IT workers are often some of cloud computing's biggest detractors, mostly because of their skepticism of the security and privacy implications of the cloud. A new TechRepublic poll suggests that IT professionals themselves could be among the users who could most benefit from the cloud.
In a poll taken during the first week of September, 74% of TechRepublic respondents said that they regularly work from three or more computers in a typical week (see chart below). Only six percent said that they only work from a single computer. In the instructions to the poll, TechRepublic members were asked to count only the computers that they work from and not other people's computers that they help troubleshoot.
Here is a selection of some of the comments from TechRepublic members on how and why they use multiple PCs:
- "I have 6 different systems running here at the moment and most are running virtual systems on top of that at the same time. " (HAL 9000)
- "I have several test systems, 2 main systems and 2 Linux boxes, and a under the desk server (desktop system) to get me through work. At home, I have 1 desktop (well 3 but I rarely use the others these days, and 2 older notebooks, that I rarely use because of my work notebook." (The Scummy One)
- "As a developer, I have a laptop for working from home and on the road, a desktop for development, a testing PC with many virtuals, and a few production PCs that run services and a few legacy apps." (nfrost)
- "I have a Windows and a Linux desktop at work for my daily sysadmin stuff. Home has a Linux desktop, a 17" Windows luggable, and a 9" netbook." (geromyh)
- "I prefer to avoid the hassles of virtualization and dual booting and prefer to use separate boxes for Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows 7, and various Linux experiments. I switch between them with a KVM switch. I also have a laptop that is used periodically, and a computer in the workshop used occasionally. Does the Windows Home Server count as a computer?" (john3347)
- "Three at work and two at home. In the old green screen days I had twenty-two terminals all at once!" (ryoung)
- "Desktop and laptop, plus a home server that does not get a lot of attention... However, all computers are multi-boot, so I may deal with ten or more OSs (Windows and Linux) in a week." (Dogcatcher)
- "Does my BlackBerry count as a PC? I do almost everything from my BlackBerry." (thestradas)
Cloud computing could benefit these IT pros by allowing them to seamlessly access files and applications across multiple computers without fussing with a bunch of scripts and file shares. In fact, even small cloud apps like Xmarks, which syncs bookmarks/favorites across multiple browsers and computers, can be extremely valuable to workers who jump around to different machines.
Thus, I think it's increasingly likely that you'll see more tech experts personally dabbling with cloud services like Xmarks, Google Docs, Evernote, and more, but only using them to store their own non-critical, non-sensitive files and data (look for a future TechRepublic poll to measure that).
However, will dabbling with cloud services win over IT pros to the cloud for the corporate data and apps that they manage? That's still going to be a much tougher sell. As TechRepublic member Osiyo53 wrote, "Have ... reference material, apps, etc 'on a cloud' somewhere? Chuckle, not likely. We've already experienced the unpleasant situation of having folks steal our ideas, knowledge, and work to resell as their own. The fact is we trust no system that is not under our direct control."
Jason Hiner is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He writes about the people, products, and ideas changing how we live and work in the 21st century. He's co-author of the upcoming book, Follow the Geeks.