In investing, diversification is often seen as a good thing, unless you ask Warren Buffet, who is famously quoted as saying, “Wide diversification is only required when investors do not understand what they are doing.” Cloud services are the same way. So let’s change that quote up a bit, “Diversification of cloud-based file sharing is only required when managed service providers (MSPs) do not understand what they are doing.”

The average organization uses 721 cloud services, according to a recent study by Skyhigh Networks. How do companies end up with so many cloud solutions? Is it a good or bad thing for their organization? MSPs must understand how companies get themselves into this situation and the downsides they face to be able to take the first steps to getting them out of it and helping them unify their cloud infrastructure.

How Organizations Get There

It can be easy for corporations and large organizations to amass a large number of cloud services if they don’t start with a unified cloud strategy. Marketing needs tools to manage their teams, transfer files and store data using the cloud so they choose solutions that meet their needs. Then operations adds cloud services to meet their cloud-based file sharing needs without consulting IT or marketing to see if a similar solution already exists in the organization.

This problem has been made worse in the past couple years by IT departments that are reluctant to adopt the cloud. Without their department leading the cloud adoption, individual departments – and even individual employees with shadow IT – are adding cloud services to help solve problems, regardless of how they fit into the company’s overall infrastructure.

How Many is Too Many

"In some categories, the fragmentation of cloud services impedes collaboration across teams, introduces friction and creates cost inefficiencies. In addition, employees may not fully understand the risk of cloud services before using them in the workplace." -FCW

Companies with fragmented cloud services face a number of issues in their organizations. From increased security risks to decreased collaboration, having a disjointed cloud infrastructure opens your clients up to inefficiencies and missed opportunities.

Unifying the Cloud

Hopefully your clients don’t come to you with more than 700 cloud services to consolidate, but you should always be prepared. By working with the IT department you can create a unified cloud strategy to reduce the number of services used in their organization and bring back control of their cloud environment.

Part of this initiative requires the cooperation of the individual departments and employees. The current culture of the company may allow for people to implement new services every time they have a solution that needs to be solved. Working with IT and Human Resources can help to train employees to understand the risks involved with insecure cloud services and the benefits to using IT approved and implemented solutions.

Cloud services are great. They offer organizations ways to easily and flexibly store, share and collaborate on files. But too much of a good thing can be bad for their organization. As their MSP, be sure to educate your clients on the dangers of too many cloud services and work with them to leverage the benefits of an integrated, organized cloud infrastructure.