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How Do You Protect Your Business If Your Cloud Service Provider Fails?

By the end of this year, Gartner predicts 1 of 4 cloud service providers (CSPs) will no longer be in business due to consolidation or lack of funding. Based on the explosive growth of cloud use, you are likely using SaaS to support business critical functions and IaaS compute or storage services from the cloud. What happens if that SaaS or IaaS cloud vendor isn’t there tomorrow?

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Cisco Cloud Consumption at Cisco Live!

Cloud sprawl is a huge, growing challenge. On average, large companies use 645 individual cloud services, which has grown 17% in just six months. What’s crazy is when you ask IT teams to estimate, they think they’re only using about 40 cloud services (yikes!).

I’m at Cisco Live US this week in San Diego – and wanted to share with you our Cloud Consumption portal and booth (check it out below). With Cloud Consumption Services, you can discover all the cloud services you’re using (SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS), understand data security risks you’re facing, review cloud provider risk profiles, benchmark cloud usage against peers, and other useful things.

To learn more:

  • Visit us at our booth at Cisco Live US this week and meet the Cloud Consumption Service team
  • Learn more about how Cloud Consumption Services can help you better manage a new world of many clouds

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Identifying and Solving the Cloud Sprawl Problem

An interesting read for me one day last week was the Wall Street Journal reporting on the exploding yet ungoverned use of cloud services by employees in just about every organization.  Referring to Rachael King writing for CIO Journal, author Steve Rosenbush outlines the potential for security problems and the surprising reaction of companies who start to understand how many cloud services employees are really using.

The facts of unregulated cloud usage are surprising, no debate.  A few months back I was talking to an industry analyst and I asked him how many cloud providers enterprise organizations knew they had, and how many were actually being used by employees.  He replied “probably 5 or 6” are known, and “maybe 10 or so are actually in use in total”.  “So maybe double?” I replied to confirm my understanding.   He nearly fell off his chair when I told him what we are finding in Cisco Services engagement, that it’s more like a factor of 10-15 than a factor of 1-2!  (as the following diagram shows)

Cloud Usage

There are two aspects to this problem I’d like to discuss in this blog, identifying the cloud usage and then both consolidating and tidying it up, with the aim of increasing security and saving you money in  the process.  I’ll also related this to two key services we offer in this arena, Cisco Cloud Consumption Services and Cisco Cloud On-boarding Services.

 

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Harnessing the Power of As-a-Service Cloud Offerings

When used wisely, consuming cloud as-a-service (aaS) can dramatically improve business outcomes. Primarily, cloud IT services can promote business agility, reduce expenses, and accelerate time-to-market. They also can provide access to highly trained professionals with focused technical expertise, solving a longstanding problem many IT leaders face with sourcing specialized talent.

Businesses today want speed and flexibility, and cloud IT as-a-service can help them achieve that because they don’t need to procure and deploy hardware and then build, test, and iterate software solutions. Although cloud offerings are attractive because they are readily available and can be deployed quickly, there are several factors to consider when deciding whether to build a solution in-house or outsource it to a cloud provider.

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Bringing clarity to cloud usage: a must-do for shaping more effective IT strategies

Shadow IT isn’t anything new; it is part of human behavior and started with the first mini-computers in family homes. People will always choose the tools that help them do their jobs in the simplest and most efficient way. Unfortunately, when that means using unsanctioned technologies, well intentioned selections can have unintended and potentially dangerous consequences for the company.  These can include: increased security risks, diminished productivity, and increased costs. Additionally, when users select their own cloud services, they inadvertently create silos of information that IT is not unaware of, and potentially create data compliance issues.   By purchasing cloud services on an ad hoc basis, users limit the company’s ability to negotiate volume pricing.

IT leaders and other executives need to make it their responsibility to find out which cloud services are being used, and come to a mutual understanding of which cloud technologies are best for the business. Only through a clear understanding can IT leaders devise cloud strategies that benefit users—and ultimately drive business advancement. At the very least, IT leaders need to become informed brokers. Even better, they may want to establish their own cloud services and merchandize them to reduce costs and better meet user needs.

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