The rise of Rogue Clouds – Business is having an affair with Cloud

rogue cloudsWe all knew it. The Business is having an affair with Cloud and the divorce with ICT is not far away.

A survey by Symantec this week shows that 77% of business have Rogue Cloud deployments. That is, Cloud services that have been deployed by business units within an organisation as opposed to a managed implementation of Cloud by the ICT department.

Of those 77% of organisations who reported Rogue Cloud deployments, 40% reported exposure of confidential data, more than 25% faced account takeover issues, defacement of web sites, or stolen goods and services. What isn’t known, is where Cloud has been deployed by ICT what those statistics are.

There is no doubt that Rogue Clouds are going to be more risky than an ICT led deployment for the simple fact that ICT largely deals with the underlying non-functional requirements that you need to provide a service and Business has no idea what those are, what they mean, and still have their head in the sand around the cost of delivering those requirements.

Non-functional requirements include disaster recovery, security, availability, reliability, scalability, usability, and a host of other features that the Business (user) never sees and never needs to see. The Symantec report goes on to highlight the fact that disaster recovery (backup and restore in particular) with 43% of organisations surveyed reporting they had lost data and many reporting that the time to recovery was extremely lengthy compared to traditional methods.

Forrester continues to report that the gap between the CIO and his or her peers, is steadily growing. ICT is still seen as a “blocker”, rather than an “enabler” in most organisations. Cloud sales people turn up, or present themselves online, and the Business simply take out a corporate credit card and Cloud is deployed.

Bring your own Cloud (BYOC), is rapidly replacing Bring your own Device (BYOD) where business users, at an individual level, are utilising Cloud services, for example DropBox. Surveys show that this is already as high as 83% on average.

Neither side, ICT or Business, is blameless in this scenario, and both need some serious counselling to sort the relationship out before it pulls the organisation to pieces.

The ICT group needs to change. Business is demanding that ICT services are delivered as a service with a service delivery focus. A lot of ICT organisations make it extremely difficult and prohibitively costly for the Business to get ICT services. Worse, many organisations still have an attitude that they know the Business better than the Business themselves, and the Business will get what ICT decides. Couple that with ICT processes that are wielded to maintain that control, usually by architecture teams, and you have an ICT group that is very difficult to interact with.

The Business sees ICT as a sunk cost, blocker. They resent the degree of control that the ICT group has and don’t like the fact they don’t understand how ICT actually operates. What the Business needs to understand is that the piece of ICT that they use if effectively the part of the iceberg that sticks out of the water. Underneath that is a massive structure that supports the piece of ICT above the waterline that the Business sees. In addition, it is often left to the ICT organisation to try to figure out what the Business is actually planning, rather than both parties working well together as they plan.

These differences lead to a situation where the Business simply purchases their own ICT services, often get into trouble afterwards, then treating the ICT organisation as someone who should simply fix the problems they’ve created.

What is certain is that with the advent of Cloud services the ability for user and Business to procure and consume services has never been easier. Delivery of the those ICT Services has never been more risky.

A balance must be struck between the two parties. The Business must understand that risk has to be managed and management of risk costs money. ICT must understand that they must adapt to a service delivery model or will find themselves made redundant.

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