IT needs to educate business leaders about the cloud

Although cloud computing is becoming a critical IT and business strategy, many business decision makers are still clueless when it comes to the cloud. As IT Director Richard Thompson writes in this guest post, IT professionals need to do a better job explaining cloud computing to other parts of the business. 

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For the past three or so years cloud reports, surveys and white papers have consistently indicated that understanding of the cloud is lacking. As recently as last year, 51% of 1000 American adults believed that the weather could affect cloud computing, and 53% had pretended to understand the cloud.

This is in spite of the fact that use of the cloud is rapidly increasing – it’s predicted that the global market for cloud equipment will reach $79.1 billion by 2018, and that by 2017, 50% of employees will be required to use their own devices to connect to cloud computing services.

In the face of this rapid growth, when businesses and organizations are being pushed toward adopting new and changing technology to keep up with trends and ensure their businesses prosper, does the IT industry have a responsibility to better educate users about the technology that they are becoming increasingly reliant on?

What business leaders don’t know

It’s not much of a surprise that the average layperson doesn’t understand the cloud, but what is worrying is the lack of understanding among senior level business people – those who make the decisions when to comes to cloud computing.

According to a recent survey carried out in September 2013 which asked senior directors and executives what they knew about the cloud, up to 25% of respondents still don’t actually know what the cloud is, despite the fact that 61% of businesses currently use the cloud.

And the top concerns about the cloud indicate that there’s still a lack of trust in cloud computing. Predictably, security is the top concern, but other concerns such as trusting a third party supplier with data and lack of control over infrastructure indicate that business executives are still tentative about trusting providers.

How IT can help

Taking into account the fact that innovation in the cloud is ongoing and most businesses will have to incorporate it to stay competitive, it’s important for decision makers to understand cloud services before they sign up for them. That’s often difficult because cloud providers in many cases don’t do a good enough job explaining their services and allowing opportunities to ask questions.

While providers can improve, it’s also important for IT departments to share more information about the cloud with the rest of the company. If business leaders are properly equipped with knowledge about the cloud, then they’ll know what to ask providers and be able to make smarter decisions in the long run.

About the author: “Richard Thompson is a founder member of IT and Cloud Provider Central Technology.  Having trained as an on-site engineer, Richard has a theoretical and practical technical knowledge of networks and servers and a business user’s expectations of its IT systems. He has blogged on various sites around the web including IT Donut and The Huffington Post.” 

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