Forrester confirm motivation for Cloud Email

When I'm talking to CIOs about their email compliance strategy they usually have a clear idea what their challenges are and the tools they would need to achieve a perfect Zen-like calmness within their environment.

However, they also know that in order to create their own private Zen Garden Server Room, it's likely they would need a significant increase in IT budget.

We have written about the Cloud v's DIY approach on this blog post many times; out of a desire to increase awareness that the old money way, build it yourself, is increasingly less affordable and achievable and certainly more complex than what the Cloud has to offer.

Recently Forrester Research carried out a study of risk management and compliance executives within financial services firms who were once reliant on in-house systems but who are now moving to the Cloud. The headline findings were unsurprising, to me anyway; Forrester found that more than 60% of the respondents said their shift to the Cloud was being driven by the "promise of lower total cost of ownership" increasingly simple and rapid deployments and easier management than their network based competitors. Over half of the respondents said they already had plans to use hosted email management and general compliance solutions by 2012.

Some key findings of the report also included the following:

  • E-discovery and data privacy is a struggle: Some 55% said they had problems complying with privacy laws, whilst at the same time making data accessible and searchable for ediscovery purposes.
  • Compliance has many heads: 75% of decision makers at the polled financial services firms said they worried about the reputational damage of regulatory oversight or investigations. They also reported having major concerns about integrating the various compliance tools in their armory into the network in an efficient manner.
  • Content, content, content: Email wasn't the only driver for taking compliance to the cloud; other sources of content are being considered too. Anything that generates, consumes, removes or manipulates their electronic content needed to be considered.

The findings of the report probably make a lot of sense to most people. I expect anyone with a reasonable driver for email compliance tools and services, whether internal or external, will be feeling similar pains.

When you stack up all the bells and whistles needed to achieve compliance with each and every regulation out there, especially if you're in the financial services sector that's a pretty large heap of hardware and software - certainly one that won't fit in the average Zen Garden. It'll make a terrible mess of the gravel and bamboo if it does. The reason I said I'm not surprised by the reports findings are because I'm exposed to people trying to solve these problems everyday. Invariably the conversation gets onto how the Cloud can help remove this complexity, and one by one we usually cross the LAN-based compliance solutions off the whiteboard and move them out to the Cloud.

What really interests me, and the study by Forrester confirms this; is that CIOs are no longer thinking about the old money. They are the ones driving their businesses towards the Cloud, it is the CIO clearing out the multitude of tools that clutter their minds and infrastructure. It's almost as though a sort of Cloud Enlightenment has come upon them.

Either that or the cost and complexity benefits are unbelievably clear.