The Slow Adoption of Cloud Computing and IT Workforce
Cloud computing combines or integrates technologies or architectures to achieve a goal or offer a platform or build a solution. In Cloud computing, the hardware infrastructure is not seen but what the user or the clients see, is the application layer. Due to the use of Internet as a transportation unit or linking factor between applications and hardware, Cloud computing can be accessed at anytime and anywhere as far there is an Internet connection available. There are notable factors that have hindered the growth of cloud computer over the years. In the beginning, most of the growth in Cloud computing is noticeable in small and medium enterprises as compared to large corporations. The major problem faced by Cloud providers to large organisation was the serious controversial view of the IT workforce towards Cloud computing.
Over the years, the adoption of Cloud computing was slower due to various reasons such as mobility, bandwidth, the fear of losing control, security, privacy, data protection, performance and uptime, lack of Cloud business brokers, and unawareness.
It is noticeable that one of the reasons behind a faster growth rate of Cloud computing in the large enterprise sector is the controversial mind-set of the IT personal that the Cloud computing had come to take their jobs. For example, after receiving a proposal regarding Cloud services, a decision maker discusses the proposal with the head of IT department. During the review of the proposal, the head of IT department may notice that Cloud computing could be cause to reduce his functions at work. He may consider this fear as a problem for the future of IT workforce at the organisation. So instead of approving the Cloud computing, he may raise concerns which are already prevalent in the IT industry such as the perspectives of privacy, security, and ability to transfer existing data to the Cloud.
This paper analyses the adoption of Cloud computing with respect to IT workforce. The recommendations are expected to help in increasing the adoption rate of Cloud computing at the enterprise level and also to promote the awareness that cloud computing has not come to take the jobs of the IT workforce but to create more job opportunities.
Analysing Factors Affecting Adoption Rate of Cloud Computing
Cloud computing is a model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service providers’s interaction. This notion of the minimal management effort has put the fear of being redundant in IT workforce. Most of the IT workforce thought that the Cloud computing was there to take over their jobs and it made marketing of Cloud services quiet difficult for Cloud providers. This paper investigates this fear through a survey of IT workforce and presents recommendations for dealing with such a problem.
Bandwidth serves as transportation agency for the Cloud business
Bandwidth is one of the hindrances to slow down the rate of adoption of Cloud computing. Bandwidth is one of the major tools in Cloud computing, because it serves as the transportation agency for the Cloud business. In contrast to developed countries, for the developing countries, the quality of service for the Internet has not been that good, which was not in the favour of the business of Cloud computing. They lack better infrastructure to have a good service and a bad Internet service means a bad Cloud computing environment. A better quality of service of the Internet is a must for a better environment for Cloud computing.
The sense of losing control of the computing resources was hard to resist by most organisations and enterprises. The IT department might not want to give away some of their powers to a third party. For example on a usual day, if there is a problem with a hardware at anytime, an IT team can fix in a certain period of time, but if the hardware is off the organisation premises, the in-house IT team will have to wait and depend on the third party to get it fixed.
Business were skeptical about the Cloud computing
As a major factor in technology adoption, novelty surprised early adopters. People were not sure of the performance and uptime trends of the Cloud technology. An industry tries a new technology either phase by phase or waits until there are enough success stories. Many people were skeptical about the Cloud computing, because the Cloud providers in the business were small in numbers. So as the Cloud providers continued to increase so did the market of Cloud computing business.
The lack of regulatory agencies had an impact on the adoption rate of Cloud computing. Initially, the fear of the Cloud not being regulated soon enough made people too thoughtful to spend their money on Cloud services. By late 2000, was the beginning of the inception of such organisations that supported the use of Cloud computing. Agencies and organisations such as NIST also educated public about the use and advantages of the Cloud computing. They set down rules that must be followed in consideration of Cloud users, Cloud providers and people in general. There are many regulatory agencies in Cloud computing, for example, Cloud Security Alliance. Cloud Security Alliance was formed in December 2008 to help promote the Cloud computing business alongside NIST.
Security was a big factor to define that how Cloud computing
Security is the main issue behind the slower adoption of Cloud computing. Most people believe that the use of public Cloud that is generally used by a lot of customers might have a number of security vulnerabilities due to heavy access by Cloud users. It is well said that an increase in data stored at a single storage place will increase the number of hackers who want to get access to the data because it looks more like a honey pot to most hackers. Security breaching in Cloud can be more damaging than breaching a server in a single office. There is also a lack of security in public SaaS version. Security was a big factor to define that how Cloud computing is going to be adopted and deployed to general systems.
The sense of data protection is different for different countries. Most organisation take it into consideration especially for those branching out or planning on branching out in the future. If it is known that the data over the Cloud will not be protected by the privacy laws of a country then it is not worth going into the Cloud computing business and most business decides to own their own servers and protect their documents.
Cost saving, security improvements, mobility and improved reliability helped the acceptance of Cloud computing
Over the years, the slow adoption of Cloud computing started changing and there had been an increase in the rate of adoption of Cloud computing. The factors such as cost saving, security improvements, need of mobility and improved reliability has helped to improve the acceptance of Cloud computing. Most of the small and medium enterprises that do not want to invest consistently on IT infrastructure decided to buy the idea of Cloud computing, which has helped to reduce the cost in the areas of procurement of hardware infrastructure, installation and maintenance.
For most of the small and medium enterprises, instead of bothering with the problem of system and network security, they directed the problem of handling security to the Cloud providers. The Cloud providers provide Cloud users redundancy, disaster safeguard, VLAN capability, perimeter security, and hypervisor protection against attacks and distributed denial of service protection. Most of the Cloud providers know that the major problem hindering the adoption of Cloud computing is security, so they worked to achieve the best of security.
Cloud providers tried their best to make reliability outstanding. They made sure that services were consistently avail- able by having redundancy of storage facilities, Servers, Internet connection and no power interruption. Service level agreement are also available to the Cloud users or Cloud broker to guarantee uptime.
Research Methodology, Result Summary, and Recommendations
The research methodology consisted of face-to-face interviews and an online survey. A sample of IT professionals from academia and industry was interviewed. The outcome of these interviews was instrumental to narrow down the contents of a questionnaire. An inverted pyramid structure of interviews was used, where starting from a general discussion the opinion of each interviewee on each specific issue was narrowed down.
The use of the pragmatic approach of face-to-face interviews helped to narrow down the subject and the nature of the questions to be more focussed on the adoption of Cloud computing in the context of aligning the Cloud providers with the IT workforce.
As mentioned earlier, the random sampling is limited to IT workforce with experience in the IT field and with or without the knowledge of Cloud computing. A distribution of the sample consisted of thirty percent from academia and seventy percent from industry. Out of seventy percent of sample from industry, thirty percent consisted of large enterprises, and twenty percent each from small and medium sized organisations. This survey is used to address three major concerns about Cloud computing to IT workforce: knowledge level of interviewees about Cloud computing, controversial view of IT workforce behind the growth of cloud computing, and the contributing factors towards the growth of the adoption of Cloud computing.
The online questionnaires were either sent out to the potential responders of this survey as a link through emails. Each question in the questionnaire responses was analysed and each answer was collated. Incomplete questionnaire responses were disregarded. The result was displayed with respect to the areas of concentration in the questionnaire responses.
After analysing the responses to the questionnaire, the result showed that sixty percent of the respondents of the questionnaire believed in the controversial view that the adoption of Cloud computing may be a threat to their job security. The remaining forty percent do not believe in this controversial view. Out of the forty percent who do not believe in the controversial view, fifteen percent do not have a very clear understanding of Cloud computing. As some of the respondents considered Cloud computing just a storage location whereas the organisations of these correspondents have already adopted Cloud computing. The remaining twenty five percent of the forty percent of the correspondents simply believed that Cloud computing is all about storing data remotely and the organisations of these correspondent had not adopted Cloud computing yet. This evidence made the fact clear that the majority of the correspondents who were well aware of Cloud computing still consider adoption of Cloud computing a threat to their job security. Based on this fact, it is not difficult to estimate the intensity of this fear many years ago when Cloud computing was novice.
Majority still consider adoption of Cloud computing a threat to job security
The factors analysed in the previous section that were identified as hindrances to the adoption of Cloud computing were presented as questions to the correspondents of this survey. Before finalising the candidacy of these questions they were refined through the first stage of face-to-face interviews. The lack of regulatory agencies and the absence of proper legislation had been identified as the leading factor to affect the adoption rate. The concerns about security and data protection are also significant. The correspondents have not ignored the negativity of the element of monopoly in the marketplace and they have also considered the challenges to the growth of Internet in the developing world as a major contributing factor. The increasing number of mobile devices has urged correspondents to consider the need of mobility in the context of Cloud computing. It is noticeable that many of the IT personnel consider Cloud computing merely a remote storage for their business need. Many correspondent were not aware of the Email as a form of Cloud computing that’s why they have claimed not to have adopted the Cloud computing. It shows that many companies of small, medium, and large sizes are yet to adopt Cloud computing in a real sense. The majority of the correspondent who acknowledged the adoption of Cloud computing are from the large enterprises that makes a larger part of the IT marketplace.
The responses from correspondents showed that the average year of the adoption of Cloud computing was the year 2012. Most large organisations which use Cloud computing make use of private cloud as compared to the small and medium enterprises that make use of the public Cloud which is due to the limited resources of SME for establishing and maintaining the Cloud infrastructure for a limited time. The correspondents that belongs to the organisations that are yet to adopt Cloud computing did not know precisely when they are likely to adopt Cloud computing and those correspondents who know they have an average time frame of five to six years to adopt Cloud computing.
Mobility as the major factor in improving the adoption rate of Cloud computing
The response about the factors that have helped to improve the adoption rate of Cloud computing consisted of six factors: cost savings, the need of Cloud computing, mobility, regulatory bodies, effective security and reliability. The correspondents identified mobility as the major factor in improving the adoption rate of Cloud computing. As the development of regulatory bodies for Cloud computing had been slower, therefore, most of the correspondents considered it the least contributing factor towards the adoption rate of Cloud computing. Lower cost, an increasing need of Cloud computing in modern world, improvement in the security measures of Cloud computing, and recognised improvement in reliability and availability were equally acknowledged as the factors that have helped in improving the adoption rate of Cloud computing. Majority of the correspondents of this survey agreed to the fact that the IT workforce should embrace Cloud computing to knockout the fear of IT workforce of losing their job. Instead IT workforce would have to work alongside the Cloud providers to help their organisations in adopting Cloud computing. This can be accomplished by working positive mindedly with Cloud infrastructure.
Many of the correspondents of this survey need to be educated about what exactly Cloud computing is so that people do not presume it merely a remote storage. There is a dire need to organised more events so as to educate or enlighten more IT personnel about Cloud computing and the future role of Cloud computing. Various leading companies have used certification in the past to promote new technologies to IT workforce. A structure of the certification of professionals will bring in a great deal of promotion in this field.
If the security of Cloud gets variable due to public key then the security of other Cloud users under the same Cloud provider can also be at risk. It is interesting to analyse the use of individual public key for each Cloud users.
Based on face-to-face interviews and a survey of the IT work force from Academia and IT industry, this paper analysed various factors that has affected the adoption rate of Cloud computing with leading factor of the lack of regulatory bodies in the early era of Cloud computing. This paper identified that the major factor behind the slower growth of Cloud computing was the controversial view of the fear of job loss in the minds of IT workforce. It is established that many in the industry did not still understand dynamism of Cloud computing and a need to educate or promote awareness of Cloud computing was identified. The factors that helped in improving the adoption rate of Clod computing were also identifies with leading factors of mobility. Recommendations such as increased training, and the need of industry certification in Cloud computing had been put forward.
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