There is a general interpretation that the Cloud is a way for business units to go around the IT Department and provision services without the consent, knowledge or support of the Technology Experts. While this certainly does happen there is many ways that IT Leaders can step up to the plate and direct the show with solid leadership.
BMC Software recently released a Survey that they did with 327 Enterprise CIOs and before any suggestions on how best to bridge the Risk Management Divide I though I would share some of the key findings from the report:
- IT is struggling with significant complexity and that is not likely to change in the next two years, according to the study.
- CIOs are concerned that business leaders see cloud computing as a way to circumvent IT.
- The business is indeed willing to go around IT to get public cloud services today, contributing to IT complexity.
- IT tacitly acknowledges that this public cloud acquisition cannot be effectively stopped.
- IT feels that it should manage public cloud services, but realizes that providing high service levels will be difficult.
- Interest in Hybrid Cloud Reflects the Broader Need for Unified Management.
These findings ring true with the conversations that I have with my clients regardless of industry, size and segment. The years of lean IT budgets and the overtaxed IT Department does not have the bandwidth to support the multitude of time sensitive projects that the business is doing. The challenges that come from this are far outweighed by the unmanaged Risk that comes from the starting of unknown “Cloud Projects”. An open dialogue needs to be opened, trust must be achieved and a common process be established before a single byte of data heads off into the Cloud.
The reality is that Cloud Services will be used by individuals or by whole departments because they are just so darn easy to set up and get running. IT Leadership needs to take the time to educate the user but at the same time hear why the Cloud is being leveraged.
I have heard more than a few horror stories about DropBox and Box.net security issues as these consumer oriented technologies (along with consumer support) become common in the Enterprise. For IT Leaders there are options to be able to be forward thinking but at the same time providing Users with the “always on” Cloud Storage. Looking to Nirvanix Private Cloud Storage or BDrive are ways to provide the Consumer look and feel of the iCloud, DropBox and Box.net without the added risk and security issues.
The Cloud is here…there is no denying it, but to blindly embrace it or at the other extreme to outlaw it and put stringent controls on it is just as dangerous to the business and to career longevity. There are alternatives, many are either free or low cost and the way that they are designed is to ensure easy delivery of both the services that the “customers” want and protects the assets that it is the IT Leaders job to protect.
Chris J Powell