What Really Changes with the Arrival of Cloud Computing?

There seems to be a great deal of talk about what changes cloud computing brings.  Typically the discussion is around networking, data management, security, application development, and other aspects of traditional IT that may be impacted by the arrival of the cloud.

While many predict sweeping changes in the way we approach enterprise IT, as the changes actually occur, I find the reality is much less invasive.  Perhaps we should adjust our expectations.
Major topics of conversation around what changes with the arrival of cloud computing include: Network, security, application development, and job security.  Let’s take these on one at a time.

Network

Everything impacts the enterprise network.  The use of cloud computing will be no exception.  However, the idea that the corporate network will slow down to a crawl with the use of public cloud computing services is typically not the case.
If the use of some public cloud computing services kills your network, it’s typically not the added burden of the public cloud computing service; it’s the state of your network.  While the use of public and private cloud computing services will add some traffic, it rarely rises to bandwidth burdens that you can’t manage through.
If you’re still concerned, it’s always prudent to create a network performance model to determine the impact on the network before leveraging the cloud computing service.  While there will typically be small or no problems found, it’s always smart to make that step part of the cloud adoption process.

Security

Security is often the largest pushback on cloud computing.  Data is no longer in our direct control, in many cases.  Thus, there is a natural distrust and concern.
Those charged with security need to consider new models that may not be currently employed.  This includes the use of identity-based security approaches, and new security technology that supports identity management.
The degree of change this drives is really dependent upon where you currently are with the use of security technology.  Some enterprises will find that integration of public and private cloud-based resources is rather easy if they are at a maturity level where few changes in approaches and technology are required.  Other enterprises that are not as up-to-date will require some pretty expensive and disruptive shifts in how they approach security and the technology required.
You can determine how much change will and should occur by creating a security plan.  You should do this before moving processes and data to cloud-based resources.  This, no matter if your security technology and approaches are state-of-the-art, or known to be lacking

Application Development

Application development using cloud-based resources such as PaaS and IaaS providers is typically a change for the good.  For instance, the results of the Evans Data Cloud Development Survey, conducted in December, found that cloud platforms reduce overall development time by an average of 11.6%.
These better productivity numbers resulted from better tools and the ability to empower developers to provision the resources they required, as needed.  All without having to wait for hardware and software to show up at the shipping dock.
However, enterprises must be careful in how they plan for the arrival cloud-based development, making sure that there is a smooth transition.  Application development shops with more modern development tools will find the use of cloud-based resources to be an easy shift.  Shops that are a few years behind the curve will find that the use of cloud computing is too great a leap, and a longer plan should be leveraged.

Job Security

The notion that cloud computing will somehow put you out of a job seems to be a common worry around the adoption of the cloud.  There’s a harsh reality.  If you’re worried about your job with the arrival of cloud computing, you should be worried about your job no matter if you leverage the cloud or not.
While the use of cloud computing will create new positions, the rise of cloud-oriented jobs will be very gradual over time.  This is much like the new jobs created around the rise of other technologies, such as the PC and networking.
There will always be a few losers around shifts in technology.  With the rise of the public clouds, those charged with operating enterprise data centers will feel the greatest impact.
Looking at the big picture, jobs created by the arrival of cloud computing will outnumber those eliminated by 2 to 1, including Cloud Security Specialist, PaaS Application Developer, Data Scientist, and Cloud Architect.  Thus, the impact on jobs should be positive overall, but will require some planning and career management on the part of some employees.