The 3 stages of cloud computing resistance

Some IT departments follow a familiar pattern when it comes to cloud computing -- it's time to change that

How do many enterprise IT departments approach cloud computing? Their path mirrors that of a person going through the stages of grief: denial, anger, and acceptance.

Stage 1: Ignore the problem

When retail-oriented public cloud providers began to emerge several years ago, there were those in the enterprise who needed ways to share and collaborate with colleagues on documents and files. They picked up cloud services by Box, Dropbox, Google, Apple, and others. Enterprise IT responded by "allowing" the use of these clouds, as long as it didn't know about it -- tech's version of "don't ask, don't tell."

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Stage 2: Overreact to the problem

More recently, many IT organizations have cracked down on the use of personal clouds, by enacting policies that explicitly forbid it, by blocking access altogether, or by doing both. Users had to go back to implementing "sneakernets," emailing files, or adopting other less-than-productive approaches. In more enterprises than you'd suspect, users commonly bring in their own mobile hotspots to get around the corporate firewalls.

Those in IT often argue that these clouds are inherently insecure, so they're not to be used. I argue that users need a reasonable alternative to thumb drives, personal email, and sneakernet that IT can support, if not for the users' benefit, then to be more secure. These techniques are much less secure than using certain cloud services.

Stage 3: Solve the problem

The trick is to come up with a plan that includes the use of many popular services, but in secure and manageable ways. Figuring this out will take some time, some resources, and even some risk. However, if they're done right, you'll have happier and more productive employees.

The days of just saying no to every new technology that comes down the pike are over. The current generation of enterprise users is tech-savvy enough to use them anyway, if they make their work lives easier and/or more productive. IT will have to figure out the real issues rather than just sending out all-company emails stating that Dropbox or whatever is now forbidden.

This is not to say you're obligated to use and support every kind of cloud technology -- you do need to control use and access. However, there should be policies that explain the why and how about cloud computing rather than issue a flat "no." Drink some tea and relax; it will be OK.

This article, "The 3 stages of cloud computing resistance," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and track the latest developments in cloud computing at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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