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I open a new browser. Type in my destination: Evernote.com. Access denied, "This website has been deemed inappropriate in a business setting."

 

Okay, let's try dropbox.com. "Access denied, "This website has been deemed inappropriate in a business setting."

 

Hmmm. What about Google Docs? Access denied, inappropriate.

 

It appears I am being "policied" out of partaking in the cloud collaboration revolution. Any page I hit that has even remote possibilities of online storage is clearly defined as a no-no. There's a link at the bottom of the warning page that encourages me to submit my case if I believe there is a compelling reason to use the site in a business setting. I decide instead to blog about it.

 

Full disclosure: Half my front yard is a vegetable garden. I live on a busy street in an urban setting, where foot traffic is heavy and crime rates slightly elevated. I could build a fence around my garden, but someone determined to steal my veggies will still do it regardless.

 

My point? People that want to steal will steal - with any tools they have, or with no tools at all, despite any obstacles Corporate secrets can go out the door on paper, or even less traceable, in minds. By cutting off access to new tools, we're not protecting our companies from loss, we're locking ourselves out of innovation. 

 

A company's cloud computing strategy should be much more than just focused on how IT will use cloud resources to become more efficient. It should include how employees across all areas of the business can embrace new technology possibilities to become more efficient and innovative. Indirectly, cloud computing has the potential to improve trust and job satisfaction.

 

  • Don't opt for a one-size fits all approach. Your people and your company have unique needs. Dig deep to understand them, and build a plan that accommodates them.
  • Make sure all business leaders are in alignment, and that the message the company is sending about cloud adoption is reinforced, not contradicted, by the user experience. When you announce your company has saved millions by cutting down on physical servers, or is deploying new services faster due to cloud provisioning, other employees will naturally begin to wonder how they can help make the company better and more profitable. They will look at their own usage patterns and think about changes. Let them help you.
  • If compliance is a concern, use education to help employees understand if their are compliance challenges they need to be aware of. For example, saving financial data or private customer information to a personal cloud storage account is a no-no. Collaborating on a presentation or using taking more accurate and organized meeting notes may not be.
  • Lastly, remember that cloud computing itself represents not only a technological shift, but a cultural one. When people can carry their entire music library with them everywhere - all stored in the cloud - they will wonder why they can't do the same with their work documents. Whenever possible, create reasons why, not why not.

Use your cloud wisely.