Google-Amazon price war opens the door to more shadow IT

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The price war between Google Cloud Platform and Amazon Web Services should raise alarm bells for IT admins.

This week Google twice reduced pricing on its Cloud Storage for cuts of more than 30 percent. The second cut came the same day AWS dropped the price of its S3 storage service by nearly 30 percent.

Price cuts aren't the only recent cloud announcements from Google. It has been adding more features and services recently, showing that it's serious about this business. This week it also announced 36 new instance types and a price reduction for its original four standard instances.

It's good to have some potential competition to AWS, which essentially has a monopoly on the IaaS market.

But since so many workers already use so many Google services, if Google's Cloud Platform services become real contenders, the shadow IT problem could get worse. People already sign into Google for Mail, Docs, Calendar, Drive and many other services. Signing up for Google Cloud Platform services will feel natural.

Google could very well have a strategy for its compute services that's along the lines of the consumerization in the enterprise play. Getting a foot in the enterprise door with Google Apps could be "a strong way for them to try to build their cloud business with enterprises," said Marc Brien, an analyst at Domicity.

IT already has a problem with developers spinning up AWS instances without permission. There are plenty of horror stories about people forgetting that they've spun up AWS services, getting hit with huge bills on personal credit cards, and submitting those bills to their company for reimbursement. There are also concerns about people storing sensitive data in public clouds against regulations.

AWS has at least paid lip service to trying to address this problem by allowing Active Directory integration. That means managers can track who is spinning up instances on AWS. But that's only if they sign in using their Active Directory credentials. There's nothing to prevent anyone from signing up to use AWS with a personal credit card.

Google has made headway winning enterprise users with its apps, but it still has a reputation for being a consumer service provider. Unless it manages to develop good control features, IT managers should be thinking about policies and procedures for making sure that workers can access the tools – like Google Compute – that they need while following the rules.

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