Cloud adoption altering IT department responsibilities

February 10, 2012

Cloud computing continues to expand as a popular IT solution for data storage and backup, application sharing and other essential functions, while enterprise adoption of cloud services is also changing the responsibilities of IT employees.

Information Age recently held a roundtable debate for IT workers, enabling them to share their experiences regarding the transition of established IT tasks to a modern, cloud-based environment. According to the source, the discussion revealed several trends, but none were more indicative of the current enterprise landscape than the conclusion that IT depart

ments have transitioned from technology enablers to supplier and service agreement managers. "We're looking at terms and conditions a lot more carefully now after a couple of cock-ups," one IT manager told the source. "Now we insist on compensation if a service falls over."

With application development and innovation outsourced to cloud vendors, it's now the responsibility of IT departments to examine the suppliers' technology plans and carefully analyze service level agreements. One debate participant said IT employees are spending a significant portion of their time looking over non-disclosure agreements, indicating enterprises realize security in the cloud is essential and possible with proper planning.

"Supplier management is the IT department now, but it's essential that there be some technical expertise coming from inside the business," said a construction company IT director, according to Information Age's report.

As more businesses in nearly every industry adopt cloud products like Infrastructure-as-a-Service and Software-as-a-Service, IT departments will be tasked with hiring employees with considerable cloud skills and knowledge of service contracts, experts say. According to a recent Gartner study, cloud solutions like SaaS, IaaS and Platform-as-a-Service are the third-ranked technology priority for CIOs this year, behind only business intelligence and mobile technologies.

-McAfee Cloud Security