The Cloud and evolving for IT Professionals

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In business, many feel uncertain with moving resources and data to the cloud. The primary questions always become the security, and data control. Albeit they are valuable concerns they should be redirected to the type of data and the partnered provider. The suggestion is based off the fact that not all providers are equal, for instance think of trusting an enterprise like Microsoft vs. a local small business IT firm. Both have pros and cons but there is something to be said not only reguarding the scale of the environment, knowledge of the engineers but the inverse, having the ability to hold someone accountable. Potentially switching to cloud based services can also change the dynamic of the IT staff within the business. Just because services have transitioned to the cloud doesn't eliminate the need for internal IT Staff. In my opinion what it does is drastically change that dynamic, for instance putting e-mail in Exchange Online can eliminate or reduce the need for an Exchange Server Administrator in a fully hosted solution. That doesn't mean that all your internal Exchange knowledge isn't needed but it's changed. It turns more from a systems or infrastructure management role to an Exchange management role. There are still tasks that need to be performed, such as user creation and support, but the focus becomes more management. Think of it more as a management role in the sense that now it's about setting corporate policy on retention, mailbox size, and other business driven requirements. Essentially, and even though its still technical,the theory and principal knowledge is still required from your staff.

Overall these are some of the things that the business and IT Management need to consider. Does it make sense for the business, how does the change affect staffing, is the internal knowledge there to support the change.

As an IT Professional it's something we need to consider as well, how do we continue to adapt? I like to think there are two types of IT professionals, those who are the jack of all trades, vs those that are product specific. Having said that both need to adapt and start to become a bit broader in breath.

For instance, the Exchange Administrator referenced above could easily transition into a "Communications Management" type roll.  Meaning instead of working on the nuts and bolts of Exchange they could understand how to manage Internet cloud based communications and options such as "Exchange Online, Skype for Business".  They could transition into managing those rolls for the company and leveraging the cloud to make those possible.

At the end of the day, as an IT Professional our industry is changing and depending on your industry you need to evolve as well.  If you aren't working for a cloud provider of services, it would be beneficial to broaden  your horizons and learning about the cloud.