We just looked at the survey results from a CA sponsored report about IT's views on cloud computing and security.
Is it us or does IT seem a bit threatened by the overwhelming interest in cloud computing?
Or is IT prudent in their views that the trends to put everything in the cloud is security nightmare waiting to happen?
The CA survey results were tallied from more than 600 IT professionals in the U.S. and more than 200 in Europe. The gist of the report states that end users are using cloud computing services without the okay from IT. End users are using cloud computing services with not enough attention paid to security and privacy. In essence, end users are running rogue and the consequences are dire.
End users are taking advantage of cloud computing services because they work. It's the business groups that in many respects are spurring innovation. These groups take advantage of web oriented services as the alternative can often be an endless slog through a maze of IT.
Plus, many of the services are affordable. Business groups can expense the cost without needing to go through an IT budget cycle.
The report demonstrates IT's own insecurities about cloud computing. It reflects the general distrust that IT harbors for the people who are making their own choices about what services to use.
It seems the argument is more about consumer IT than anything else. IT considers it a security risk. But the concern also points to the uncertain climate that is enveloping the IT establishment.
SaaS services do not require the level of integration that on-premise systems do. Security can be dialed up or down, depending on the organization using the service. The result is a changing role for IT. Security is increasingly the responsibility of the SaaS company. In truth there is tremendous opportunity out of this.
The smart ones will learn the skills that come with managing public cloud infrastructures and SaaS services. For instance, the operations costs will be substantial for companies deploying cloud environments.
This is where IT should focus its effort. IT is needed to provide efficiencies and secure systems that enable the adoption of cloud computing so a trusted environment can blossom.
The issues about cloud security v. on-premise security are relative concerns. But it's nuts to argue that end users are irresponsible with cloud services and may be revealing company trade secrets or health information. We are sure it happens but similar types of breaches have a long history in the on-premise, IT world.
What's really at risk is IT as we know it. The IT department is in danger of becoming irrelevant. And this trend will continue if the issue is always about the dangers of the cloud.
Instead, the focus should be on learning and trust. Cloud computing points to an era of sophisticated IT networks, managed by smart, open people. If such an intelligent environment is not fostered then IT only has itself to blame if it becomes marginalized and relegated to a back room role.