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Ann Maya

Marketing director, Quest Software

How can CIOs empower users while maintaining a degree of control?

In 2018, the global public cloud computing market was worth an estimated $176bn (£138bn). This year, for the first time, it is predicted to top $200bn (£157bn). So what’s driving companies to move to the cloud in ever increasing numbers? It boils down to three things: competitiveness, productivity and cost savings.

For many, the first move to the cloud is made by shifting Office 365 workloads. While this brings advantages, some organisations fail to make the most of the transition and struggle with specific challenges. Office 365 offers fantastic collaboration and sharing tools, but these bring with them some drawbacks for IT departments. Microsoft’s OneDrive, for instance, allows users to quickly share data and documents with anyone who needs access to them. But for the IT department, this means a bigger risk surface area to manage.

Although there are tools which can help, many of them fail to adapt fast enough to the changing nature of businesses’ cloud consumption. Quest’s On Demand platform is a solution which can keep up with the rapid evolution required by today’s businesses. IT departments need to be able to maintain access control and data security. But many organisations also need to be able to demonstrate this control to regulators and auditors. They need tools which provide central control and full transparency.

Quest’s On Demand Audit helps organisations deal with a fast-moving regulatory landscape, including the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This allows IT departments to track access and activity across teams. There is, after all, still a tension between the IT department’s desire to empower users and the necessity of maintaining a certain degree of control.

Office 365, for instance, allows users to create their own groups, something which used to be in the hands of the IT department. This is a really useful feature for users creating project groups and email distribution lists, but IT departments can struggle to keep up with how many groups there are, who is in the groups, who runs them, and who has access to potentially sensitive data.

Quest developed a solution when it ran up against this issue with its own, internal use of Office 365. As groups proliferated, administrators struggled to keep control of what was going on. So the IT department went to the product team to ask for help, which led directly to the development of On Demand Group Management.

For more details on these issues and the increasing role of Azure AD, visit Quest’s website.

Ann Maya is marketing director at Quest Software