Covert cloud spending on the rise

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Covert cloud spend is a concern within organisations.

This spend occurs as employees turn to cloud computing services either out of frustration with the internal IT services, or to enhance their productivity.

So said Ian Jansen van Rensburg, systems engineering manager at VMware Southern Africa, while addressing the ITWeb Cloud Computing Summit this morning.

Referring to a recent VMware study, Jansen van Rensburg pointed out that it is now a common trend for staff to purchase cloud services without the IT department's permission. According to the study, 37% of senior European IT decision-makers suspect that there is off-radar cloud spend in their organisations, while 58% of European knowledge workers would use unapproved cloud services.

"Employees are finding different ways to circumvent IT. Some 43% are putting [cloud spend] through under departmental budgets, 38% put it on expenses, and 33% use company credit cards," said Jansen van Rensburg.

With the increasing risks caused by this trend, Jansen van Rensburg said increasing efficiency and agility requirements, along with competitive pressure from public cloud infrastructure providers, compels the typical enterprise IT department to build an IT environment exhibiting cloud characteristics.

According to Jansen van Rensburg, building an internal cloud is an essential journey that may take five or more years to complete, and requires careful attention to governance, service automation, service management, and capacity and utilisation management, among other concerns.

Transitioning from a traditional data centre to an internal cloud requires close co-ordination among many internal departments that drive several evolutionary activities in parallel, he explained.

End-user computing

Jansen van Rensburg also revealed that, in 2013, a new era has arrived for end-user computing, in which a multi-device and mobile workspace has become the norm. "Users experience productivity tools in their private lives they would like to use at work. It's the so-called consumerisation. Most of us can't get through our working day any longer without using at least two or three devices to finish our daily work. Essentially, we are working more productively thanks to the greater flexibility this model provides, and are consequently happier in our working lives."

He believes IT has to be more creative when it comes to enabling people to work more freely, while maintaining corporate compliance and the security of corporate assets. "Be under no illusion - this is not an easy balance to strike, and many organisations are struggling to make the change," he said.

"Some enlightened companies are setting up bring your own device (BYOD) schemes whereby end-users can buy and use the devices and applications they want to." This consumerisation of IT trend means technical departments need to ensure their corporate environments are secure and complaint.

He also noted that other less-forward-thinking organisations are saying no to BYOD, only to find that their users are implementing it anyway, with their own devices and their own apps and services, effectively bypassing IT altogether.

"The multi-device era and consumerisation aren't really choices - they are unavoidable facts," he concluded. "One thing's for sure: the traditional management model used by IT for more than 25 years just doesn't cut it anymore due to the explosion of devices and applications, and the increased expectations of end-users."

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