Attention B2B Marketers: Access 30 Million IT Decision Makers with a Custom Lead Generation Program Click to Learn More!
Welcome Guest | Sign In
Content Marketing on ALL EC

No Cloud Apps at Your Company? Don't Just Blame IT

By Jeffrey M. Kaplan E-Commerce Times ECT News Network
Mar 9, 2012 5:00 AM PT

I recently read an article in USA Today about the escalating concerns within a widening array of organizations over the growing security risks associated with today's social networks.

No Cloud Apps at Your Company? Don't Just Blame IT

My sense is the article was prompted by the annual RSA Conference that was taking place the same week, bringing thousands of security professionals and vendors together to talk about the latest threats and new technologies to combat them.

Corporate concerns about potential Internet security risks have skyrocketed, not only because of Facebook, Twitter and other popular social networking tools, but also as a result of the rising unilateral adoption of Software as a Service and other cloud services by business end-users without the authorization of corporate IT.

Shadow IT

This "consumerization" of IT phenomenon has been well-documented by various research firms and industry publications. Yet, it was vividly brought home again for me at an advisory board meeting I recently attended, when a seasoned CIO from a prominent fashion retailer reported that a quick poll of his strategic business units (SBUs) uncovered nearly 60 SaaS/cloud apps in use when he thought there might be "only" a couple dozen.

He was not only surprised to discover there were more than twice as many apps being used than he assumed, but also unable to say with 100 percent confidence even then that he had a full inventory of all the SaaS/cloud apps being used within his company.

While "shadow IT" is a big problem for a lot of CIOs and IT departments to control, the other CIOs attending the same advisory board meeting said they were willing to work with their SBUs to more systematically adopt proven or promising SaaS/cloud apps to meet their needs. However, they were facing stiff resistance from other players in the CXO suite.

Many corporate risk officers are still unwilling to approve the use of SaaS/Cloud apps because they can't determine how to safeguard against potential security vulnerabilities and liabilities.

More interesting is the surprising number of CFOs who are opposed to adopting SaaS/cloud apps because they would rather continue to rely on legacy software and systems.

That approach permits companies to make big capital investments that are more appealing than pay-as-you-go operating expenditures -- from a strict profit-and-loss perspective -- on financial balance sheets.

Decision-Makers in the Dark

So, while there are still plenty of "server huggers" among IT staff who are determined to beat back end-user attempts to acquire SaaS/cloud apps, in some cases IT is enlightened and willing to accept these apps, while other corporate decision-makers are constructing barriers to adoption.

Overcoming these obstacles to take advantage of the potential benefits of SaaS/cloud apps isn't easy. It takes a concerted effort by corporate end-users and executives.

The most successful of these efforts is led by a cross-functional steering committee that establishes a set of policies and puts in place practical procedures that encourage the orderly adoption of SaaS/cloud apps, enabling the organization to achieve its business objectives.

Jeff Kaplan is the managing director of THINKstrategies and founder of the Cloud Computing Showplace. He can be reached at

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ RSS
What should be done about UFOs?
World governments should cooperate to address a potential planetary threat.
The DoD should investigate -- they could signal a hostile nation's tech advances.
The government should reveal what it already knows.
The government probably has good reasons for secrecy and should be trusted on this.
Wealthy corporate space-age visionaries should take the lead.
Nothing. Studying UFOs is a waste of resources.
Keep the stories coming. People love conspiracy theories, and it's fun to speculate.