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July 28, 2015

Secret cloud use creates ticking time bomb for CIOs

Business circumventing CIOs to deploy public cloud is threatening business security.

By James Nunns

Businesses not applying mature management processes to cloud computing are significantly reducing control over IT.

Surprisingly, 89% of CIO’s are not applying the same comprehensive IT service management (ITSM) processes to public cloud based services as they do for in-house IT services. This is leading to unsanctioned use of cloud services which poses a security threat.

Part of the problem is that parts of the business have a credit card and can procure cloud services without even informing the CIO. The security risk of this is that IT doesn’t know where data is being stored.

Paul Cash, MD, Fruition Partners UK, told CBR: "One large organisation did analytics on how many cloud storage services were being used…in excess of 60 cloud services were in use across the business…IT had validated one."

Cash went on to explain the problem: "IT delves into where they are, but they don’t know where services like Box, Dropbox or others are located."

The unsanctioned use of public cloud services is leading to headaches for CIOs with 60% saying that there was an increasing culture of Shadow IT.

Not only is the business being placed at risk due to security threats, but they may also not be getting the right service or value for money.

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Cash, said: "If you are buying a service and not managing SLA, how do you know what you are paying for?"

To remedy this and to make sure the business is getting value for money, the right procedures clearly need to be followed, Cash, said: "Organisation as a whole needs to manage what is being delivered, to make sure it is delivered to a high standard."

Cash suggests that steps such as creating and publishing a service catalogue which is exposed to the whole business, is one way of showing the business what can and can’t be used.

The CIO survey commissioned by Fruition Partners, went on to highlight that one in two organisations are leaving themselves open to the cloud ‘blame game’ by not managing cloud application support.

This issue is typically found when users have problems with an application such as a Salesforce or Dropbox. Instead of approaching their own IT team, users are going to the provider’s support team, which can lead to blame being pointed at the customer’s IT environment, the blame game begins.

The survey also found that businesses (72%) are failing to maximise the investments already made in ITSM, by not using the existing tools to orchestrate cloud services and platforms.

Although the survey suggests that this is not surprising due to a misconception among CIO’s that orchestrating cloud platforms is difficult to do.

The research was undertaken by Vanson Bourne, sampling 100 UK CIO’s of companies with over 1000 employees.

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