Cool Solutions

You Can Run But You Can’t Hide From The Cloud


October 6, 2010 1:09 pm





The cloud is coming whether you like it or not.

Forget about running away or hiding your head in the sand. It’s out there. It’s happening right now. Oh you don’t think so? Think again.

I guarantee if you asked your IT executives how much your employees use cloud applications, chances are they would say 1 percent or maybe 10 percent, but not much more. The Powers that Be don’t understand just how widespread the use of cloud apps actually is.

If you go down in the trenches and ask IT staffers how many are using the cloud and you are likely to get a much higher percentage answering in the affirmative. How many are using a free or Dropbox account to share files with one another or their home PCs? How many programmers are sandboxing a project on Amazon S3? How about sales and marketing? Are they using Mail? How many are using Gmail?

And don’t get me started on mobile devices. You do realize how powerful these apps are becoming, don’t you? Think about how much pure computing and data sharing is possible on a smart phone these days. It’s a lot. You can access content inside the firewall with some mobile content management apps running on your iPhone or Blackberry or Android. It’s all out there and it’s really, really easy.

It’s really time to get real about this because if it’s easier to use than your in-house apps, and these applications probably are, your employees are using them, trust me on this one. You can pretend otherwise, but why bother? What’s done is done. The question becomes what do you do about it?

You can argue until the cows home about the fact that it’s unreliable. You can point to recent Facebook and FourSquare outages. You can point to the big GMail outage earlier this year. It doesn’t matter. Your employees can point to the last time your Exchange server went down for 4 hours. They get that software is fallible no matter where it lives. Do you?

Once you get past the denial stage, it’s time to take action. Once you understand the nature of the problem, you can begin to understand that you have to get a grip on the data moving outside of your control, or you can begin to face the fact that a lot of data is going to be out of your control moving forward.

Sure, you can try to lock the house down and lots of companies will try, but with smart phones and USB drives and general data portability, it’s shoveling you know what against the tide.

You need to get a grip on what you can control and that means understanding the services that are available, which ones your users prefer and forging agreements with service providers. Further, it means understanding who owns your data, who controls it in the event of legal action and what happens if someone goes around you to the vendor with a legal or regulatory request.

Finally, it means understanding that where cloud services are concerned, your role as IT administrator changes from the nuts and bolts of running the whole shebang to administering and overseeing the relationship with the service provider.

It’s up to you though, you can pretend it’s not happening and let it happen around you anyway, or you can control what you can control and understand the changing role of IT in a cloud services world. Your choice.

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  1. By:FlyingGuy

    The “Cloud” never left It has always been there and you darn well know it!. You writers are always looking for column inches so you continue to spew forth about how new and cool this is, give it a rest already!

    A recent Novell blog post from “Guest Columnist” Brett Waldman from IDC proclaims that “Cloud Computing – Disrupting Costs and Nothing Else” and I just had to laugh at that foolish statement!

    For once why don’t you try writing about:

    • SLA’s that these “Cloud” vendors are or are not providing.
    • What the data recovery options are should you decide you don’t like the service you signed up for because the sales idiot was talking out of his hat.
    • The costs of maintaining redundant high speed connections in case one of yours goes down and productivity comes to a screeching grinding halt and you suddenly have 300 employees idled because everything wa shipped off to the cloud!
    • What provisions there are for taking an application subset on the road with you since believe it or not…. Wait for it… There is not always an internet connection to be had where sales people trudge off to. Does Sales Force have one? Does gMail have one? Do any of them have one? Hmmm GroupWise does.

    There, that should keep you busy writing about real wan based solutions that provide a service to a company. Please you are starting to sound like nothing but an aging cheerleader that has forgotten what the heck they were cheering about and or for.

    • By:rsmiller510

      Hey Flying Guy:
      We meet again. 🙂

      If you read my piece carefully you will see that my pieced covers what you’re suggesting about the SLAs, the recovery options and all of your bullet points.

      It’s exactly what I’m writing about at the end about the changing nature of the job and getting some control on the process.

      You would like think you disagree with me so vehemently, but when it comes down to it, we aren’t that far apart.

      Thanks as always for being a loyal reader and for your comment.s