UK IT Pros: 'We're Losing Control Over Cloud Services'

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Almost two thirds (60%) of UK business leaders believe the management of technology is shifting away from IT to other departments as more cloud services are adopted—resulting in some significant security trade-offs.

According to a region-specific survey from VMware, leaders from across the business believe this is causing a duplication of spending on IT services (63%), a lack of clear ownership and responsibility for IT (62%) and the purchasing of unsecure solutions (59%).

Furthermore, this decentralization movement is happening against the wishes of IT teams, the majority (67%) of which want IT to become more centralized. In particular, IT leaders feel that core functions like network security and compliance (79%), disaster recovery/business continuity (46%) and storage (39%) should remain in their control.

That said, the decentralization of IT is delivering real business benefits too, including the ability to launch new products and services to market with greater speed (56%), giving the business more freedom to drive innovation (63%) and increasing responsiveness to market conditions (59%). There are also positives from a skills perspective, with the shift in technology ownership beyond IT to the broader business seen to increase employee satisfaction (53%) and help attract better talent (37%). This indicates that finding a way to address the aforementioned challenges will soon be a requirement.

“It’s ‘transform or die’ for many businesses, with a tumultuous economic environment and radically evolved competitive landscape upturning the way they operate,” said Joe Baguley, vice president and CTO, EMEA, at VMware. “Managing this change is the great organizational challenge companies face. The rise of the cloud has democratized IT, with its ease of access and attractive costing models, so it’s no surprise that lines of business have jumped on this opportunity. Too often, however, we’re seeing this trend left unchecked and without adequate IT governance, meaning that organizations across EMEA are driving up costs, compromising security and muddying the waters as to who does what, as they look to evolve.”

The survey also found that more than three-quarters (77%) believe that IT should enable the lines of business to drive innovation, but must set the strategic direction and be accountable for security—highlighting the balance to be struck between the central IT function retaining control while also allowing innovation to foster in other, separate areas of the business.

“This isn’t ‘shadow IT’ anymore, that’s yesterday’s story—this is now ‘mainstream IT’,” added Baguley. “The decentralization movement is happening, driven by the need for speed in today’s business world: we’ve never seen such a desire for new, immediately available applications, services and ways of working. By recognizing these changes are happening, and adapting to them, IT can still be an integral part of leading this charge of change. The latest technology or application will only truly drive digital transformation when it’s able to cross any cloud, to be available at speed and with ease, within a secure environment.”

The UK results mirror those from a broader VMware survey showing that the security ramifications are significant: 57% of global respondents agree that decentralization has resulted in the purchasing of non-secure solutions. Another 60% agree decentralization results in applications being developed outside of corporate or government regulations, while 56% agree decentralization results in lack of regulatory compliance of data protection.

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