Data Centers

Think you're not using the cloud? Your sys admin may know differently

CIOs who think they aren't using cloud computing might want to check out their team's corporate credit cards

There are plenty of reasons why a CIO might think they don't want to use the cloud, such as security and reliability, or simply because they like to be able to go down to the basement and chat to the servers every so often.

Despite much discussion over the past couple of years, most cloud computing is still in the early-adopter phase, with many CIOs limiting themselves to using the cloud for non-critical applications.

Or so they think.

I've recently heard from a number of CIOs that cloud deployments are growing rapidly in their organisations, but that these are deployments that started without their knowledge.

Instead of going through a lengthy corporate procurement process, sys admins and other IT workers are simply putting the cost of these services on their corporate credit card, and getting on with the job.

While this approach might seem like a good use of initiative on a niche project, across a large organisation it can mean uncontrolled spending on cloud computing that rapidly reaches tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.

It's a sign of the inevitable rise of cloud in the enterprise - even if CIOs try to keep it out, it's going to seep in through the windows, through the floorboards, through corporate credit cards.

So if you are a CIO with a no-cloud policy who has ended up in this situation, it seems to me you've a couple of options.

  1. Start looking much more carefully at the expenses claims your staff are putting in, and cracking down on anyone who breaks the rules. If sys admins have to pay for a few hundred virtual servers out of their own pocket, they may pay attention to company policy.
  2. Have an open conversation with them about your department's - and your organisation's - policy on using cloud. And then let them tell you why you're wrong.

But beware: it might be your mind that gets changed, not theirs.


Steve Ranger is the UK editor of TechRepublic, and has been writing about the impact of technology on people, business and culture for more than a decade. Before joining TechRepublic he was the editor of

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