Spiceworks Sniffs out Clouds

Managing security during the “bring your own device” (BYOD) craze can be enough of a challenge for small and midsized businesses (SMB). Should they also be worried about the threat posed by the “bring your own cloud” trend?

Yes, says Spiceworks, a company that specializes in small business IT. And with a new cloud services detection feature in the upcoming 6.0 release of its software, Spiceworks decks out its network management and help desk software suite for the cloud computing era.

Crowned an essential app for small business IT experts in a recent Small Business Computing guide, Spiceworks’ free software — a for-fee, ad-free version is also available — offers several networking and IT asset management features that give modest IT environments a professional edge. Features include bandwidth monitoring, a helpdesk ticket system and software license tracking.

A big part of what makes the software tick is its capability to autodetect hardware and software over a network. Now Spicework is extending that capability to cloud services.

Is Your Network Sneaking Data to the Cloud?

Launching during the SpiceWorld conference in London, the free cloud-services detection feature serves a dual purpose. First, it offers IT staffers visibility into cloud usage on their networks.

recent survey conducted by the company shows that 48 percent of small businesses are currently using cloud services. Such a healthy level of adoption is welcome news for cloud services providers, but it’s also an indication that a good number of small businesses have a big blind spot when it comes to data security.

“With the growing number of easily-accessible cloud services, such as Amazon and Dropbox, IT pros can quickly lose visibility into what employees are using across their networks,” states Spiceworks in a company release. Spiceworks adds, “This can increase the risk of accidental security breaches, unintended data sharing, and application costs.”

To address this, the software automatically scans the network and identifies which cloud services are being accessed and by whom. With that knowledge in hand, IT managers can take action and institute policies that keep sensitive company data off the cloud. Spiceworks can identify more than 40 popular cloud services. It’s a list that includes Amazon S3, Carbonite, Dropbox, Mozy and Rackspace.

Spiceworks feels that there’s another cloud detection benefit that will resonate with budget-minded small businesses: savings.

Now that the software allows organizations to take an inventory of their cloud services, it paves the way for them to take advantage of volume discounts by aggregating cloud licenses. Moreover, Spiceworks users don’t have to wander far to weigh their options while embarking on this potentially money-saving process. The company notes that its vendor resources and community of 2 million IT professionals are always just a few clicks away.

Spiceworks 6.0 is currently in beta.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Internetnews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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