We have sat in several meetings with clients talking about the cloud and find it a little surprising when they tell us that they don’t use the cloud and that their business probably isn’t ready for it just yet.

Dig a little deeper in to their goals and concerns with the cloud, and security and data ownership often come into the conversation. They are afraid of where their data might end up.

With a few pertinent questions to their users, it often arises that they are already using non-company managed cloud solutions in the workplace like Dropbox or Evernote, to share files, collaborate and get around the shortcomings of their own organisation’s systems.

Often this is when the connection is made that while they don’t have a “cloud strategy”, their staff sure do… and it’s one already out of the business’s control.

With tens of thousands of cloud applications on the market for quick download, how can business owners manage the use of these and the overall security for their organisation?

Microsoft Azure has a tool that can tell you exactly what cloud apps are in use and how often your staff are using them. We recently tested this in an office on a select group of somewhat hesitant users. The test users were a bit skeptical, thinking that this tool would monitor their entire internet activity including what websites they visit, when, and for how long. Not so at all. We estimate that on average employees have visited and utilised 3 to 4 unauthorised cloud applications. Therefore, the time to tidy up your business’ governance is now.

From Office 365 to LinkedIn to Dropbox to Facebook, the test group had easily fallen into the average cloud-user. But now that we know users are in fact using the cloud, it raises a few questions. If users are using their personal cloud apps to send business related documents how does a company get access to these documents, especially if a user leaves the organisation? How can a business better protect their IP? And what should we be providing for our users so they don’t need to outsource their productivity tools?

Whilst consumer applications, such as cloud storage tools may provide employees with productivity gains, they also introduce an assortment of risks to an organisation. The risk of leakage of corporate sensitive data is great in these cases, particularly when stored in a private cloud-based storage, where an organisation no longer owns the data.

Whether security, compliance, control, or knowledge retention are an organisation’s key focus, cloud-based applications within the workplace can be risky and costly.

So what are the next steps for an organisation looking to get control over their cloud usage?

Professional Advantage can help. We are offering FREE Cloud Discovery Workshops so you can gain a better understanding of cloud usage in your business, and find out what you don’t know.

You can read more about Professional Advantage and the cloud here.

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