That was one of the comments, filled out in the field “other,” which came in response to a question we asked in the following research study about why Canadian IT professionals were adopting cloud computing. It’s hard to tell if it was meant sarcastically, or came out of a genuine weariness from all the pressures enterprise IT departments face. Either way, it struck me as a good summation of many technology executives’ attitudes towards a model that has stirred more controversy in this industry than any other.
Cloud computing may feel like a last resort to many CIOs and IT managers because they are running out of options to deal with the ever-growing deluge of data, the complexity of making enterprise applications work together and what must sometimes feel like the grunt work of managing multiple data centres. They have been doing all this in the aftermath of the Y2K crisis of 1999 and, not long after, the dot-com bust of 2000, followed by recession after recession. Even during the height of the Internet bubble, it was the startups who were getting the go-ahead to open their wallets. Many everyday IT shops, particularly in the more cautious Canadian market, continued to be frugal with their technology investments. For many in the industry there has probably never been a time in their entire career when it felt like they could get even close to the resources they need. Watch the Webcast on our survey findings and receive our 16-page report
Once it finally became better understood, cloud computing promised a way out of sorts. Not quite outsourcing, not quite product purchasing, it represents a means for finally getting the compute power of a big company when you need to act like a big company, and for scaling down when business demands aren’t at their peak. It means, in some cases, spending less time hammering out kinks in IT infrastructure and potentially more time to learn and respond to the things senior management really cares about – customers, shareholders and their fellow employees.
And yet . . . and yet. Cloud computing is a model fundamentally based not on pricing or convenience or flexibility but the trust relationship between an IT leader and their chosen supplier. Occasionally lost in all the discussion around security concerns is the notion that CIOs aren’t necessarily worried about hackers getting into the cloud, but for cloud providers to somehow drop the ball: that they will lose data, corrupt data, that their employees might do to their networks what everyday enterprise employees sometimes do to their networks. It’s not necessarily about security in terms of viruses but security in terms of negligence.