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Governing the cloud

report, Cloud governance: an overview, by the independent technology analyst, Ovum, warned recently that cloud computing governance is going the same way of other areas of IT. It suggested that it is currently too reactive, technology-centric and piecemeal, and for any sort of governance to be a success, things must change. Ovum said a new approach is needed for cloud computing, the latest disruptive technology to affect IT departments. The research shows that it cannot thrive unless an effective governance framework that promotes and ensures co-ordination between IT teams is introduced. Laurent Lachal, Ovum Senior Analyst and author of the report, said: “Most IT governance efforts are prompted by new regulations or by the need to keep up with uncontrolled SOA software services, virtual machines or public cloud services – whereby governance starts when the public cloud bill is much higher than expected. “The use of public clouds is a good example of that. Despite growing interest in IT transitioning from managing technology to providing technology as a service, neither business nor IT executives have been particularly proactive in managing the various changes that such a transition requires at all levels.” Cloud computing has introduced an additional layer of complexity to businesses, which needs to be controlled before it becomes truly beneficial. Ovum says, however, that cloud governance best practices – like cloud computing itself – are still in their infancy and it believes the focus should, in future, be on enabling flexibility. Cloud computing governance should work towards enabling firms to strike the right balance between effectiveness and innovation. “Cloud governance is not just about control and keeping an eye on individuals to make sure that they behave as expected. It should also be about empowerment, based on a realignment of objectives and incentives to encourage behavioural change,” said Lachal. Ovum analysts expect cloud governance and best practice to be conceived and adopted gradually in line with other governance efforts.