There is a really good article from Gartner last week which can be found at http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=1947315 in which Gartner claims that personal cloud will replace PC’s by 2014.
Gartner lists several reasons for their assertion, including
- The consumerization of IT
- The ever-available self service cloud
- The mobility shift – whenever, wherever
I think Gartner is right. The question that Gartner has not addressed, and one that I think really needs asking, is where will the IT department be in all of this? Will they be the ones that try to control the user’s use of cloud and limit its use because they are threatened by it? Or will they embrace cloud and the flexibility, agility, and availability that cloud brings to the table and use it as a catalyst for retooling themselves into the IT department of the future? Especially where private cloud is concerned users are currently going around their IT department. I am seeing it practically everywhere I go.
For example, let’s talk something as simple as dropbox. Everyone I know is using dropbox. Yes. Even in the government everyone I know is using dropbox. And yet CIO’s are having veritable fits when they find out. Should CIO’s take action and shutdown the ports on which dropbox operates? No. Instead they should embrace something like box.com which gives users dropbox-like capabilities but with IT management and control over which type of files can be stored there and for how long. VMware has a similar product coming out code-named Octopus. If they did that, for example, IT could implement a policy which says that music files cannot be stored at all, while agency / company documents could be stored for 180 days before being moved off to a tape archive or something similar. That would meet two requirements:
- Let users get work done on multiple devices (does anyone not have multiple devices these days)?
- Give IT the control of what kind of documents are stored, for how long, and the security policies for dual factor authentication, encryption, etc.
But instead of adopting new technology and adapting it, some IT departments are just trying to ban it. That’s not going to work long term, because users are more tech savvy today than ever before and they want their applications and their data whenever, wherever from whatever device they happen to be on at the moment. Its a fact of modern life.
So, don’t try and stop the train. Get on board and help your users get want they want but with the controls and security that you need!
As always, thanks for reading.
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