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The Value of Accountability in the Cloud: Individual Willingness to Pay for Transparency

Within the global cloud market, accountability is needed to help overcome barriers to cloud service adoption. A key inhibitor for movement to software-as-a-service (SaaS) cloud models is lack of consumer trust. ?Potential cloud customers perceive a lack of transparency and relatively less control [on their data] than with traditional models? [1]. One way of introducing accountability in the cloud ecosystem is by means of accountability tools. These tools offer cloud customers more insight in the use (e.g., processing, storage, sharing and deletion) of their data in the cloud. Moreover, they promise to promote responsible data stewardship by both cloud providers and cloud users [2]. However, the economic viability of these tools remains unclear. In fact, it is generally assumed that people are willing to pay for cloud services that would otherwise be free, if these cloud services account for their data processes and these processes are supervised. This article explores the economic viability of one of the accountability tools and mechanisms that account for responsible data stewardship in the cloud, specifically a transparency tool. We explore whether individual cloud customers actually are interested in paying for accountability tools. Thus far, no studies exist to support this claim and the actual willingness to pay among consumers may be significantly lower than is assumed by accountability tool developers. Our investigation uses a sample of lay people and explores their general willingness to pay for a tool that offers them transparency about their data in the cloud and its use by the cloud provider and possible others.

Wouter Steijn, Maartje Niezen
Publication Date: 
Thursday, December 17, 2015
Publication Reference: 

Steijn W.M.P., Maartje  Niezen M.G.H., "The Value of Accountability in the Cloud: Individual Willingness to Pay for Transparency", IEEE Technology and Society Magazine  (Volume:34 ,  Issue: 4 ), Pages 74 - 82, ISSN: 0278-0097, INSPEC Accession Number: 15669159, DOI: 10.1109/MTS.2015.2494373.