More Problems and Confusion

Using multiple cloud solutions can lead to added problems

Cloud computing is is not a single entity. Organizations can use multiple services simultaneously to support their unique operations. With more cloud applications in place, however, businesses can experience challenges that negate the technology's effectiveness and and events that may damage their brands.

An Evolve IP survey of more than 1,250 executives discovered 88 percent believe the IT industry's future will be based on cloud computing. Respondents who classified themselves as "cloud believers" rely on an average of 3.3 cloud applications, while the overall average among all participants stood at 2.7 apps. The study discovered 54 percent of respondents anticipate spending even more on the technology in 2015 than last year.

Guy Fardone, general manager and chief operating officer of Evolve IP, said adoption barriers continue to dwindle, while similar findings from previous studies remain.

"Also, as we have seen in our business, companies looking to move to the cloud on their own are experiencing some hiccups along the way," Fardone added.

With plans to procure even more cloud solutions this year, firms must be prepared to make sound decisions when incorporating different cloud services. Some issues will be based on how different apps function, while other problems exist with end-users themselves. 

Rogue employees
One of the issues with cloud computing in general is shadow IT. A SmartDataCollective report by Jared Jaureguy indicated this situation is caused by employees who procure cloud applications they think will support their jobs.

Workers who use cloud applications without their employers' knowledge could invite unwelcome security problems that may expose critical data. Shadow IT is also a financial burden for organizations. A Vanson Bourne-commissioned survey conducted by SailPoint from December 2014 discovered nearly 20 percent of employees have purchased cloud apps without their companies' consent.

Kevin Cunningham, founder and president of SailPoint, asserted the study is eye-opening in how workers have access to information even when they leave their employer for other jobs.

"With almost 20 percent of employees purchasing a cloud application for work without involving the IT departments, combined with the ability for employees to use consumer cloud apps for work activities, it's virtually impossible to manage access to applications and the sharing of mission-critical data," Cunningham explained.

He encouraged organizations to offer incentives to employees who follow corporate policies to avoid these issues.

Jaureguy added that companies should also clearly communicate with the workforce about best practices when using cloud services to minimize challenges.

Vendor selection
Businesses planning to use multiple cloud solutions will also likely have different vendors providing their products. With so many apps and configurations needed to maintain efficiency, companies must do their due diligence when choosing service providers to find the right fit.

Jaureguy indicated organizations should identify vendors' service levels through evaluations based on support, security and disaster preparedness and regarding service availability and application performance.

Fardone said nearly one-quarter of executives expect to use a third-party service provider for their next cloud implementation.

Companies interested in partnering with vendors for assistance with their cloud planning strategies can benefit from the right assistance. Managed service providers assist clients with their cloud migrations, understanding their unique operational requirements, end-user needs and industry demands when selecting the most efficient products and cloud models available.

MSPs are not only a solid educational resource, but take a much more hands-on approach if they employ innovative solutions of their own. Some vendors rely on cloud readiness tools to help companies transition to cloud environments seamlessly. Depending on what customers want to accomplish, these systems are ideal for determining how applications, servers, networks and entire data centers will function when migrated off-site.