CIOs fear business leaders see cloud as way to circumvent IT

By Sooraj Shah
23 Mar 2012 View Comments
Clouds superimposed on a computer keyboard

Seventy two per cent of CIOs believe their business sees cloud computing as a way to circumvent IT, according to research conducted by research firm Forrester Consulting.

The study, Delivering on High Cloud Expectations, and carried out for service management software provider BMC Software, surveyed 327 enterprise infrastructure executives and architects, with knowledge of their firm's cloud strategies.

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According to Forrester Consulting, the idea of cloud services providing cost-reduction and simplification, and a better, faster and cheaper service, is putting a strain on the IT division's ability to meet expectations.

The study says CIOs are concerned that cloud provides business teams with a way around IT teams by acquiring cloud services on their own, which undermines the strategic partnership they are trying to build with business leaders.

As evidence of business teams providing a way around the IT team, 58 per cent of respondents said their business currently runs mission-critical workloads in the unmanaged public cloud, and 79 per cent said they plan to do so in the next two years. This is even though only 36 per cent of the businesses allow this as part of their policy.

Dominic Wellington, cloud computing lead solutions manager at BMC, says this is a big problem for businesses because of the related security issues.

"Using systems and processes that haven't been invented by in-house IT teams can bring big problems because many companies have a security policy that is predicated on the fact that the data fits safely behind the corporate data centre behind multiple firewalls and other security measures.

"If someone from the business team copies the data across to Amazon's public cloud offering, then suddenly the business's sensitive data is sitting out there in the open. This is because a marketing person, for example, is not going to spend the time or have the expertise to secure that data in comparison with someone from an IT team," he said.

Wellington said the agility of public cloud offerings was driving demand over in-house IT team services.

"It is an agility issue. The relationship between business and IT is usually quite poor, with a ticketing system. There is very little visibility and insight into the timeline of processes. On average respondents say it takes six weeks to deliver systems.

"So they are asking why Amazon can deliver a system in a couple of minutes. It is an issue of transparency. Time is lost in interaction within the IT team," he said.

Wellington said that public cloud offerings are providing competition for services within a company, and that IT is trying to catch up to provide these services.

According to the survey, 71 per cent of respondents thought that IT operations should be responsible for ensuring that public cloud services meet their firm's requirements for performance, security and availability.

Wellington said CIOs should not block these services but take advantage of them by managing the services internally.

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