Wait, who’s in charge of the cloud anyway?

The cloud has flattened the IT world. Where once every purchase decision needed to be run by IT first, now other business units are taking matters into their own hands – then going to IT when they run into problems.

Basically, the cloud has made things easier for some at the expense of others. Where acquiring and installing apps or services used to be a major undertaking for IT, workers from other departments can now acquire these services almost without any input or assistance from IT.

In fact, according to a recent report by RightScale, central IT makes fewer than half of cloud decisions at 38% of companies.

Those outside of IT didn’t really see the cloud as IT’s job in many ways. Only 31% of non-IT respondents to the survey said that it was IT’s job to set policies on how and when the cloud could be used – a role which 53% of IT pros said is their domain.

Likewise, 44% of business unit respondents said IT should decide or advise on which applications can be put in the cloud, but 56% of IT respondents said that was actually their job.

In short, business units just don’t think they need IT anymore. They think they can do it all on their own.

Cloud challenges abound

Ironically, while other departments may not see IT as being all that useful, companies were still struggling with the cloud. One can’t help but think that consulting with IT before undergoing projects could at least help with this.

According the survey, companies reported having significant challenges with:

  • lack of resources or expertise (27%)
  • security (26%)
  • compliance (25%)
  • managing multiple cloud services (25%), and
  • managing costs (24%).

These are all areas IT could be helpful – if they’re consulted ahead of time or at least are given proper oversight.

Still time to get involved

The good news is that IT departments looking to reassert themselves on cloud security and projects have time to act. While the cloud is a growing force in business, 68% of respondents to the survey said that they have less than 20% of their application portfolio in the cloud.

The best way to eliminate shadow IT is to get ahead of it. Talk with business units to see which applications they’re using currently and whether they even have interest in cloud-based upgrades. Some will, but many won’t.

Other actions you may want to consider:

  • Cement responsibilities. Work with the upper-levels of management to once and for all agree on where IT stands in technology acquisition and implementation processes. Once you come up with an answer, get it in writing as part of your cloud and data transfer policies.
  • Get the full picture. Many cloud apps go unnoticed and unregulated by IT security. Find out which apps are running on your networks and get to work putting together a comprehensive list. Evaluate the list to see which are approved, need to be approved or need to be shut down.
  • Create vendor criteria. According to the survey, 82% of companies are going with a multi-cloud environment. Given the possibility of a costly outage, that approach makes a lot of sense. Make sure you have a baseline of minimum requirements that these providers need to meet in order to ensure you’re getting the right security at the right price point.

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