While cloud adoption may be exciting for developers, ungoverned and unregulated cloud service usage across the enterprise can cause big headaches for IT departments. Cloud sprawl, the use of public cloud services and applications by employees or business units without the permission of IT, must be reined in sooner rather than later. When it comes to cloud sprawl containment, there are five things every CIO needs to know.

1. Employee Education Does Not Equal Understanding

Many employees know what the company policies are, but these same employees often do not understand the repercussions of breaking the policies. A recent PMG cloud sprawl survey of corporate IT professionals found that while 89 percent of employees understand the need for data security, many are comfortable using unauthorized cloud solutions at work. This rogue behavior impacts the IT operations and budget.

To help enforce existing policies, IT must work with other departments within the enterprise, such as HR, marketing or compliance, to ensure that employees understand the “why” behind these policies. Employees must fully grasp how the use of unauthorized cloud services and applications puts the enterprise at potential security risks, confidentiality breaches and could violate third-party compliance regulations.

2. Business Units Look to the Cloud

Business units will continue to look to the cloud for solutions that increase their efficiency and productivity when the IT team is not able to deliver comparable solutions in a timely fashion.

While IT professionals are aware that cloud services are being used inside the enterprise without their approval, 70 percent of respondents are concerned or very concerned about cloud storage while 68 percent are concerned or very concerned about cloud synchronization, according to PMG.


To combat this, IT must help business units find appropriate cloud solutions that meet the enterprise’s needs and deliver at appropriate speeds. If not, business units will continue to circumvent IT.

In fact, 82 percent of survey participants forecast there will be more cloud services while only 18 percent forecast there will be less or no volume of cloud services purchased over the next 18-24 months.

3. Consumerization of IT in the Enterprise is Here to Stay

Technological advances and the bring-your-own-device trend have shaped the way IT departments purchase, manage, deliver and secure devices. As the rates of people working remotely and teleworking continue to rise, employees are consolidating their personal and work devices.

BYOD continues to drive cloud adoption. When IT professionals were asked if the BYOD trend necessitates corporate cloud usage, more than half, 64 percent, said yes, according to PMG. Resistance is futile, and CIOs need to get on board to remain in front on potential issues. To maintain data security and compliance control, enterprises must practice safe BYOD.


4. The Hybrid Cloud Solution Alternative

According to IT professionals who participated in the survey, 69 percent believe the new wave of the future lies within the hybrid cloud which uses both private and public cloud offerings. With this in mind, IT must come to terms with the fact that a mix of on premise apps and cloud apps is in their future.

According to survey respondents, the primary benefits of hybrid cloud solutions include faster deployment, better value and the ability to meet requirements better. Other benefits of a hybrid cloud are delivering a competitive advantage, a cloud-strategy favors cloud apps over on-premise apps and the hybrid cloud meets compliance requirements.

5. Governance and Structure are Keys to Containment

The best way to manage the chaos of public cloud services and applications is by establishing a foundation of governance and structure. Senior leadership must address the definition and implementation of processes and structures within their organization. Once established, both business units and IT can recommend and evaluate solutions that will help execute their responsibilities in support of one another.

In addition to a governance structure, organizations need a technology structure and process to manage existing and future applications. Similarly to how desktop applications are managed by a single UI or how service requests can be streamlined and automated, services such as enterprise service catalogs or application exchanges can be used to leverage the cloud and still deliver value to business units.

Minimizing the Chaos

Cloud sprawl is impacting IT professionals in major ways, but with the right framework, CIOs can control the chaos. Within the enterprise, IT must work collectively with other departments to get buy-in on IT policies, BYOD, examine if a hybrid cloud solution is right for their organization, and establish governance and structure to manage existing and future cloud solutions.