There seems to be little doubt that cloud technology can be positive for most organizations and that the cloud is certainly here to stay. Cloud services can lower your IT costs and deliver a more optimized IT solution. There is no longer any need for your own data centers, servers, technicians, and expensive IT consultants. But as we start to consume more and more cloud services for all of our needs things start to become complicated. Today the average organization consumes many cloud applications, some approved by management and some unauthorised (this is known as Shadow IT). This raises questions such as:
- How do we keep track of all these services?
- What apps or applications are we paying for but not using?
- How can we better manage all these services?
It is important to take control of the cloud services, both for the organization and the users. The organization needs to make sure that it is using trustworthy vendors and an appropriate legal structure and that contracts, SLA and pricing are in place and agreed. Also maintain good management and auditing to ensure that the organization is not paying for cloud services that are not in use or does'nt bring any value to the company. The users, on the other hand, are trying to find ways to do their jobs better, often using the latest devices but struggling to keep up with all their different logins, passwords and expenses claims.
To fully understand the situation and find the all cloud services that are being used within your organization you need to speak to all your different departments and identify their individual requirements. Your users are introducing many of the cloud services themselves, either free services or paid for via expnses. Seek to understand the features that your users are actually using and aggregate them into the least number of cloud services possible to ease cost and management overhead.
You now know the functionality your users require but what cloud services should you use? This is where it gets complicated. There are thousands of cloud services out there, and it is hard to know which are being delivered by dependable companies. You will be trusting your sensitive corporate data with your cloud vendors and downtime can cost you a lot.
Take control of your cloud services!
The cloud services industry is moving closer towards maturity. Today we rarely buy our milk at one store and our meat in another - the cloud is also moving in a direction where we will have a central place for all our cloud services. These providers, known as Cloud Brokers or Cloud Aggregators will, according to industry leading analyst Gartner, play the most important role in the cloud space in the future. A good Cloud Broker or Aggregator can help you find the right cloud services satisfying all your security, legal and, feature/function requirements. They will make sure that the cloud services in their portfolio are from approved vendors and that they achieve enterprise-class service delivery and monitor their SLA (Service Level Agreement) attainment.
When you choose a Cloud Broker or Aggregator you should pay close attention to their cloud management platform. It can become your best friend. A good cloud management platform lets you easily purchase and configure your cloud services so you only have one place to go to manage all your users and services. It also helps you understand which services are being used, by whom and at cost. When an employee leaves you can just delete or disable their user account and all cloud services associated with that user will automatically be deleted or disabled.
To purchase and manage cloud services separately will soon become overwhelming due to the complexity of managing multiple vendors. With a Cloud Broker, you will be back in control of your cloud IT environment, with just one bill, easier password management and one place to get support.
- Understand what cloud services are being used in your organization. Don't take it for granted that your users are only using the apps, tools and services you have approved and made available.
- Create a list of features and functionalities your organization needs and try to map these to as few cloud services as possible.
- Evaluate using a Cloud Broker instead of buying the cloud services individually. It won't cost you any more as the price is usually the same or better.
Thanks for reading,