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Cloud Undercover

Whether businesses like it or not cloud computing has crept into their infrastructures, in some cases under the radar of IT managers and is doing so via consumer technologies such as DropBox, SkyDrive and Oxygen, something which is turning cloud computing into a stealth-like technology.

Many organisations have decided to taking a step back before taking the leap into storing files in the cloud. This was in part due to the media hype which created a moral panic amongst organisations, making them aware of the risks and possible pitfalls for certain sectors, especially the financial industry. This has resulted in organisations being fearful that everything could go wrong, leaving them without important files and potentially no business.

As a result of holding back however, organisations are now suffering from cloud sprawl – as employees turn to free consumer based cloud offerings to share documents and work away from the office, a strategy which is far riskier for businesses than implementing a full cloud solution.

It leaves IT managers who’s employers deciding to go under the radar with cloud with a lack of visibility and unable to manage and monitor usage.  Both security and cost are at risk for financial organisations who haven’t grasped the reality of cloud computing. Rogue usage by staff that use short term methods of purchasing the cloud on the company credit card can leave businesses in turmoil. These free cloud tools have no service level agreements and could put corporate data at a huge security risk, something that IBM’s corporate IT staff recently admitted they were unprepared for.

An example of a dangerous situation Dropbox can put a stockbroker in is when venturing to client’s offices and then using these tools on communal laptops, ultimately putting corporate data a threat of interception.

Whilst it might seem trivial to staff who are using these cloud methods to share documents, organisations must address the management of these free services as quickly as possible. We are now seeing a rise in the number of “private” cloud offerings in this space, providing the same functionality, but with on-premise storage of data. These solutions are proving both popular and necessary in the financial industry; if organisations continue to allow staff corporate use of public offerings it won’t be long before their business crumbles under the cloud.  


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