Click here to close now.


Java IoT Authors: AppDynamics Blog, Flint Brenton, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Sanjay Zalavadia

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Agile Computing, Cloud Security, @BigDataExpo, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Article

Helping IT Get Its Mojo Back

The cloud is here, it’s growing, and you have to plan for it

Anytime we in IT encounter a new paradigm, our natural reaction is block, control, stop. In many shops, our first response is to prohibit users from accessing websites that the company has not approved, including cloud-based software, mobile applications, and other "bring your own apps" candidates. Instead, we ought to put more of our attention on words like partner or enable. That's what IT is really striving for.

IT managers want to serve their company's needs and to enable employees to do their job better. But the perception of IT is that is has been on a long trajectory towards (let's face it) irrelevance.

First, workers brought in their own PCs, then they brought in their own mobile equipment (the BYOD issues you've been struggling with), and Shadow IT was born. Nowadays CIOs struggle to balance IT, business, and worker-respect with the newest challenge: cloud applications and the "Bring your own apps" (BYOA) movement.

I've been watching this trend for a long time, and my conclusion is that the way for IT to deal with the "bring your own" movement is to embrace the cloud.

It isn't as though you have a choice. In 2013, the public cloud services market is forecast to total $131 billion worldwide, up from $111 billion in 2012, according to Gartner, much of it in SaaS and cloud-based productivity applications (such as Google docs or CRM systems). Nielsen reported in 2012 that U.S. smartphones have an average of 41 apps installed.

That isn't just a dispassionate statistical trend: It's the story of your life. Every day, people in your office are bringing in cloud applications to get their jobs done. Need a video conferencing tool? A bug tracking application? Internet-based storage? Online recruiting tools? Anything that used to be installed on a desktop or server (with or without IT's permission) can now be found online. With a credit card and a modest expense account, an employee can source any IT tool to suit the need.

Most IT managers contemplate the security vulnerabilities of cloud-based software with the gut-wrenching fear of a parent watching her teenager go on a first date. (But I haven't checked out your destination! I don't know what you'll bring home! Who wants to take advantage of you?) Often, enterprise organizations decide to lock things down as a way to control the situation, which works about as well as it does to tell a 15-year-old she isn't allowed to date or get her ears pierced.

It isn't as bad as you fear. By "embrace the cloud," I don't mean that IT managers should give up and let people do whatever they want with their SaaS applications and mobile apps. I do mean that you should give them the toolsets they want, and also manage the cloud.

There are tools that can help you do what you aim to do: protect the company, make sure that technology helps the business move forward, and enable end users to be productive. They can even save the business money.

Years ago, in the desktop computing era, we had server tools that would examine user desktops to learn what software was installed, under which licenses. We would use those tools to compare the applications the business was using to the applications that met corporate policies, for which the business had site licenses, and which complied with the IT security guidelines.

Back then in the stone age - about a decade ago - we'd use these asset management network exploration tools to discover that, say, the company was paying for 200 seats of PhotoShop when only 100 were actually installed (aha! Budget savings!) or that one department had an eensy bit of a problem with installing software for which they somehow could never produce a license or sales receipt.

Nowadays, though, you don't necessarily know which applications the users are using because they access the cloud applications through a Web browser. We do know that users are employing cloud applications, and they aren't going to stop.

Employees aren't doing this to thumb their noses at IT. Primarily, it's because users are motivated to be productive. If a SaaS application is purpose-built for their needs, they're going to find it and use it. If they have a distrustful relationship with IT, they sure aren't going to ask for permission first (if it even occurs to them to do so).

It becomes worrisome to IT when corporate info is stored in the cloud: Is it protected? Is it secure? How can we make sure it doesn't get into the public domain? So it behooves IT to recognize what really is being used across the organization - which we can accomplish with appropriate tools - both to learn what's going on and to serve the business.

As with the old-school network tools, it pays to consider cloud applications as an asset management issue as well as a security concern. Perhaps the organization has a site license for GoToMeeting but you see people using Can you get a volume purchase agreement for the more-preferred application if everyone is using the same tools? Or is the officially sanctioned (and paid-for!) tool not meeting user needs? This data helps a CIO make better decisions.

IT absolutely needs to know what their users are using and to educate them about the organization's IT challenges, and it should be a two-way conversation. Most "worker bees" do recognize that IT has a job to protect the company. Understanding how cloud apps are being used helps them optimize their environment and give them the tools they want. Once an employee recognizes he isn't being denied his God-given right to watch cat videos on YouTube but is instead affecting the Internet access speed for the whole company, he may be kinder to the IT staff. Plus, a lot of employee-introduced apps, when chosen for the right reasons, are adopted by IT.

Quite often, it's possible to throttle a cloud application to protect the organization's data or its resources, without affecting employees' ability to get a job done. Paying for a cloud application from IT's budget is one way to a department manager's heart; of course, but it may also be possible for the organization to brand a cloud application with a corporate logo. Companies can standardize on cloud tools as long as they can have administrative control; security holes such as chat functions and file transfer functions might be turned off. Maybe the department wants to control costs by not incurring file storage costs, so the tools (and policies) can permit the organization to set a limit of data stored by user or department. That becomes a conversation: What if we set that at 10GB per employee? Or does it need to be more?

To get their mojo back, IT departments have to champion the business. Accept that the cloud is here, it's growing, and you have to plan for it.

More Stories By David Blair

David Blair is a product VP for management cloud applications at LogMeIn, Inc. In this role, he’s responsible for the strategy, engineering, and delivery of a portfolio of SaaS software for remotely accessing and managing connected devices, solutions for cloud application management/BYOA/BYOD, and mobile access. Prior to joining LogMeIn, David directed PTC’s “social product development” strategy, which uses a combined social and mobile strategy to enable on-the-go product development.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

@ThingsExpo Stories
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningful and actionable insights. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Paul Turner, Chief Marketing Officer at...
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, exploreed the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and technology requirements that will drive the Internet of Things from hype to reality.
Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessions, I wanted to share some of my observations on emerging trends. As cyber security serves as a fou...
We all know that data growth is exploding and storage budgets are shrinking. Instead of showing you charts on about how much data there is, in his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing at HGST, showed how to capture all of your data in one place. After you have your data under control, you can then analyze it in one place, saving time and resources.
With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now all corporate assets – people, objects, and spaces – can share information about themselves and thei...
The cloud. Like a comic book superhero, there seems to be no problem it can’t fix or cost it can’t slash. Yet making the transition is not always easy and production environments are still largely on premise. Taking some practical and sensible steps to reduce risk can also help provide a basis for a successful cloud transition. A plethora of surveys from the likes of IDG and Gartner show that more than 70 percent of enterprises have deployed at least one or more cloud application or workload. Yet a closer inspection at the data reveals less than half of these cloud projects involve production...
Continuous processes around the development and deployment of applications are both impacted by -- and a benefit to -- the Internet of Things trend. To help better understand the relationship between DevOps and a plethora of new end-devices and data please welcome Gary Gruver, consultant, author and a former IT executive who has led many large-scale IT transformation projects, and John Jeremiah, Technology Evangelist at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), on Twitter at @j_jeremiah. The discussion is moderated by me, Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions.
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true change and transformation possible.
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem" in this scenario: microservice A (releases daily) depends on a couple of additions to backend B (re...
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound effect on the world, and what should we expect to see over the next couple of years.
Container technology is shaping the future of DevOps and it’s also changing the way organizations think about application development. With the rise of mobile applications in the enterprise, businesses are abandoning year-long development cycles and embracing technologies that enable rapid development and continuous deployment of apps. In his session at DevOps Summit, Kurt Collins, Developer Evangelist at, examined how Docker has evolved into a highly effective tool for application delivery by allowing increasingly popular Mobile Backend-as-a-Service (mBaaS) platforms to quickly crea...
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, wil...
PubNub has announced the release of BLOCKS, a set of customizable microservices that give developers a simple way to add code and deploy features for realtime apps.PubNub BLOCKS executes business logic directly on the data streaming through PubNub’s network without splitting it off to an intermediary server controlled by the customer. This revolutionary approach streamlines app development, reduces endpoint-to-endpoint latency, and allows apps to better leverage the enormous scalability of PubNub’s Data Stream Network.
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Ben Perlmutter, a Sales Engineer with IBM Cloudant, demonstrated techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user experience, both offline and online. The focus of this talk was on IBM Cloudant, Apache CouchDB, and ...
I recently attended and was a speaker at the 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center. I also had the opportunity to attend this event last year and I wrote a blog from that show talking about how the “Enterprise Impact of IoT” was a key theme of last year’s show. I was curious to see if the same theme would still resonate 365 days later and what, if any, changes I would see in the content presented.
Cloud computing delivers on-demand resources that provide businesses with flexibility and cost-savings. The challenge in moving workloads to the cloud has been the cost and complexity of ensuring the initial and ongoing security and regulatory (PCI, HIPAA, FFIEC) compliance across private and public clouds. Manual security compliance is slow, prone to human error, and represents over 50% of the cost of managing cloud applications. Determining how to automate cloud security compliance is critical to maintaining positive ROI. Raxak Protect is an automated security compliance SaaS platform and ma...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data shows "less than 10 percent of IoT developers are making enough to support a reasonably sized team....