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Perhaps the Biggest Challenge in Cloud Management is You

Perhaps the Biggest Challenge in Cloud Management is You

October 23, 2012
By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor

Everywhere you look there’s talk of cloud management; just glancing through Sunday’s paper reveals more and more advertisements offering to help businesses wishing to transition their operations to the cloud. Even a morning read of the comic strip ‘Dilbert,’ and you can’t escape it. In a recent cartoon, Dilbert’s pointy-haired boss says that they should start using cloud management if they want to be taken seriously as a company – even though he admits he has no clue what cloud computing is or why he needs to care. 

Turns out the advertisers in the paper and pointy-haired boss have more in common than one might think – they’re both interested in capitalizing on a technology that, according to a new survey, is still in its infancy.

In a study released in September, the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) and the ISACA teamed up to examine the stage cloud management occupies within the technology life cycle – infancy, growth, maturity or decline. To answer this question, the two organizations polled 250 different individuals from small firms to large corporations, including everyday users of the technology to key decision makers.

After their examination of factors including variety and size of the market, adoption and implementation levels and room for innovation, researchers concluded that utilization of the cloud is still in its infancy or beginning stages of development, which is defined as having an opportunity for growth and innovation that has yet to be fully achieved.

There are a couple of reasons cited for this. First is the fact that cloud management, per study data, is still mainly being utilized by the early adopters, or people who rush out when something new is unveiled and buy it immediately because they must have the latest and greatest on the market. Others are kind of waiting in the wings until the technology ‘bugs’ get worked out and everything is tried and true.

But cloud services are really just a different application of the Internet, which has been available for many, many years now. For company execs like pointy-haired boss, though, the technology represents uncharted waters, and initially, there’s always the fear of the unknown. The author of an article found at Windows IT Pro (News - Alert) suggests that the problem might also have something to do with the cloud not receiving proper media coverage.

Other factors contributing to the lack of widespread acceptance of cloud management include risks posed from regulatory and compliance issues, data and security apprehensions and questions surrounding contract lock and exit policies. It is this lack of trust and uncertainty that prevents companies from soaring to the cloud, as they feel they have more control when operations are managed on-site.

However, as study authors point out, cloud technologies present an opportunity for innovation and a competitive edge that would change the face of the information technology market as we know it if everyone jumped on board. And, as with any new technology, it’s often the ones willing to take the greatest risk that yield the highest rewards. 

This window of opportunity may be open for a while, though, as study results indicate it may take up to three years before companies become comfortable enough with cloud management technology to propel it into the growth phase. In other words, it seems that our very own unwillingness to jump into the sea of cloud computing possibilities could be its largest setback.

Edited by Allison Boccamazzo

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