Aggravating though it may be, it seems the big question on IT Managers’ minds right now is whether to move various operations to “the cloud.” You can’t swing a cat without hitting stuff like Paul Venezia’s article exploring some of the hidden costs of cloud outsourcing, this article regarding the death of a cloud service, or an interesting conversation I recently had on LinkedIn that became almost heated.
In all of these, I notice the following:
- There is some super-duper resistance to any suggestion that beloved SaaS services might have flaws.
- Lots of managers think that creating backup systems, et. al. is some magical process that shouldn’t be done in-house if it can be avoided.
I attribute the first of these to (a) brand loyalty (b) a “cool factor” and (c) the fun experience that services like DropBox often provide. But (2) is confounding. Backups and file storage are so super-simple! rsync and samba, et. al. are your friend!
More to the point: we managers have to remember to talk to our sysadmins. The way I put it in my book, Information Age Management, “devising subtle-yet-powerful technical solutions to networking problems is what [your sysadmin] does for a living and if you give him the opportunity, he’ll probably find a way to meet your security requirements
more effectively, less intrusively, and for less money than you would otherwise.”
The place for a question about whether DropBox – or any other service – is appropriate for a given company isn’t LinkedIn but in a meeting between the manager who has to make the decision and the sysadmin he hired to keep The Machines running.