IT executives are worried about business units that use social media, Dropbox, Skype, and other public clouds without working through IT. This "cloud sprawl" creates concerns about security, compliance, and other potential problems for the enterprise, according to a study.
According to the "2013 PMG Cloud Sprawl Survey" of 234 North American corporate IT professionals, IT pros are most worried about unauthorized use of public cloud storage (70 percent), cloud synchronization (68 percent), and collaboration applications (53 percent). More users seem to be turning to unauthorized use of public clouds even though the vast majority of employees understand the need for data security (89 percent).
Today, more than half of IT pros say their organizations have a policy regarding use of public cloud storage (54 percent). But a plurality of respondents say they've been only "somewhat effective" educating business users about the problems in using the public cloud. An additional 28 percent rate their efforts as not effective, with only 20 percent saying they've been effective. Ten percent say they're not sure how effective they are, according to the study, conducted in March.
Most IT pros see this "cloud sprawl" as negative, according to a PMG press release:
The ever-growing use of public cloud services and apps by individuals or business units within a company, often without permission from IT, also known as cloud sprawl, is a trend most tech professionals see as negative. A majority of IT pros (52 percent) say cloud sprawl will have a significant or somewhat negative impact on operations and resources, and 34 percent say they don't yet know how it will impact IT.
"Cloud services will continue to expand within companies, in fact this study found 38 percent of IT respondents turn to the cloud because it offers faster deployment," said Joe LeCompte, principal at PMG. "Savvy IT departments are focusing on finding better ways to offer enterprise-grade cloud services to internal users as a way to stem cloud sprawl and safeguard corporate information."
Here's what's keeping IT up at night worrying about public cloud, according to the study:
- 79 percent data security
- 57 percent compliance
- 55 percent network security
- 51 percent loss of control
- 48 percent unmanaged applications
IT either blocks or limits access to social media (66 percent), Skype (61 percent), Dropbox (59 percent), and Google Drive (40 percent). BYOD drives cloud sprawl, according to 64 percent of respondents.
What happens when IT uncovers cloud sprawl? Eleven percent of IT pros said they look the other way; 15 percent "immediately pull the plug"; and 65 percent "say they evaluate the service and act accordingly (either approving or denying usage)," according to the PMG statement.
Is cloud sprawl a problem in your organization? What steps are you taking to address the problem? Leave a message below and let us know.
— Mitch Wagner , Editor in Chief, Internet Evolution