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How compliance can be an excuse to shun the cloud

Andy Patrizio | April 15, 2016
Companies in heavily regulated industries say they can't embrace the cloud due to compliance. That's just an excuse.

"We kind of got conditioned into a mode of operating under internal data centers, and now they have to learn you don’t have to do it," Crawford says. "Even though IT says we're change agents, unfortunately it is not as much of a change agent as they think they are." 

The problem is also dependent on the size of the company. Small firms without a dedicated IT staff can be more reticent because they don't have someone who is fully dedicated to understanding computing services and products, said James Gast, founder of Splicenet, a technology consultancy servicing the tech needs of law firms in the Ohio region. 

"If we're selling into a 20-person law firm, you run into much more objection than an enterprise-sized law firm, and I think the reason is you have a more diverse workforce," he says. "You have people whose job it is to understand this stuff. At a 20 person firm, the lawyer doesn’t have the time to understand it. It's the nature of the business." 

In Josh Bauer's experience as associate director of IT infrastructure at Acorda Therapeutics, a biotech pharmaceutical company, it depends on the size of the vendor as well because the newness of the cloud market means some of these companies are not up to speed yet. 

"Smaller vendors might be behind the times and not have a cloud app yet," he says. "If they do both on premises and cloud, a lot of times we go with on premises because they don’t have a good grip on the cloud app. The larger vendors who have been doing it for years have good policies around their apps, have better SLAs, and offer better uptime than even we can deliver so it makes sense to go with them." 

The solution 

The problem is not insurmountable, it just requires the right pitch, say the consultants. That means educating companies in these industries that there are some parts of the cloud they can embrace, and might already be doing so without realizing it. 

"There are IT organizations that are steadfast against the cloud," said Crawford. "They think it's a fad, they think it's insecure. They don’t think it's ready and robust for enterprises. That's very sad because nine times out of ten, you can point to Salesforce and ask if they use it and they say yes, but don't realized it's a cloud company." 

"I hate the word 'cloud' because the minute you mention cloud to someone, their mind goes somewhere else," Gast says. "They think they don’t own their data. But when we say you're documents will be in a place where you can get to it from more places more often then they get it. When you bring it down to a more basic understanding they start to get it." 


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