16 Jan 2011 When the Cloud Becomes Smog
When I want to read in bed, I press a button and a light goes on. When I want to fry an egg, I turn the dial on my stove and it gets hot. When I want to take a shower – I just do it. I don’t have my own electricity generator or my own natural gas source or a water purifying plant. Why would I? I just want the end product. So why do I have an IT department?
We love the cloud. It frees up business to get better at business instead of getting better at IT.
But as businesses become more enthusiastic to embrace and exploit the cloud it is becoming more evident that along with cloud computing comes a complex chain of accountability.
Managing the Risk of an Outsourcing Relationship
A key part of the outsourcing discussion is service levels.Whatever is being outsourced, you need a level of assurance to that the level of service you require to operate your business will be delivered and that there is some form of redress when those service levels re not delivered. It’s fundamental. By outsourcing you are not only delegating part of your operation to a third party, without close management of service levels you are letting go of control.
So why are businesses so enthusiastic to rush to the cloud within which there are numerous third parties delegating responsibility to each other?
Practice Precedes Policy
Almost universally, practice precedes policy. Users will embrace new ways of working and expecting them to wait for policies to be defined is futile and it is inevitable the the inherent risks of cloud relationships will need to be managed rather than avoided.
This will require new models for service level agreements, end-to-end operational accountability and contract management and buyers will need to design and implement new IT governance structures.
Without such governance models and detailed managed accountability, the cloud becomes a murky and dangerous. No one wants smog computing.