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How to use the rogue cloud to innovate the right cloud

Andi Mann | March 4, 2013
Employees keep turning to rogue cloud services, storing and sharing highly sensitive information in the public cloud despite IT's warnings about the dangers, and despite story after story that validates those warnings.

He doesn't have time to go through the process of getting a login to the corporate FTP site. This goes double if he or his pal in India are third-party contractors. So it's not surprising when he turns to the rogue cloud and delivers the file using Dropbox or something similar, and risks the theft of confidential corporate data.

Every time someone uses a Dropbox-like service to store or share sensitive corporate information, they're relying on that service's security (or, more correctly, its lack of security). We've exchanged one type of risk (zip attachments) for another (sharing sensitive information in the rogue cloud) because we aren't helping our people understand the risks and, more important still, providing them with better alternatives.

As technologists, as business innovators, we can and must help. Certainly we can provide Dropbox-like capabilities that are as easy and usable but more secure, managed by IT, and comply with regulatory requirements and corporate policies. Why aren't we studying what's happening in the rogue cloud, using that as an Aha! moment, and empowering our people with better solutions? In concert with that, why aren't we educating them on the reasons why they shouldn't use the rogue cloud?

Explain the risk, explain the impact, explain the options, and explain how IT can help. There's no shortage of examples of companies who experienced a public breach of their sensitive data and suffered substantial losses as a result, with the average cost of a data breach being $5.5 million in 2011, according to some reports.

Let's create value rather than destroy it. Instead of policing innovation and shutting down things that we didn't approve beforehand, let's use the momentum of the rogue cloud, judo-style, to spark new ideas and help our people excel.

The technology is the easy part! Watching what our people are doing and the problems they're trying to solve (often successfully), getting the message out, and improving how we work with colleagues that's how we can exploit, and ultimately vanquish, the risks of the rogue cloud on the path to innovating the next generation of enterprise solutions.


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