One of the biggest perceived benefits of cloud software and services is also one of its biggest potential pitfalls – the ease with which they can be provisioned or turned on.
Because of this, many projects are happening without the knowledge of IT management because it’s simple for a line-of-business manager to sign up without having to hit the IT budget. That’s not necessarily a bad thing because it illustrates technology’s importance as a corporate resource, but it can present unexpected challenges for technology solution providers charged with keeping their customers’ overall IT infrastructures secure and backed up.
The extent of this phenomenon is detailed in a new global research project published this week by Symantec, Avoiding the Hidden Costs of Cloud 2013 Survey. The data suggests that 77 percent of the roughly 3,250 IT decision-makers surveyed are facing so-called “rogue cloud” deployments that are happening outside of their control.
This puts companies at risk for the following: potential exposure of confidential information, defacement of Web properties, and even account takeovers.
One area where this is of particular concern centers on backup. Because of cloud services and data center virtualization, it is now common for organizations to use at least three different approaches to back up their physical, virtual and cloud data, the data shows. That is a recipe for inefficiency and data loss. In fact, 36 percent of the SMBs and 47 percent of the enterprises surveyed by Symantec have lost cloud data as a result of this fragmentation. Up to 68 percent of them have experienced recovery failures.
Data storage and archiving is also being complicated. While most organizations usually seek to achieve a storage utilization rate of about 50 percent, cloud storage services is pushing this percentage much lower. And very few of the data that’s being saved up into cloud document folders or services is being deduplicated, adding to the inefficiency.
While no one would suggest that cloud services should be completely eliminated, usage rates are now high enough for them to be considered in overall IT strategies. And it’s something that technology solution providers should track closely for all their customers, regardless of size.