Welcome!

SDN Journal Authors: Destiny Bertucci, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Amitabh Sinha

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Agile Computing, Cloud Security, @DXWorldExpo, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Article

Helping IT Get Its Mojo Back

The cloud is here, it’s growing, and you have to plan for it

Anytime we in IT encounter a new paradigm, our natural reaction is block, control, stop. In many shops, our first response is to prohibit users from accessing websites that the company has not approved, including cloud-based software, mobile applications, and other "bring your own apps" candidates. Instead, we ought to put more of our attention on words like partner or enable. That's what IT is really striving for.

IT managers want to serve their company's needs and to enable employees to do their job better. But the perception of IT is that is has been on a long trajectory towards (let's face it) irrelevance.

First, workers brought in their own PCs, then they brought in their own mobile equipment (the BYOD issues you've been struggling with), and Shadow IT was born. Nowadays CIOs struggle to balance IT, business, and worker-respect with the newest challenge: cloud applications and the "Bring your own apps" (BYOA) movement.

I've been watching this trend for a long time, and my conclusion is that the way for IT to deal with the "bring your own" movement is to embrace the cloud.

It isn't as though you have a choice. In 2013, the public cloud services market is forecast to total $131 billion worldwide, up from $111 billion in 2012, according to Gartner, much of it in SaaS and cloud-based productivity applications (such as Google docs or CRM systems). Nielsen reported in 2012 that U.S. smartphones have an average of 41 apps installed.

That isn't just a dispassionate statistical trend: It's the story of your life. Every day, people in your office are bringing in cloud applications to get their jobs done. Need a video conferencing tool? A bug tracking application? Internet-based storage? Online recruiting tools? Anything that used to be installed on a desktop or server (with or without IT's permission) can now be found online. With a credit card and a modest expense account, an employee can source any IT tool to suit the need.

Most IT managers contemplate the security vulnerabilities of cloud-based software with the gut-wrenching fear of a parent watching her teenager go on a first date. (But I haven't checked out your destination! I don't know what you'll bring home! Who wants to take advantage of you?) Often, enterprise organizations decide to lock things down as a way to control the situation, which works about as well as it does to tell a 15-year-old she isn't allowed to date or get her ears pierced.

It isn't as bad as you fear. By "embrace the cloud," I don't mean that IT managers should give up and let people do whatever they want with their SaaS applications and mobile apps. I do mean that you should give them the toolsets they want, and also manage the cloud.

There are tools that can help you do what you aim to do: protect the company, make sure that technology helps the business move forward, and enable end users to be productive. They can even save the business money.

Years ago, in the desktop computing era, we had server tools that would examine user desktops to learn what software was installed, under which licenses. We would use those tools to compare the applications the business was using to the applications that met corporate policies, for which the business had site licenses, and which complied with the IT security guidelines.

Back then in the stone age - about a decade ago - we'd use these asset management network exploration tools to discover that, say, the company was paying for 200 seats of PhotoShop when only 100 were actually installed (aha! Budget savings!) or that one department had an eensy bit of a problem with installing software for which they somehow could never produce a license or sales receipt.

Nowadays, though, you don't necessarily know which applications the users are using because they access the cloud applications through a Web browser. We do know that users are employing cloud applications, and they aren't going to stop.

Employees aren't doing this to thumb their noses at IT. Primarily, it's because users are motivated to be productive. If a SaaS application is purpose-built for their needs, they're going to find it and use it. If they have a distrustful relationship with IT, they sure aren't going to ask for permission first (if it even occurs to them to do so).

It becomes worrisome to IT when corporate info is stored in the cloud: Is it protected? Is it secure? How can we make sure it doesn't get into the public domain? So it behooves IT to recognize what really is being used across the organization - which we can accomplish with appropriate tools - both to learn what's going on and to serve the business.

As with the old-school network tools, it pays to consider cloud applications as an asset management issue as well as a security concern. Perhaps the organization has a site license for GoToMeeting but you see people using join.me. Can you get a volume purchase agreement for the more-preferred application if everyone is using the same tools? Or is the officially sanctioned (and paid-for!) tool not meeting user needs? This data helps a CIO make better decisions.

IT absolutely needs to know what their users are using and to educate them about the organization's IT challenges, and it should be a two-way conversation. Most "worker bees" do recognize that IT has a job to protect the company. Understanding how cloud apps are being used helps them optimize their environment and give them the tools they want. Once an employee recognizes he isn't being denied his God-given right to watch cat videos on YouTube but is instead affecting the Internet access speed for the whole company, he may be kinder to the IT staff. Plus, a lot of employee-introduced apps, when chosen for the right reasons, are adopted by IT.

Quite often, it's possible to throttle a cloud application to protect the organization's data or its resources, without affecting employees' ability to get a job done. Paying for a cloud application from IT's budget is one way to a department manager's heart; of course, but it may also be possible for the organization to brand a cloud application with a corporate logo. Companies can standardize on cloud tools as long as they can have administrative control; security holes such as chat functions and file transfer functions might be turned off. Maybe the department wants to control costs by not incurring file storage costs, so the tools (and policies) can permit the organization to set a limit of data stored by user or department. That becomes a conversation: What if we set that at 10GB per employee? Or does it need to be more?

To get their mojo back, IT departments have to champion the business. Accept that the cloud is here, it's growing, and you have to plan for it.

More Stories By David Blair

David Blair is a product VP for management cloud applications at LogMeIn, Inc. In this role, he’s responsible for the strategy, engineering, and delivery of a portfolio of SaaS software for remotely accessing and managing connected devices, solutions for cloud application management/BYOA/BYOD, and mobile access. Prior to joining LogMeIn, David directed PTC’s “social product development” strategy, which uses a combined social and mobile strategy to enable on-the-go product development.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@CloudExpo Stories
The dynamic nature of the cloud means that change is a constant when it comes to modern cloud-based infrastructure. Delivering modern applications to end users, therefore, is a constantly shifting challenge. Delivery automation helps IT Ops teams ensure that apps are providing an optimal end user experience over hybrid-cloud and multi-cloud environments, no matter what the current state of the infrastructure is. To employ a delivery automation strategy that reflects your business rules, making r...
Modern software design has fundamentally changed how we manage applications, causing many to turn to containers as the new virtual machine for resource management. As container adoption grows beyond stateless applications to stateful workloads, the need for persistent storage is foundational - something customers routinely cite as a top pain point. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Bill Borsari, Head of Systems Engineering at Datera, explored how organizations can reap the bene...
Kubernetes is an open source system for automating deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. Kubernetes was originally built by Google, leveraging years of experience with managing container workloads, and is now a Cloud Native Compute Foundation (CNCF) project. Kubernetes has been widely adopted by the community, supported on all major public and private cloud providers, and is gaining rapid adoption in enterprises. However, Kubernetes may seem intimidating and complex ...
In a recent survey, Sumo Logic surveyed 1,500 customers who employ cloud services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). According to the survey, a quarter of the respondents have already deployed Docker containers and nearly as many (23 percent) are employing the AWS Lambda serverless computing framework. It’s clear: serverless is here to stay. The adoption does come with some needed changes, within both application development and operations. Tha...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Michael Burley, a Senior Business Development Executive in IT Services at NetApp, described how NetApp designed a three-year program of work to migrate 25PB of a major telco's enterprise data to a new STaaS platform, and then secured a long-term contract to manage and operate the platform. This significant program blended the best of NetApp’s solutions and services capabilities to enable this telco’s successful adoption of private cloud storage and launching ...
In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Dumas, Calligo’s Vice President and G.M. of US operations, discussed the new Global Data Protection Regulation and how Calligo can help business stay compliant in digitally globalized world. Greg Dumas is Calligo's Vice President and G.M. of US operations. Calligo is an established service provider that provides an innovative platform for trusted cloud solutions. Calligo’s customers are typically most concerned about GDPR compliance, application p...
The past few years have brought a sea change in the way applications are architected, developed, and consumed—increasing both the complexity of testing and the business impact of software failures. How can software testing professionals keep pace with modern application delivery, given the trends that impact both architectures (cloud, microservices, and APIs) and processes (DevOps, agile, and continuous delivery)? This is where continuous testing comes in. D
The 22nd International Cloud Expo | 1st DXWorld Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, to be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY, brings together Cloud Computing, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding busin...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Synametrics Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Synametrics Technologies is a privately held company based in Plainsboro, New Jersey that has been providing solutions for the developer community since 1997. Based on the success of its initial product offerings such as WinSQL, Xeams, SynaMan and Syncrify, Synametrics continues to create and hone in...
You know you need the cloud, but you’re hesitant to simply dump everything at Amazon since you know that not all workloads are suitable for cloud. You know that you want the kind of ease of use and scalability that you get with public cloud, but your applications are architected in a way that makes the public cloud a non-starter. You’re looking at private cloud solutions based on hyperconverged infrastructure, but you’re concerned with the limits inherent in those technologies.
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, examined the regulations and provided insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence arou...
Most technology leaders, contemporary and from the hardware era, are reshaping their businesses to do software. They hope to capture value from emerging technologies such as IoT, SDN, and AI. Ultimately, irrespective of the vertical, it is about deriving value from independent software applications participating in an ecosystem as one comprehensive solution. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kausik Sridhar, founder and CTO of Pulzze Systems, discussed how given the magnitude of today's application ...
The “Digital Era” is forcing us to engage with new methods to build, operate and maintain applications. This transformation also implies an evolution to more and more intelligent applications to better engage with the customers, while creating significant market differentiators. In both cases, the cloud has become a key enabler to embrace this digital revolution. So, moving to the cloud is no longer the question; the new questions are HOW and WHEN. To make this equation even more complex, most ...
As you move to the cloud, your network should be efficient, secure, and easy to manage. An enterprise adopting a hybrid or public cloud needs systems and tools that provide: Agility: ability to deliver applications and services faster, even in complex hybrid environments Easier manageability: enable reliable connectivity with complete oversight as the data center network evolves Greater efficiency: eliminate wasted effort while reducing errors and optimize asset utilization Security: imple...
Mobile device usage has increased exponentially during the past several years, as consumers rely on handhelds for everything from news and weather to banking and purchases. What can we expect in the next few years? The way in which we interact with our devices will fundamentally change, as businesses leverage Artificial Intelligence. We already see this taking shape as businesses leverage AI for cost savings and customer responsiveness. This trend will continue, as AI is used for more sophistica...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
Digital transformation is about embracing digital technologies into a company's culture to better connect with its customers, automate processes, create better tools, enter new markets, etc. Such a transformation requires continuous orchestration across teams and an environment based on open collaboration and daily experiments. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Alex Casalboni, Technical (Cloud) Evangelist at Cloud Academy, explored and discussed the most urgent unsolved challenges to achieve f...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...