The IT Shift “Up and Out”

Are you old enough to remember when the IT department was made up of mainframe computers, and users had to file requests for reports they wanted? The IT department had “kingdom” control over information. The penetration of PCs into that arena caused a huge paradigm shift, as control shifted from the IT department to the user. With that came a new set of business rules, and the first signs of computer security as we know it today. Mind you, the mainframe never left the scene; its functionality shifted to tasks that were best suited for that environment instead of the overly dynamic environment of the user request. But the PC forever changed the way information is commmunicated within organizations. And here we are again looking down the long barrel of another shift – this one caused by multiple technologies, the Cloud and smart mobile devices.

The Cloud is the source of the shift up, but not because it’s new exciting technology; this technology has been around for a long time. We just haven’t needed it till now. As companies handle increasingly large amounts of data and face the hard economics of enlarging data centers and adding servers, the Cloud is starting to look “mighty fine” as an alternative. Company IT departments are grappling with security and privacy issues. Security plays an important role but is in the best interest of the supplier to have the latest security measures since this is the number one concern of clients. Privacy is currently being handled through authentication involving limited to full access based on usernames and passwords, and job roles defined around that. There are many ramifications including impact or shift to jobs, and will become evident as the trend continues.

Smart phones and tablets are causing a shift out for IT, as more and more employees are conducting business from these devices, and the devices are achieving networking and computing abilities similar to the PC. Security and privacy as in the Cloud, have bubbled up to the surface as the key concerns. As organizations adopt their use for their employees, concerns with security have increased with such things as information-stealing applications.  The variety of phones and operating systems also poses a challenge for organizational support, along with the additional training needed. Business rules are popping up to deal with such issues as what information should and shouldn’t be stored on the device; who owns the information that is stored, how frequently the syncing of that data occurs and many others.

Here we go again….

Source:, Intel’s Vision of the Ongoing Shift to Cloud Computing white paper., Cloud Computing Concerns, Jonathan Strickland, 2nd Annual ACM CCS Workshop on Security and Privacy in Smartphones and Mobile Devices (SPSM)