Monday, 31 January 2011

Cloud computing needs planning and management if it’s going to be green

The IT Governance Institute (ITGI) has published the Global Status Report on the Governance of Enterprise IT (GEIT)—2011.

The ITGI is a US-based organisation that recognises that business success often depends on IT and provides guidance to companies on issues related to the enterprise governance of IT. The report is based on a survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers and is in its fourth edition. Started in 2004, the objective is to ascertain and analyse the degree to which the concept of GEIT is recognised, established and accepted. The survey covered 800 respondents from 21 countries.

One of the interesting conclusions is that more than 40% of respondents use or are planning to use cloud computing for mission-critical IT services. Of those that who don’t have plans, security, privacy and reliability concerns are the main reasons, as you might expect.  But 35% of senior executives also cited a significant investment in legacy infrastructure as the reason they are not adopting cloud computing.

Things such as cloud computing and outsourcing (93% of respondents fully or partially outsource their IT activities) make governance that much more important. “Organizations need to adopt new service delivery models to stay competitive, and this is fuelling a strong commitment to enterprise IT governance across the C-suite,” said Ken Vander Wal, CISA, CPA, international vice president of ISACA (which set up the ITGI). “Assessing the value of current investments, building consensus among stakeholders and mitigating risk with third-party providers all require a comprehensive governance framework for organizations to be sure they are doing the right things and doing things right.”


There are two important points here. Firstly, while in ideal circumstances cloud computing may well be a greener solution, it very much depends on how the service is provided. If it means throwing out legacy infrastructure before the end of its useful life, then green IT is unlikely to be one of its achievements.

The other point is that, as with outsourcing, cloud computing requires good IT governance. If it’s on the agenda for IT development, for green or other reasons, then governance needs to be part of both the decision and management process.

© The Green IT Review

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