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July 19, 2018

Google Cloud: “We’re Sorry”. Introduces Raft of New Account Management Measures

GCP users had feared dangling Sword of Damocles

By CBR Staff Writer

Google has apologised to all its customers who have had to go through a service reinstatement on Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and have instigated a new raft of measures to addressed account suspension and deletion issues reported by users.

A new GCP policy is to no longer automatically suspend accounts of established customers once they have set up offline payments.

Users with an established payment history will now have five days once suspicious activity is located within their GCP project, this will come with advanced notification of the issues Google has detected.

margrethe vestagerGood News for Users Comes after Much-Read Complaint

This follows an incident last June where a customer using GCP to monitor hundreds of wind turbines and scores of solar panels across eight countries nearly had they account deleted along with all their project data.

This was due to a ‘potential suspicious activity’ warning from Google that required the cardholder of the account to verify via government ID all was ok.

Failure to do so in three days would result in the deletion of the project.

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“What if the card holder is on leave and is unreachable for three days? We would have lost everything years of work millions of dollars in lost revenue,” the user wrote on a post to Medium.

Google Cloud Responds

Responding to the incident Benjamin Treynor Sloss, VP of Engineering at Google commented in blog post that: “We really appreciated the candid feedback, in which our customer noted several aspects of our account management process which needed to be improved.”

“Here’s what we are doing to be as good as our word, and provide a more careful, accurate, thoughtful and empathetic account management experience for our GCP customers.”

“These changes are intended to provide peace of mind and a predictable, positive experience for our GCP customers, while continuing to permit appropriate suspension and removal actions for the inevitable bad actors and fraud which are a part of operating a public cloud service,” he added.

In the post Mr Sloss addresses the concerns of the customer that their account would be deleted in three days writing that:

“Our customer noted, with appropriate concern, that their suspension email stated “we will delete your account in 3 days.” This language was simply incorrect — our fraud suspension policy provides 30 days before removal.”

He states that they have corrected the communication language and have begun a full review of how an email was sent that stated otherwise.

Second Human

When an account is flagged as fraudulent a second human will review it before suspending it, this is for users who don’t have long term established accounts with GCP and do not benefit from the key changes listed above.

Starting in September the company hopes to roll out 24X7 customer chat support. Google have not specified in the announcement if this will be in the form of phone support or an online chat window.

Mr Sloss concluded the post with an apology, saying: “We sincerely apologize to all our customers who’ve been concerned or had to go through a service reinstatement. Please keep the feedback coming, we’ll work to continue to earn your trust every day.”

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