Click here to close now.

Welcome!

Java Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Liz McMillan, Blue Box Blog, Pat Romanski, Kevin Benedict

Related Topics: Cloud Expo, Microservices Journal, Web 2.0, Security, Big Data Journal, SDN Journal

Cloud Expo: 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 join.me. 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
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built to optimize Microsoft workloads, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Gridstore™ is the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built for Microsoft workloads and designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Gridstore’s hyper-converged infrastructure is the industry’s first all flash version of HyperConverged Appliances that include both compute and storag...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IDenticard will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IDenticard™ is the security division of Brady Corp (NYSE: BRC), a $1.5 billion manufacturer of identification products. We have small-company values with the strength and stability of a major corporation. IDenticard offers local sales, support and service to our customers across the United States and Canada. Our partner network encompasses some 300 of the world's leading systems integrators and security s...
SYS-CON Events announced today the IoT Bootcamp – Jumpstart Your IoT Strategy, being held June 9–10, 2015, in conjunction with 16th Cloud Expo and Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Javits Center in New York City. This is your chance to jumpstart your IoT strategy. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the IoT Bootcamp is not just based on presentations but includes hands-on demos and walkthroughs. We will introduce you to a variety of Do-It-Yourself IoT platforms including Arduino, Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone, Spark and Intel Edison. You will also get an overview of cloud technologies s...
The best mobile applications are augmented by dedicated servers, the Internet and Cloud services. Mobile developers should focus on one thing: writing the next socially disruptive viral app. Thanks to the cloud, they can focus on the overall solution, not the underlying plumbing. From iOS to Android and Windows, developers can leverage cloud services to create a common cross-platform backend to persist user settings, app data, broadcast notifications, run jobs, etc. This session provides a high level technical overview of many cloud services available to mobile app developers, includi...
“In the past year we've seen a lot of stabilization of WebRTC. You can now use it in production with a far greater degree of certainty. A lot of the real developments in the past year have been in things like the data channel, which will enable a whole new type of application," explained Peter Dunkley, Technical Director at Acision, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ciqada will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Ciqada™ makes it easy to connect your products to the Internet. By integrating key components - hardware, servers, dashboards, and mobile apps - into an easy-to-use, configurable system, your products can quickly and securely join the internet of things. With remote monitoring, control, and alert messaging capability, you will meet your customers' needs of tomorrow - today! Ciqada. Let your products take flight. For more inform...
Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 16th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York June 9-11 will find fresh new content in a new track called PaaS | Containers & Microservices Containers are not being considered for the first time by the cloud community, but a current era of re-consideration has pushed them to the top of the cloud agenda. With the launch of Docker's initial release in March of 2013, interest was revved up several notches. Then late last...
Health care systems across the globe are under enormous strain, as facilities reach capacity and costs continue to rise. M2M and the Internet of Things have the potential to transform the industry through connected health solutions that can make care more efficient while reducing costs. In fact, Vodafone's annual M2M Barometer Report forecasts M2M applications rising to 57 percent in health care and life sciences by 2016. Lively is one of Vodafone's health care partners, whose solutions enable older adults to live independent lives while staying connected to loved ones. M2M will continue to gr...
While not quite mainstream yet, WebRTC is starting to gain ground with Carriers, Enterprises and Independent Software Vendors (ISV’s) alike. WebRTC makes it easy for developers to add audio and video communications into their applications by using Web browsers as their platform. But like any market, every customer engagement has unique requirements, as well as constraints. And of course, one size does not fit all. In her session at WebRTC Summit, Dr. Natasha Tamaskar, Vice President, Head of Cloud and Mobile Strategy at GENBAND, will explore what is needed to take a real time communications ...
SYS-CON Media announced today that @WebRTCSummit Blog, the largest WebRTC resource in the world, has been launched. @WebRTCSummit Blog offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. @WebRTCSummit Blog can be bookmarked ▸ Here @WebRTCSummit conference site can be bookmarked ▸ Here
Dave will share his insights on how Internet of Things for Enterprises are transforming and making more productive and efficient operations and maintenance (O&M) procedures in the cleantech industry and beyond. Speaker Bio: Dave Landa is chief operating officer of Cybozu Corp (kintone US). Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Dave has been on the forefront of the Cloud revolution driving strategic business development on the executive teams of multiple leading Software as a Services (SaaS) application providers dating back to 2004. Cybozu's kintone.com is a leading global BYOA (Build Your O...
SYS-CON Events announced today that GENBAND, a leading developer of real time communications software solutions, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's WebRTC Summit, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The GENBAND team will be on hand to demonstrate their newest product, Kandy. Kandy is a communications Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) that enables companies to seamlessly integrate more human communications into their Web and mobile applications - creating more engaging experiences for their customers and boosting collaboration and productiv...
SYS-CON Events announced today that BroadSoft, the leading global provider of Unified Communications and Collaboration (UCC) services to operators worldwide, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's WebRTC Summit, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. BroadSoft is the leading provider of software and services that enable mobile, fixed-line and cable service providers to offer Unified Communications over their Internet Protocol networks. The Company’s core communications platform enables the delivery of a range of enterprise and consumer calling...
So I guess we’ve officially entered a new era of lean and mean. I say this with the announcement of Ubuntu Snappy Core, “designed for lightweight cloud container hosts running Docker and for smart devices,” according to Canonical. “Snappy Ubuntu Core is the smallest Ubuntu available, designed for security and efficiency in devices or on the cloud.” This first version of Snappy Ubuntu Core features secure app containment and Docker 1.6 (1.5 in main release), is available on public clouds, and for ARM and x86 devices on several IoT boards. It’s a Trend! This announcement comes just as...
What exactly is a cognitive application? In her session at 16th Cloud Expo, Ashley Hathaway, Product Manager at IBM Watson, will look at the services being offered by the IBM Watson Developer Cloud and what that means for developers and Big Data. She'll explore how IBM Watson and its partnerships will continue to grow and help define what it means to be a cognitive service, as well as take a look at the offerings on Bluemix. She will also check out how Watson and the Alchemy API team up to offer disruptive APIs to developers.
The IoT Bootcamp is coming to Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo on June 9-10 at the Javits Center in New York. Instructor. Registration is now available at http://iotbootcamp.sys-con.com/ Instructor Janakiram MSV previously taught the famously successful Multi-Cloud Bootcamp at Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo in November in Santa Clara. Now he is expanding the focus to Janakiram is the founder and CTO of Get Cloud Ready Consulting, a niche Cloud Migration and Cloud Operations firm that recently got acquired by Aditi Technologies. He is a Microsoft Regional Director for Hyderabad, India, and one of the f...
The 17th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. 17th International Cloud Expo, to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Microservices, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal today!
In 2015, 4.9 billion connected "things" will be in use. By 2020, Gartner forecasts this amount to be 25 billion, a 410 percent increase in just five years. How will businesses handle this rapid growth of data? Hadoop will continue to improve its technology to meet business demands, by enabling businesses to access/analyze data in real time, when and where they need it. Cloudera's Chief Technologist, Eli Collins, will discuss how Big Data is keeping up with today's data demands and how in the future, data and analytics will be pervasive, embedded into every workflow, application and infra...
As Marc Andreessen says software is eating the world. Everything is rapidly moving toward being software-defined – from our phones and cars through our washing machines to the datacenter. However, there are larger challenges when implementing software defined on a larger scale - when building software defined infrastructure. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Boyan Ivanov, CEO of StorPool, will provide some practical insights on what, how and why when implementing "software-defined" in the datacenter.
SYS-CON Media announced today that @ThingsExpo Blog launched with 7,788 original stories. @ThingsExpo Blog offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. @ThingsExpo Blog can be bookmarked. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.