Latest Addition to the CIO Job Description: Cloud Service Broker

Posted by skyhighnetworks on June 2nd, 2014

The role of the chief information, one of the newer additions to the c-suite, is undergoing a substantial transformation. “Ten years ago, the CIO was the chief buyer and builder of a massive internal network of technology. Now, you’re seeing the CIO transition to one of a broker for externally maintained cloud services, adding a layer of enablement, integration, and security,” says Redwood analyst Michelle Chakraborty.

The shift to the cloud is being likened to a similar shift in the consumption of electricity a century ago. In the early days of electricity, companies manufactured and ran large electricity generation facilities next to their factories, not unlike how companies today maintain large data centers to power knowledge workers. However, as electricity became more mainstream, its generation was centralized at large power plants, and then transmitted across the country to factories.

Computing power, once a significant differentiator for companies that could harness it, is quickly becoming a commodity and consumed like a utility. “Always on-demand and reliable computing power from cloud providers like Amazon and Google are allowing companies to focus on the value they offer on top of those platforms, rather than the actual computing platform itself. It’s a big change,” says Chakraborty.

What that means for the CIO is that their job is transitioning to a role whereby they purchase computing power and applications consumed by their employees, without actually maintaining datacenters or building the software internally. However, this doesn’t mean their role is disappearing anytime soon. A new role, one that Gartner defines as the “Cloud Service Broker” is emerging whereby IT provides a layer of management and streamlines the consumption of the cloud.

Gartner expects 30% of companies will deploy a cloud service broker function, either internally or from an outside provider. The benefits of the cloud service broker can include reducing the risk of cloud with strong security and compliance, adding visibility and analysis of usage, centralizing audit trails and policy enforcement, and streamlining the acquisition process for buying cloud services. Whether the function is performed internally or externally, survey respondents are clear that the CIO is ultimately responsible for it getting done, with 80% saying the CIO or a designee is responsible for cloud service broker capabilities.

When making the decision to insource or outsource this new function, think about your own organization’s capabilities. If you prefer to use operational funding versus capital spending, the cloud service broker is not a core competency of IT, if an external CSB can be deployed more rapidly, or if employees rely on a large number of cloud services, then it may make more sense to outsource the role. Whether it’s performed internally or outside the company, it’s clear this new responsibility is a clear indicator of how the role of the CIO is changing.

Author :
Skyhigh Networks, the Cloud Security Services company, enables companies to embrace Cloud Security Services with appropriate levels of security, compliance, and governance while lowering overall risk and cost. With customers in financial services, healthcare, high technology, media, manufacturing, and legal verticals, the company was a finalist for the RSA Conference 2013 Most Innovative Company award and was recently named a "Cool Vendor" by Gartner, Inc. Headquartered in Cupertino, Calif., Skyhigh Networks is led by an experienced team and is venture-backed by Greylock Partners and Sequoia Capital. For more information, visit us at or follow us on Twitter@skyhighnetworks.

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