The Cloud is Changing the Face of IT

Nancy Anderson
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IT jobs no longer center on making sure your office's computer systems and database architecture can handle workloads. Cloud computing changes the entire IT landscape thanks to the success of such data storage models. Instead of investing in large servers or banks of computers, business executives demand that IT departments keep up with changes and migrate to cloud-based solutions.

As such, IT jobs start with assessing the needs of a particular business. Once that happens, IT workers jump into action. Instead of waiting for a company's server to come online, IT staff can create apps and programs immediately thanks to cloud computing. Programmers can even work from home to configure a company's IT structure.

The cloud lets workers assess whether or not computers can handle remote access. Instead of trying to connect a server to each computer in the office building, IT workers focus on the interconnectivity and security of computers. Can a system withstand a possible data breach? How strong are security measures? Can a smartphone, tablet or laptop connect wirelessly to software without any hacking issues? IT staff answer these questions to bring a firm's computer system to the cutting edge of efficiency and technology.

Sometimes, even a name change within a firm can do wonders. The Weather Company, parent company of The Weather Channel, changed the name of its IT department simply to the technology department. This way, the entire company culture changes to fit contemporary norms. Even though cloud computing fits into the new paradigm of data storage, it took The Weather Company two years before it jumped into the cloud.

King County, Washington, saved $1.3 million per year in data storage costs by moving from a tape-based backup system to a cloud computing backup system to save and retrieve data. Perhaps surprisingly, the greatest roadblocks to change in King County came from the IT staff itself because workers had a particular technical background and a specific mindset. Once the programmers started on cloud-based systems, the transition became easier.

Cloud-based systems have several advantages to traditional data storage. Remote storage locations protect a business's virtual assets in case of fire or weather damage. Cloud computer banks and servers have specific protections from weather and physical damage that may be too expensive for some companies to handle.

Today, many companies cannot survive without cloud computing. Entire consulting firms teach CIOs and other executives how to migrate to the cloud by assessing the skills of staff, the computers needed to make the changes and the security issues involved. Some firms have a skills gap of 50 percent, which means as much as half of any given company's IT department does not have the correct background to migrate to the cloud.

Companies should start to mitigate cloud computing issues by training staff properly. Firms can pay for educational initiatives with incentives for passing classes. Staffers can take online classes to learn from home without spending time in a classroom. Teaching IT workers new skills now saves tons of money and headaches later.

Photo courtesy of hywards at



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