Cloud computing has become a substantial buzzword in the business community, but only recently have individual users begun to see how this amorphous approach to storage can change their lives as well. The digitally savvy already know the dangers of computing without a substantial backup. While external hard drive storage has never been more affordable, its physicality prevents it from being an ideal option. Cloud storage allows users to sync devices at the touch of a button, letting them take their games, information, and programs with them wherever they go.
We haven’t yet reached the point where personal cloud computing is as prevalent as physical storage, but most experts believe increased adoption is inevitable. Some studies estimate that users will be storing up to a third of their digital files on a cloud platform within the next three years. Already, programs such as Gmail, Flickr, and Carbonite are using a personal cloud to provide users with the benefits of increased storage and mobile flexibility. Of course, this move away from personal storage has some experts warning of the hidden dangers.
Among the most prescient dangers to cloud users are centered around privacy. One need only look at the backlash to Facebook’s graph search program to see that many users are still very concerned about their online privacy. Storing documents in the cloud puts a third party in control of the files, something not everyone is entirely comfortable with. Security is another issue that may keep users from storing sensitive personal information on anything but a physical hard drive.
For now, mobile users are more than happy to store their music, games, and entertainment in the cloud for easy access on the go. In the future, will we see this expand to more comprehensive usage, or will cloud storage remain a province for businesses and IT specialists? Time will tell, but as Apple, Google, and other major software companies roll out storage for their users, the safe bet is on the Cloud.
Since the beginnings of departmentalised corporate entities, Marketing personnel have maintained a certain familiarity with the phrase, “Last hired, first fired.” This is due in part to the misconceptions of some of the past business leaders who, until the mid-1980′s to 1990′s, did not truly understand the realm of Marketing and how it is critical to the on-going success of a business. When business was struggling, Marketing personnel would be hastily brought in for rescue, then dropped during success. Foresight of five to ten years “from now” is now the understood mode of operations, thus securing earlier and more consistent retention of Marketing employees within knowledgeable companies.
Today, the same “learning curve” is blocking true understanding of the cruciality of Information Technology and Information Systems personnel within some organisations. IT personnel are mistakenly now the last hired and often the area of first reductions in force. If one stops to consider today’s business landscape and the complete integration of information systems and technologies within any organisation, how could this be? What have formerly been looked upon as an unnecessary departments and non-key personnel until companies reach an optimum level of performance and profitability need to be regarded as what they are: mission critical components of a young, growing, and/or fully-functioning organisation. In other words, IT personnel are key to the success of all business.
When considering the importance of IT personnel and the internal IT department within your company, remember these points:
1. An internally managed IT department is 100% dedicated to driving the company forward.
How can a company in today’s technology-based business climate move forward and grow at optimum speed, if the IT department is not always one step ahead of “today’s operations?” A company’s future is now determined by its technological pathway, regardless of the industry or product. Not having a fully dedicated IT department is like trying to build a road beneath traffic, versus building the roadway before the traffic is allowed to pass. Only an internal IT department will truly have the vested interest, daily accountability, expertise and dedication required to continually drive your organisation toward consistent success.
2. Technological maintenance are better managed from within.
Technological maintenance is best directed by those with personal knowledge of a company’s inner-workings, methodologies, processes, other employees, and functionalities. An internal IT department will know the infrastructure of the organisation better than anyone, and thus will be best able to lead the protection of technological data and ensure network risks are minimised. Along with knowing how best to determine the specific internal priorities toward regaining operational status in the event of a system outage.
3. Competitive advantage is directly related to internal retention of information.
For every piece of corporate detail or information that is directed externally there is a risk. Even small bits of information add up to a bigger picture of a company’s competitive advantage over time, whether the advantage is within their processes, products, services, internal records, or even customer lists. Confidentiality, non-compete and other contractual clauses won’t necessarily hinder leaks, where a lack of conscience, loyalty or buy-in are concerned. Regardless of the type of information passing over the network or through a briefcase and out of the company, there is a market for it. The more individuals participating within the business of a company without direct, internal control by the company, the more likely that company is to lose competitive advantage.
4. Innovation is most likely to come from within.
It has long been known that a company’s biggest assets are the ones either employed by that company or managed directly e.g. consultants, on-site IT teams from external suppliers, etc. An ethical “Corporate culture” creates and maintains the arena for innovations, developments, changes and growth that propel organisations forward and beyond obstacles. This is the reason that many corporations reward innovators within the company, through structured programs promoting sharing of ideas. Simple “what if” scenarios mentioned in Monday meetings are frequently the impetus for eventual major brand innovation. If the “what if” is never heard, where does this leave your brand, products or services?