Commentary
5/14/2010
04:34 PM
John Soat
John Soat
Commentary

Don't Bother Me With That Cloud Stuff (Or, The End of IT As We Know It)

Like the PC, much of the initial implementation of cloud computing came in through the corporate back door, in the form of software-as-a-service engagements initiated through business units. That "outside IT" trend accelerated when end users found they could access online applications over the corporate network. Now IT managers admit they don't know exactly how much cloud computing there is going on in their organizations. Is this (finally) the end of IT as we know it?



Like the PC, much of the initial implementation of cloud computing came in through the corporate back door, in the form of software-as-a-service engagements initiated through business units. That "outside IT" trend accelerated when end users found they could access online applications over the corporate network. Now IT managers admit they don't know exactly how much cloud computing there is going on in their organizations. Is this (finally) the end of IT as we know it?

A new research report, sponsored by CA and conducted by the Ponemon Institute, a privacy and security group, examines the security and privacy implications of cloud computing. The report, based on a survey of 642 U.S.-based and 283 European IT "practitioners," asked respondents about security practices in relation to cloud computing, their perceptions, and their predictions of the security implications as on-premises systems migrate to the cloud.

In a summary of the highlights of the report, this little tidbit stands out: "IT practitioners in both the US and Europe admit they do not have complete knowledge of all the cloud computing resources deployed within their organizations today."

Say, what? Would the same IT practitioners admit that they don't know exactly how many PCs are banging up against their organization's customer information database? Or how many smartphones are trying to access the latest departmental sales figures over the corporate network?

Maybe these are unfair comparisons, but only by degree. Just because an individual's or a department's use of a cloud resource is too minor to show up on IT's radar today doesn't mean that an accumulation of such instances won't eventually obviate the need for such an expensive and bureaucratic organization. IT organizations are deciding right now what their roles should be in cloud computing, either passively or proactively.

Here's another interesting tidbit from the survey's highlights: "[R]espondents see end-users (or business management) as more responsible for ensuring a safe cloud computing environment than corporate IT."

Since when has corporate IT abdicated any part of the cloud to end users or business management? And if that's the case, can't we can see the beginning of the end of IT as we know it?

So, how do you feel?Like the PC, much of the initial implementation of cloud computing came in through the corporate back door, in the form of software-as-a-service engagements initiated through business units. That "outside IT" trend accelerated when end users found they could access online applications over the corporate network. Now IT managers admit they don't know exactly how much cloud computing there is going on in their organizations. Is this (finally) the end of IT as we know it?

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