Cloud services give businesses great benefits, such as flexibility, scalability, speed, standardization, and efficiency. Factually this is true, but precisely these benefits also mean that many businesses take on cloud services far too easily.
Today, most companies have a variety of cloud services. A not insignificant part of these can also fly a little under the radar. The simplicity and flexibility make it possible to bypass processes for procurement and evaluation of IT services. This can result in an increasingly complex IT environment with a tangled undergrowth that is difficult to control and take responsibility for. Let me give you some examples.
The temporary solution quickly becomes permanent
A group of developers is working independently to develop an app that solves an annoying problem for customers. They build the application themselves and integrate a cloud-based micro-service, which one of the developers quickly orders and charges the company credit card. The app is tested, validated, and launched to customers. They like it, and the app quickly becomes an established part of the business’ offer. No one thinks about the micro-service subscription. Something that would temporarily solve a problem soon became an established part of the solution. But what happens when the credit card is no longer valid, and the payments stop working?
Who left the tap on?
A production team works to streamline workflows. To test different methods for doing the monthly data runs, they buy a cloud service to handle the extra resources they need a few hours around month-end. The service cost can be handled as an ongoing expense, as it does not even exceed the limit for approval by a senior manager or the purchasing department. The only problem is that the business develops further, and the monthly runs move to another part of the business. Still, one problem remains. No one terminated the cloud service, which instead of a few hours, now stays on around the clock, month after month.
Even new solutions will one day be end-of-life
Some time ago, Apple revoked Facebook’s developer certificate. This showed that you could not trust that public cloud services will exist forever. Not even if you are one of the world’s largest and most well-known companies, which is what I described in more detail in an article published at IDG.
However, the problem is still relevant. Even new systems and solutions can disappear or one day become old and obsolete. Therefore, you should remember that before services, systems, cloud services, and solutions are implemented or taken into operation, they need to have an exit strategy. You need a plan for what happens if the system no longer exists or is supported or if the business needs to find an alternative provider or service for other reasons.
The technology stays but not the rules they were created for
Even if you have evaluated your cloud service of choice by the book, these can be influenced by external factors. Regulations and legislation can quickly overturn how data is handled, stored, and transferred between countries or regions. For example, the local data protection authorities asked one of CGI's international customers to move specific data processing from a public cloud service in just 12 hours to meet the authority’s requirements. Without adequate documentation, routines, and processes – regular organization practice – it would be difficult to complete this type of requirement.
In recent years, there has been a lot of activity around legislation and other regulations with significant consequences for businesses. An overly diversified cloud environment does not make it easier to adapt the company to new and changed requirements.
These examples are not intended as intimidation propaganda against cloud solutions, rather the opposite. Just because it is easy to order and commission cloud solutions do not mean that cloud solutions should be used too lightly. It is essential to do the necessary preparatory work and to have a well-thought-out strategy. In order to realize all the benefits of the cloud, it is crucial to understand the complexity that cloud services can create and consider and plan for both internal and external factors impact on the cloud services and how they are used. At CGI we work with management, consultation, and creation of efficient and sustainable hybrid clouds to help you achieve the benefits.