The near $1B valuations given to some SaaS based application and network performance monitoring vendors might appear at face value to be absurd until you factor in the long term aspirations of these companies which is to be more than a performance monitoring solution vendor by collecting vast amounts of data related to your critical operations, transactions and user activities, and then selling back access to the very same data (and more) at a premium charge.
Todays SaaS APM solutions offer very limited functionality when compared with their counterparts in the enterprise space but this is largely by choice so as to make it as simple as possible to net customers, penetrate operations (with zero-config agents), collect data, gather intelligence and finally drive future premium data analysis offerings. There is no real crime as such committed here, it is done with full consent though if you were to ask many customers of such solutions what is known about the data recorded, relayed and retained they would readily admit to being completely in the dark except for what is presented in the monitoring dashboard that got them hooked in the first place (that and some data nerd t-shirt).
Clearly these solutions do appeal to the masses forming in the cloud so it is not something that is going to be eradicated by the blowing of a whistle, but we can take precautionary measures to ensure continued and unmetered access to the very data our customers produce via their monitored interaction. Here are a few of the safe guards we have been investigating in the design of future offerings with this in mind.