Cloud computing poses an interesting challenge for corporate information technology departments. On one hand, it’s a new technology that needs to be assessed, purchased, and managed. On the other hand, the underlying nature of cloud computing takes many roles away from a traditional IT department. As such, there are two schools of thought as to what the growth of the cloud will do to the role, size, and, ultimately, the job security of IT roles. While the answers are, as of yet, unclear, both sides have valid arguments. Below is an analysis of each side’s view.
Cloud Computing Will Kill In-House IT
Cloud applications and storage make corporate data centers and servers obsolete. Instead of having tools in-house, companies can simply plug their computers into pre-existing systems. There’s no software to install and configure; there’s no physical servers to build, install, and service; there’s no server operating systems to patch and upgrade. The cloud-computing providers handle system integration, load balancing, and all of the other high-level tasks that IT departments had traditionally managed.
Furthermore, selecting applications and tools becomes a business process rather than an IT process. Since the cloud vendors have their own technical staffs and sell their products as services, individual departments can simply select the services that they need, rather than having to worry about the underlying computer technology. Systems can be specified, purchased, and configured in minutes or hours, and it can all be done online.
While the IT departments at the cloud vendors will grow, there will be few, if any tasks, left for corporate IT departments. A skeleton team may remain for vendor management as well as for desktop and local network support, but that’s about it.
Cloud Computing Will Save IT Departments
The ideal of having a completely cloud-based company is far away, ensuring job security for the IT department for the foreseeable future. Furthermore, IT departments that have embraced the cloud are moving away from being administrative employees who keep existing applications running to becoming strategic workers who devise ways to use technology, including the cloud, to grow revenues.
Historically, technological shifts that were supposed to replace the IT department have instead increased its size and influence. As technology continues to advance, IT staff will keep it connected and working. In a way, the increased connectivity needs and increased risk that cloud computing brings can actually make the IT team more important and may necessitate increased staffing in network engineering and security management roles.