The rise of bring-your-own-device initiatives is creating a variety of security and logistical challenges for IT departments as they grapple with privacy policies, secure access and remote lock and wipe functionality in case a device is lost or stolen.
IT solutions and managed services provider Logicalis warns “cloud sprawl,” or individual departments finding and deploying their own cloud solutions, could also pose a major problem for businesses.
The report points to adoption of Microsoft’s Windows operating system as a precedent, where as Windows became widely adopted and developers created applications specifically for the Windows OS, an explosive number of physical servers were needed to run individual applications. This, in turn, resulted in a physical server sprawl that demanded lots of racks, power, cooling and, in general, was an environment that became costly and difficult to manage.
The current bring-your-own-cloud (BYOC) movement involves employees tapping into free Google Drive space, free Dropbox space and free Box.com space to give themselves enough online room to store confidential customer sales and other mission-critical data outside the company firewall and outside of IT’s control. In addition, inexpensive or free cloud applications that don't require corporate approval are accessing corporate networks unchecked, from customer relationship management (CRM) to email to marketing automation applications. As this trend has continued, cloud sprawl, poorly managed user cloud purchases and deployments that result in fragmented, redundant, unmanaged and inefficient cloud-based outsourcing decisions, has made IT managers’ duties more complex and time-consuming.
“We’ve managed to move from physical to virtual, which introduced virtual sprawl, and now from virtual to cloud,” Logicalis senior director for cloud and data center solutions Kevin Gruneisen said in a statement. “But without proper management and strategies in place, moving to the cloud in an unchecked manner will result in cloud sprawl and a less relevant IT organization overall.”
The company provided four tips on how businesses can avoid cloud sprawl, including adopting a well-thought-out cloud strategy, as without proper planning, the cloud will become nothing more than an extension of the problems it is being employed to overcome.
Logicalis also recommends create a customized cloud solution, be it public, private or hybrid, that is tailored to the company’s specific business needs, determining where cloud solutions will reside and how they will be operated, which can help control the otherwise unmanaged expansion of cloud resources, and comparing the costs and efficiencies of managing the cloud solution in-house with that of outsourcing cloud management to a dedicated third party, taking care to identify the resources that will need to be allocated to do the job right.