Two hours in the cloud: The year's best cloud computing Q&As

This year's best cloud computing Q&As give insights into data security, open source and the morphing role of IT admins in the face of cloud adoption.

As past years have been more about whether cloud computing will infiltrate IT or not, 2012 has been rife with thoughtful analysis of the pros and cons of cloud services. Enterprise IT has been steadfast in its data security concerns, and IT administrators have worried about job security with the introduction of cloud. But many companies are finally seeing how cloud can innovate and advance their missions and business plans.

SearchCloudComputing.com had the opportunity in 2012 to speak with experts from all walks of cloud -- CEOs, cloud security directors and open source pros, among others. These eight best cloud computing Q&As put industry authorities in the hot seat for their takes on the cloud market.

How cloud computing is transforming the IT department

The introduction of cloud computing into enterprise and SMB IT departments can cause knee-jerk reactions among some IT pros. Any change to the IT status quo incites fears about job security and new job requirements -- particularly a change as large as cloud services could cause.

Steve Schoener, the vice president of technology at Eze Castle Integration, confronted these fears by presenting blueprints for a modern IT department and spoke candidly about changes to and eliminations of IT staff in the wake of cloud adoption.

Real and perceived security threats of cloud computing

As data security in the cloud continues to be a sticking point for enterprise IT, this Q&A with Jim Reavis, executive director of the Cloud Security Alliance proves particularly relevant to the IT world this year. As SMBs flock to cloud computing services, enterprises have been on the sidelines with compliance worries and a reluctance to give up control of their data. Reavis sorts out the actual security issues that accompany cloud services from overreactions -- and argues that moving to the cloud could actually be a data security upgrade.

Is OpenStack cloud computing certification a sign of things to come?

Cloud certifications can stir up anxieties among IT admins. Will this "stamp of approval" save them their jobs as IT departments move toward cloud services, or are certifications just another indicator of the end of the IT admin as we know it? Could OpenStack certification legitimize an open source cloud platform that has largely been inactive in production environments? Tony Campbell, director of training and certification at Rackspace Hosting Inc., discusses his company's decision to enact its cloud certification training program and what this could mean for the future of IT administrators.

Are scare tactics deterring you from putting data in the cloud?

If data security worries weren't enough, an attempt to avoid the sticky data governance situation that could arise from adopting cloud computing services also plagues many enterprises. Does the Patriot Act mean Big Brother is eyeing all your mission-critical data? Christopher Wolf, co-director of privacy and information management at Hogan Lovells US LLP, sorts the facts from the science fiction when it comes to data governance and warns companies of some cloud vendors' dirty advertising tricks.

Cloud security, data privacy concerns hinder cloud progress

This year may as well be the year of enterprise data security angst. In a survey conducted by Deloitte Consulting LLC, 49% of more than 950 people cited cloud security and data privacy as the most challenging parts of moving to a hybrid cloud infrastructure. Chris Weitz, a director at Deloitte, does his part to allay enterprises' firmly entrenched fears, saying there is absolutely nothing intrinsically dangerous about cloud.

An open dialog on open source cloud

There are still many misconceptions about open source cloud. A free, flexible option strikes a chord with many organizations looking to adopt cloud computing services -- but not so fast. Open source, while free, can consume a budget with its support costs and staffing needs. And no vendor lock-in also means no vendor assistance. Industry analyst Bill Claybrook manages expectations on open source cloud in this discussion.

One on one with Randy Bias: Cloud standards and the battle for control

A lack of cloud standards can frustrate IT departments -- particularly in enterprises. While some companies adhere to the Amazon Web Services API, others are loyal to VMware's. Randy Bias, co-founder and chief technology officer of The Cloudscaling Group Inc., discusses the finer points of the cloud API war, who's siding with whom and whether all these puzzle pieces will ever join to create one uniform cloud standard -- or whether that's just an enterprise pipe dream.

Gamification sheds light on the dirty secret of SaaS

Gamification has been used in companies to incentivize employees for job performance, but Kris Duggan, CEO of Badgeville Inc., argues that gamification aligns perfectly with changes in the cloud computing market too. Software as a Service has a low, upfront investment that allows smaller companies to run gamification software on SaaS. While enterprise IT has moved to the cloud primarily for cost savings, Duggan says that innovation will become the main motivation. And he believes gamification sits perfectly in that type of market.

Caitlin White is associate site editor for SearchCloudComputing.com. Contact her at cwhite@techtarget.com.

This was first published in December 2012

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