XaaS is supposed to take the stress out of IT, right? Less onsite infrastructure, fewer servers, and fewer hardware headaches. That's the ideal, at least, but the truth feels different for IT pros.
Cloud provider BetterCloud released its Trends in Cloud IT report yesterday, which focused on G Suite and Office 365 as a way to look at XaaS growth.
There's plenty of good information contained in the report, but what sticks out is how IT professionals feel about cloud adoption: it's making their jobs harder. That may seem counterintuitive to those not down in the IT trenches, but BetterCloud's numbers beg to differ.
Why the cloud concern?
BetterCloud's Scott Solomon said that despite the appearance of making IT's role less hands-on-in-the-datacenter, cloud computing is actually making it more important than ever. "In the past IT departments only dealt with a few vendors who provided hardware and software. With the cloud there are far more vendors to deal with and it's harder to determine who provides support," he said, adding that the increased complexity makes tech professionals a bit anxious.
SEE: Why cloud databases threaten Oracle's lead in the enterprise (TechRepublic)
Complexity aside, anyone who has worked in IT knows about the "fix it yesterday" demands that users can have. There are bound to be cases where an onsite tech can't fix a broken cloud service—yet another stressor on the helpdesk.
Security: The other elephant in the data center
There are also security concerns: The BetterCloud survey showed that nearly two-thirds of IT professionals say they lack the budget to handle the additional security risks that come with the cloud. That's not good news for departments already facing budget shortfalls for 2017, and IT staff are the ones who are going to feel the pinch.
SEE: 6 roadblocks to cloud security, and how to move past them (TechRepublic)
Tim Prendergast, CEO of cloud security firm Evident.io, understands the problems with cloud security first hand. "Security in the cloud is a job that needed to be redefined," he said. "Cloud environments are so fundamentally different from traditional, server-centric data centers that they require a completely new way to administer and measure security and compliance best practices."
The most obvious thought would be to repurpose funds not being spent on hardware maintenance on security, but it's not that simple. Solomon says the costs of cloud apps and their security are practically never in a one-to-one ratio. Servers are expensive, but over time cloud apps continually become more costly. Even without the costs of server upgrades and maintenance there isn't going to automatically be money for security.
Is there an immediate solution?
By 2020, the report finds, as many as 50 percent of businesses may be running all their IT infrastructure in the cloud. That means traditional IT as we now know it will become an ever-increasing rarity.
Over time tech professionals will adapt to operating in a new paradigm of IT, learning the intricacies of multiple dashboards, operating with dozens of vendors, and navigating new risks with ease. That's not much comfort for those stuck in this transition period—all they can hope for is a smooth passage into the cloud age.
The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers
- The majority of IT professionals polled for a new study say the cloud is making their jobs more difficult.
- Problems are stemming from increased complexity, more vendors, integration difficulty, and a lack of budget to address security concerns.
- There's not necessarily an immediate solution—it's going to be a bumpy road into the cloud age, and all IT professionals can do is adapt and overcome.
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- The trade-offs of cloud migration: Be careful what you give up (ZDNet)
- Dreamforce: 5 top takeaways from Salesforce's annual conference (TechRepublic)
- To the cloud, big data sisters and brothers, to the cloud (ZDNet)
- IBM: A stumbling giant quietly regains its stride (CBS News)