Why would you still invest in hardware and people that work for you? Software-as-a-Service is the future. According to Previder 52 percent of the software developers already supplies their product in a SaaS-model. While the promise is great, accidents also frequently happen. The bankruptcy of a cloud provider, it is a complete nightmare. Turned out those nerds from IT were right with their persistent nagging about audits, disaster recovery, credit checks and security.
In 2013 the American company Nirvanix filed for bankruptcy. Even though it did not concern a SaaS-cloud, but a storage cloud, many customers got scared. Like the American television station CBS: Can I still reach my (film) files?
Sometimes a bankruptcy fizzles out. The bankrupt company Infotechnology was taken over by RAM Mobile Data. Annoyingly though, customers were allowed to retrieve their own data against payment. Bizarre. The privacy-sensitive medical data could not simply be sent through the internet unencrypted. Not only SaaS providers go bankrupt. For instance, the tough company Bunkerinfra Datacenters in Kloetinge in the Netherlands recently went bankrupt. Datacenter Meppel went bankrupt in a province (Drenthe, the Netherlands) where it didn’t really have a lot of competition. The curator puts the whole thing on lock down and customers are left behind.
Data safe in hybrid cloud
The classic solution for the problem of a bankrupt software provider was the escrow agreement. Here, the source code of the software is in the custody of a third party, with the instruction to release it at events such as bankruptcy or termination of service. This way the customer can continue using the software. But escrow isn’t the solution to safeguard sometimes hundreds of terabytes of data. Large companies also use multiple SaaS solutions, like CRM for customer data and separate cloud solutions for personnel and finance. Servers for big data analysis are located behind the firewall. Usually there also is an Infrastructure as a Service, a sandbox for testing purposes.
The solution is to build a hybrid cloud computing environment, where some applications run in the private cloud (HR) and others in public cloud (CRM). Even though public cloud providers make back-ups, for the availability of the data it is important to always have a golden copy. Because you never know. Data replication is of course also an option, synchronous or asynchronous, but is relatively expensive.
I cannot separate the emergence from SaaS from another trend: bring your own device. Byod has only strengthened the existing crisis between the business and IT. In 2008, when SaaS was just emerging, Peter Hinssen wrote a book about this deeply rooted distrust which traditionally exists between these two worlds. Business and IT don’t understand each other, because they have different brains and mindsets. ‘Those nerds from IT are super slow and they block everything’, is how I summarize the sentiment.
Hinssen is more diplomatic, but he meant the same when he wrote: ‘'Consumerization is one of the big driving forces behind the meltdown of the power and prestige previously associated with the internal IT department.' Illustrative is a picture of a t-shirt with the text: ‘Trust me, I am from IT’. In the heat of the battle there is a lot of cursing going on towards that IT-mafia. IT defends itself bravely: ‘Those slick business guys and girls are reckless. They don’t understand audits, encryption, and firewalls, and the most basic security threats are overlooked.’ According to Hinssen there was only one solution: Business and IT should merge completely.
In reality the merger didn’t really happen. Rather, the business went its own way. Rogue IT was born. If we are to believe the researchers from Canopy, the expenses towards Rogue IT are still increasing, this year even with 20 percent. 60 percent of the Dutch CIO’s believes that it is increasingly common to invest in Rogue IT. This is all IT that falls outside of the IT department and hasn’t officially been approved. In 2014 these expenses went up and on average companies spent 5 to 15 percent of the total IT-budget on Rogue IT. But like so often, researchers contradict each other. The Register reports that Rogue IT is on the decline and bases this on research from CompTIA. ‘Rogue IT is the shadow of its former self’ and ‘We are all partners now’. Seeing is believing.
Rogue is not necessarily bad. Thanks to the cloud, users can purchase all imaginable services through the web with just one mouse click. Rogue IT can make a significant contribution to innovation. It can form the basis of IT-solutions that will be adopted at a later stage. The decisive factor is whether there is a relationship built on trust. ‘Trust me, I am from IT, you know’. Conclusion: take advantage of all the benefits that SaaS has to offer, but do not forget to invest in trust.