside the United States.

“Xu and his entities claimed they were using investor funds to build a strong cloud services company that would then ignite other high-tech companies and ultimately make their investors very wealthy,” said Michele Wein Layne, LA-based regional director of the SEC. People who gave the scam organization money and/or referred others were issued “points” that could be used as shares of cloud providers that were supposedly approaching IPOs.

The fraudulent company, which operated both as WCM777 and WCM, received almost $70 million in investments between 2013 and 2014. The fraudsters told their investors that they would see a 100% return in just over three months for paying between $400 and $2000. Part of the way they convinced people to invest their money was by highlighting bogus relationships with over 700 big-name brands, including Goldman Sachs and Denny’s.

The SEC said that some of the cash was distributed to earlier investors (as is standard procedure to keep a Ponzi scheme active). Additionally, the con artists purchased two golf courses, a few houses, and stock in energy companies; they also funneled money to a Hong Kong-based diamond company.

Phony Experts

When TechnologyOne signed a contract to become the provider of public education management applications for Victoria, Australia, chairman Adrian Di Marco took the opportunity to lash out at incompetent cloud advisors.

“I think there will be a lot of disasters alongside the success stories, because there are two worlds emerging: the false cloud and the true cloud,” Di Marco argued. “Hopefully people will start being able to differentiate between the two of them soon.”

The real problem with these self-professed cloud gurus, he said, was that they were making awful suggestions to companies but were able to sidestep any negative consequences since they were providing outside expertise. He added that these organizations sometimes framed themselves as consultants and other times labeled themselves as systems integrators.

Law Firms Warned About Intelligence Snooping

Attorneys interested in cloud should consider that the intelligence community could gain access to that data, according to the Law Society, a professional association based in the UK.

The organization suggested through a paper that its membership could benefit from using a cloud provider: their system would become more multiply redundant, agile, and affordable. However, cloud could also pose risks, said the Law Society. The paper suggested that attorneys choose cloud companies that have developed strong service level agreements and that adhere to international standards.

“If you kept everything in-house then probably the government could access it, but you would have more control and you would notice,” said attorney Sam de Silva of Penningtons Manches. “There is no empirical evidence but my gut feeling is that cloud systems are more open to interception.’

Despite this “gut feeling” wariness about the technology from some quarters, a study released by LexisNexis showed that attorneys generally have increased confidence in cloud: almost three out of every four respondents (72%) said their firm was likelier to adopt cloud within 12 months than they had been in the past.

CloudGOO Brings Together Multiple Storage Accounts

You may have storage in a bunch of different locations within the cloud. You can bring it all together with CloudGOO for easier management (as recommended by Cloud Tech).

Cloud Offers New Small Business Opportunities

Sophie Devonshire owns a cloud-based small business. There is no physical headquarters. Everyone works from their own homes in France, Dubai, and the United Kingdom.

Devonshire has an e-commerce business selling to new and expectant mothers. Business is growing at an incredible clip, with a 600% rise in sales between 2007 and 2014.

This small business is fully based on Internet connection – collaboration between employees as well as the sales process. The cloud is used to cut costs and allow everyone to work whatever hours they want, with international access to customers.

Since the company doesn’t exist in any one location, the organization has found that it must offer stability through powerful customer service.

“The whole idea of Babes With Babies is to make new [mothers] feel good,” said Devonshire. “We use technology to make things more human and helpful.”

Cloud Reconnaissance Mission

Looking to interact with a cloud system and get your feet wet? Start with Flex Cloud now for free, offering on-demand resources, hourly pricing, and full control.

By Kent Roberts

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