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7 Reasons Why IT Won't Disappear Anytime Soon

Companies are moving more and more of their IT functions online in the form of publicly-available cloud computing services, software-as-a-service applications and the like. That’s not really a big surprise. Where the controversies, or at least the questions, arise are in the company’s IT department.


For instance, does the rise of the public cloud render the enterprise IT department obsolete? With so much IT activity performed by third-party SaaS and cloud service providers, what activities are left for the company’s internal IT team? And what does the future look like for enterprise IT?


Spoiler alert: The answers are “no, ” “plenty” and “cloudy.” Let me explain.


IT teams will, no doubt, see a reduction or elimination of certain responsibilities. But I’d argue that in the big IT picture, most of those duties hold relatively low value yet consume big chunks of time. I mean, how much time does your IT department spend on the installation, configuration and maintenance of the on-premise hardware and software systems used to run applications onsite? You recover every minute of that time when your apps run online because those chores are now handled by your cloud or SaaS provider.


So despite — and sometimes even because of — the accelerating move to the cloud, here are seven reasons why your IT team isn’t going to disappear anytime soon:


1. Hardware


While the public cloud lets you eliminate a lot of the grunt work associated with IT, you can’t move everything to the cloud. Your IT department is going to manage a hybrid environment. At a bare minimum, you’ll have local devices — smartphones, tablets, laptops and/or desktop computers. You’ll likely retain a corporate network as well. So you’ll have to manage those remaining local resources.


2. Data


You’ll also have your data. Whether it’s stored locally or in the cloud, it is your data, and it’s up to you to manage that as well. Yes, I’m talking about big data. Whether you hope to analyze millions of SKUs to determine optimal prices that maximize profit and clear inventory or quickly identify those customers who matter the most to your bottom-line, someone needs to have the expertise to both make sense of it and make it actionable for your company.


3. Application performance


You also still need to ensure the performance of your applications, even those running in the public cloud or being delivered by SaaS providers. You need to monitor them and make sure that they’re performing optimally and that your users are getting the best possible experience. And if your apps are delivering sub-par performance, you need to negotiate a better SLA with your current service provider, find a new service provider and/or tune your app.

即使企业的应用程序运行于公共的云计算服务器或者由SaaS提供商负责,企业仍然需要确保其表现。你需要监控这些应用程序,确保它们表现良好并且让你的用户获得最佳体验。如果你的应用程序的表现低于标准,你需要与当前的服务提供商磋商更好的服务等级协议 (SLA),寻找新的服务提供商和/或者调整你的应用程序。

4. Security


The IT department will also retain responsibility for overall IT security activities such as identity access management. The IT team needs to make sure that all cloud and SaaS application users are authenticated and that access to those apps and the company data is secure. And the cloud identity/access management has to be incorporated into the overall identity access management.


As recent news of NSA email activities suggests, data security in the cloud is a top priority for businesses and a top responsibility of enterprise IT departments. Sure, your cloud provider may offer data security measures such as using SSL connections to move information between its data center and your local device, but is the data encrypted while it’s in transit? How about while it’s sitting in the provider’s database or on your local devices? Ultimately, the security buck stops with your IT team.


5. Compliance


Many companies will also need to weave regulatory compliance into their cloud strategies. Any company subject to PCI DSS, FISMA, GLBA, SOX, HIPAA or similar government or industry guidelines will need a way to verify that their applications and data are being accessed only by authorized users. And companies need a way to track that activity, too.

很多企业也将需要让他们的云计算策略遵守法规的要求。任何需要遵守PCI DSS、FISMA、GLBA、SOX、HIPAA或者类似的政府或行业指引的企业,将需要采用某种方式来确认:只有获得认证的用户才能访问他们的应用程序和数据。企业也需要一定的途径来追踪这些行为。

6. Asset Management


The cloud also introduces an asset management issue to corporate data. The thing is, any employee with a credit card can sign up for a cloud app and feed it corporate data. So you need to impose some sort of inventory control to track 1) the SaaS and cloud apps being accessed through the corporate network, 2) the users of those apps and 3) the corporate data that is being used by online apps.


7. Monitoring Cloud Subscriptions


Actually, taking a traditional asset management approach to the cloud is also an important financial move. Given just how easy it is for anybody in the company to sign up for a cloud service, it’s easy for companies to let cloud costs get out of control. Like “death by a thousand cuts, ” small monthly fees paid for individual cloud services can multiply into sizable operating expenses. Here, too, your internal IT team can put you in control by tracking your cloud service subscriptions.

实际上,对云计算采取传统的资产管理方法也是重要的财务控制举措??悸堑蕉怨驹惫だ此底⒉嵩萍扑惴癫⒉焕?,因此企业的云计算成本超出控制范围也非常容易。就像“死于凌迟”(death by a thousand cuts)一样,为个人云计算服务支付的小额月度费用可以累积成为庞大的运营费用。因此,企业的内部IT团队可以追踪企业的云计算服务订阅情况,从而实施一定的控制。

Bottom line, the cloudy future of IT means a bright future for internal IT teams. That’s my take. What’s yours?


Raj Sabhlok is the president of Zoho Corp., which is the parent company of Zoho.com and ManageEngine.

拉吉·萨洛克(Raj Sabhlok)是Zoho公司的总裁,该公司是Zoho.com和ManageEngine的母公司。


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