Corporate Cloud Adoption
A couple of weeks back, Solar VPS President and COO Ross Brouse (@RossBrouse), gave a technical keynote presentation at New York City’s Cloud Expo. The presentation covered corporate Cloud adoption – how Cloud adoption begins on the couch and makes it all the way to the boardroom. Well, in this short article, we are going to run with that flag and dive into the topic a bit. So, if you’re a company of any size looking to fully Cloudize (word, not a word? We think it should be), err, make the jump into the Cloud, here are a few tips for successful Cloud computing adoption.
Understand the Difference
Before even considering a move into the Cloud, companies and non-IT minds need to understand the difference between the public Cloud and the private Cloud. Are you streaming music via Spotify right now? Are you looking at a friend’s Facebook status, tweeting to a person halfway across the world or downloading data from a shared Dropbox account? If so, you are using the public Cloud. The public Cloud, is as the name suggests, for public use. On the other hand, a private Cloud deployment is a Cloud deployed and maintained behind a private, closely guarded, corporate firewall. All the data stored in the private Cloud require corporate access keys and are housed behind a stringent firewall to ensure security.
When deploying a corporate Cloud, although some employees might use applications like Dropbox, Box.net and SugarSync to store less vital all information, the most sensitive data is stored, secured and kept behind your corporate firewall, in your corporate private Cloud only accessible using the right access keys.
- BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Means Everything
- Happier Employees in the Cloud
- Productivity, BYOD and the Cloud
When it comes to corporate Cloud adoption, the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) movement is paramount. Why is that? Well, think about it this way. If you work for a company who issues you a device instead of allowing you to use your own personal device, you now have two devices with different purposes. One device is for your personal life and one device is for your work life. However this creates an issue. It means, subconsciously, that employees can’t check in with their personal lives while at work and while at home, the last thing they want to do is check in with their work lives. This division is not good. A person is more than a simple division.
The fix is BYOD. The Bring Your Own Device movement allows consumers to bring their personal devices to work and use their personal devices for work. By synching with the corporate exchange server, corporate apps, corporate WordPress blogs etc. on their personal device, employees no longer need to worry about that work/life division. Instead of only checking personal email accounts, an employee can and now will check both personal and work accounts at the same time. The joining of work and life means a blurring of the work/life balance but it also means – and this important – a happier employee.
By blurring the line between work and play – by blurring the word/life balance – company employees are free to take care of personal matters at work and free to take care of work matters while lying in bed. This blurring of division means employees are using their own devices, checking their own Facebook accounts, tweeting on their own Twitter accounts and working on the company budget at the same time. By allowing employees to have a personal life and work and have a work life at home, employees are becoming happier. They can do as they please without having to worry about the old divisions in work/home spaces.
This blurring of the lines, as you might imagine, is also fostering more productivity among the BYOD, Cloud loving community.
Before the Cloud, employees had a hard time accessing critical work data and documents after leaving the office. However, with the advent of Cloud solutions in the corporate setting, getting work done while at home or on the road has never been easier. It’s so easy now that the office, the traditional place of work and advancement, is no longer necessary to accomplish goals. With the advent of Cloud solutions, the office is now a place of optional creative collaboration – it is no longer mandatory for work to get done. This leads us to security concerns for corporate Cloud adoption.
The Security Concerns of Employee Cloud Access
Question: How do you provide Cloud access to your employees without the fear of that data leaking out of your organization? If every employee has access to your private corporate data, data which now lives on every BYOD device, how do you protect against internal leaks? The answer is twofold.
One, provide so much access, provide access at such an easy clip that employees forget they are utilizing the Cloud.
- Make Cloud Access as Easy As Pie
- Time To Turn Access Off
This is going to go against everything you have been taught about security. Normally, if you want to secure something you secure it so no one can get in. You make access as tough as possible. While this remains true for unwanted external users (i.e. hardened firewalls and closed ports), for those on the inside, for those that are granted access, Cloud access has to be as easy as breathing. By making Cloud access as simple as possible, by making Cloud access second nature, by making Cloud access something you don’t even have to think about, something magical happens – the employee forgets he or she is using a Cloud solution. Why is this important?
If an employee forgets he or she is using data stored in a Private Cloud server, that employee will never download and store that data locally. Because the data is always accessible via the Cloud, because that data is so easy to access, employees simply overlook the idea of committing data to local backups. Why is this important?
Simple. With a lack of locally stored data employees can’t and won’t siphon data off from the Private Cloud server and sell that data to competitor brands. By making Cloud data infinitely accessible to employees, that data because more secure, not less.
But what happens when your employee is heading for a dead end? What happens when an employee is on the outs with a company? How does the company handle the data that employee uses on a daily basis? Simple: Remote Wipe. If all data is stored in the Cloud, if all corporate applications are stored in the Cloud, all a company has to do to shut off access to that data and those applications is push the off switch. Remote Wipe an employee’s device and lock that person out of the corporate Cloud.
Call it the off switch. Call it the kill switch. Call it the off button. Call it, “See ya later, nice knowing you”. Whatever you call it, the Cloud allows for remote wipes of devices and complete shut out from the corporate Private Cloud.
What could be more secure than that?
So, what are the lessons here:
- BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) is excellent for corporate Cloud adoption
- BYOD is making employees happier
- The Cloud is making companies and employees more productive
- The Cloud is blurring the Work/Life Balance in a good way
- The Cloud is making data more secure, not less
So, bring on corporate Cloud adoption. Follow this quick guide and you will have no problem at all.