Change comes from within

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Two great things about the technology industry that are never in short supply… buzzwords and expert opinions. So it is with rogue clouds. A term that most people would agree comes with fairly sinister undertones.

What are rogue clouds? Well, according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) it is what you get when employees bypass corporate IT policies and start using their preferred cloud-based services and applications. Furthermore, 70% of SMEs claim their staff are using rogue clouds, opening up those businesses to untold vulnerabilities, according to a survey the WSJ based its report on.

If 70% of employees really are finding a way to download their own apps, or export the data they want to work with onto a memory stick, for example, that could represent a serious risk to your data security. This is one of the reasons businesses have IT experts – whether directly employed or via a service provider – to secure the network, which might be little more than a server and some laptops, but is still the thing you rely on to function as a business.

Stories frequently hit the media about laptops from government departments getting left on trains, or in pubs, with sensitive data then potentially falling into the wrong hands. The temptation might well be to start locking everything down. Minimise sharing and minimise risk, might well be one outlook.

But it’s not an outlook shared by veteran technology journalist Davey Winder, it could start by looking at this sort of activity as an open invitation to innovate.

“It’s time that business … gets to grips with the cloud and embraces it in all its innovative glory for what it is: a productivity booster and a budget saver”, Winder wrote on www.cloudpro.co.uk.

He has a point. If your staff are running faster than your IT people, would you really want to slow them down? Surely not. Surely it’s better to get your IT people to find the best of both worlds – secure yet flexible. As Winder put it: “merge governance and compliance with so-called shadow usage into a workable and secure strategic framework.”

Put another way, it’s important to have policies and procedures but they ought to be helping your business, and your people, be more productive. Not slowing down progress. Incidentally, rather than rogue clouds, Winder prefers the term shadow usage, which is also nicely sinister.

So, what do you think? Does all this shadow usage and rogue cloud activity merely point to the presence of staff who are hungry to do a good job and will find smarter ways of working? Or is it chaos in the making?

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