FireHost (more on them here) a cloud company that is targeting large companies with particular compliance and high traffic needs – customers span the eCommerce, SaaS, healthcare and security areas is today announcing the opening of its European operations. It’s an exciting move, especially for someone who has a penchant for vendors who strongly recognize the internationality that Cloud Computing needs if it is to succeed. (Full disclosure, as most people know, I am curating the CloudU Cloud education series which is supported by Rackspace who, I guess, are a competitor of FireHost. More details on my commercial allegiances here but my comments below are not colored by any of that).

One part of the announcement got me confused however and that is when the press release differentiated FireHost as a provider of “secure cloud hosting services“ (emphasis mine). Frankly, I’m not sure what secure hosting, as opposed to the rest of the vendors, actually means.

I understand that FireHost specifically targets organizations with stringent data protection requirements – part of their offering includes real-time reporting of blocked hack event, web application protection and origin of attack mapping. But the way I see it all that stuff is tablestakes for any reputable Cloud vendor (and probably a bunch of irreputable cloud vendors as well). FireHost does say in its press release that it is PCI and HIPAA complaint – but then again so are many of its competitors.

Interestingly enough the messaging of the press release, and attendant quotes, calls out their contract-free approach towards hosting as the main differentiator. In the words of one of their customers;

As we’d expect, FireHost protects us from any and all instances of cybercrime, but we’re particularly happy with how its business model fits with our requirements. As a growing company, the absence of any contractual lock-in gives us complete control over our expenditure as well as the ability to grow or cut back our activity in busy or quieter times.

I think it’s a mistake for FireHost to call themselves the “secure cloud hosting provider” – it introduces doubt into the marketplace and, while FireHost aims that at their competitors, it does nothing for any of the vendors, FireHost included. Far better (in my view anyway) to focus on the fact that FireHost provides a great product, and without any contractual lock-in. That’s a valid point of difference and one which will appeal to customers, without negatively reflecting on competitors or the industry as a whole.

Either way – it’s awesome to see another vendor make the move to Europe – there’s some realities on the ground over there that mean having Cloud services provided in-region is a non-negotiable aspect of service provision. The more vendors there are in that market, the better for all of us.


Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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