The Dangers of a User Implemented Cloud Path to Small Business
The Old Days – How Solutions Were Chosen and Implemented
Only 10 years ago implementation of technology had limited choices, meaning the mainstream solutions were to get a particular server and PCs, giving you the typical corporate infrastructure. There wasn’t much to choose from that was practical, so your IT vendor would give you those limited options and go from there.
How Today’s Solutions and Paths Are Sometimes Wrongly Chosen
Today’s solutions are much different. Technology is accessible to every end user on a personal level, so much so, consumer products and services are bleeding into the corporate atmosphere. The climate today differs in the far ranging solutions that can accommodate the same tasks. In fact the number of solutions are almost endless. You can use Google Apps throughout your organization to accommodate tasks, or chose to use the Microsoft suite. You can use DropBox for file sharing or LogMeIn, Cubby, etc., you get the picture.
Why Is This Dangerous to Small Business?
The Lines of Data Ownership Become Blurred.
The issues begin when users start to bring in their personal technologies to accommodate their jobs. Maybe they use Google drive, and they love the way they can access it on the iPad, so they begin to store work documents and financial information in their personal account. What happens to that data if that individual is no longer an employee? Well, to be perfectly frank, they keep it.
Efficiency Goes Out The Window.
If Jane is using Google Drive and Mike is using Sky Drive and they want to share, they will be unable to, and more than likely they will call IT and report an “issue.” However, it’s not really a technology problem, there was a lack of planning due to a user implemented cloud.
How Does This Happen?
Honestly, cloud fragmentation usually happens as users begin to bring in technologies from their personal life, or devices for that matter. Slowly and quietly they emerge into your corporate technology environment. Upper management is usually unaware, or do not see this as an issue until it’s too late. Before they know it company data is in the hands of individuals they would prefer it not to be, and they feel like their technology is all over the place because users have accounts everywhere. From Google, DropBox, and iTunes cloud, to cloud web applications, upper management usually realizes they have lost control of their data and efficiency inside of their network after their data has been moved all around, and it’s all caused because users drove the need without the proper plan in place.
How Can I Tell If My Organization Is Potentially Experiencing Cloud Fragmentation?
If all of a sudden you find users using applications or accounts that either you or other co-workers are not using, or that are completely unrelated to your business, then you could potentially be the victim of cloud fragmentation. Your users are right to need today’s technologies to do their job, however the technology should be implemented carefully and much consideration should be made, rather than simply jumping into one solution or another.
Things to Be On the Look-Out For:
- Drop box and file sharing applications being associated with users personally as opposed to the corporate entity.
- iTunes, Google, and Microsoft accounts floating everywhere.
- Users varying in the way they share information, some using the file server, some using drop box and some using Google.
- You never made a plan with your IT solutions provider on how to implement the cloud and what solutions would work best for your business.
IT’s Not Too Late……
If you are starting to notice any of the symptoms popping up in your environment, don’t worry, it’s not too late. Your users’ needs and wants can be met while still giving them the functionality they desire, but many things such as process, procedure and uniformity should be considered prior to doing so. Schedule a meeting with your solutions provider to decide the best path to the cloud for you. This will ensure your cloud experience is a cohesive, efficiency gaining and, most importantly, corporately controlled solution.
Also read our follow up article, “Picking Your Path to The Cloud”