A Day in the Life of an IT Pro: Just Listen to Teacher

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I have written a lot about network security and how to track down rogue issues during this series. However, as an IT Pro my role is also to advise and teach those around me about the pros and cons of adopting new technologies.

One such technology that has driven many debates over the past few years is the cloud. Despite an ever increasing appetite and buzz around it there’s still much scepticism due to a lack of understanding around this technology. This has meant I’ve not only had to try and persuade my peers of the inherent benefits, but also convince more senior stakeholders whose buy-in is needed if the company is to invest. I tend to have an extra shot of coffee in my latte on those days!

When it comes to cloud adoption, there are many conflicting opinions around why anyone should or shouldn’t do it. When it comes to IT, one IT Pro’s dream is another’s nightmare - for example, where some see greater flexibility and reduced CAPEX, others see risks to uptime and lack of control. However, it is concerns around security that I always find hardest to overcome.

I found this out the hard way when my company decided to review its data storage system. As any good IT Pro would, I took a Carpe Diem approach and decided this was my moment to shine, share my great cloud idea, and get a pat on the back from the CIO for my troubles. The big day came, I went into the meeting bold as brass, confident that with all of the benefits this was an easy sell - a sure thing. I got shot down.

Frustrated with myself, I realised my mistake. Whilst I had stated that the cloud was a great idea, and waxed lyrical about it being as secure as any onsite environment, I had failed to explain in simple terms how or why this was. I had completely overlooked the need to educate my colleagues. The result, it was decided that the business would address its increasing storage needs by adding extra rack space.

But all was not lost. Fast forward a year later, and we found ourselves gearing up for another storage review meeting. This time, I was determined not to make the same mistakes and went in armed with the why’s and how’s. I took the time to clarify and demystify the cloud; showing how the majority of security breaches are related to human error, demonstrating the several levels of protection offered by the cloud; and finally, explaining how today that the physical location of data is now less important than the means of access.

Once I was satisfied that the hard part was done, I wrapped up by running through a few different cloud options; highlighted the importance of exploring the different cloud offerings to determine the pros and cons of each and try and establish there and then, which product would not only best suit the type of data we were looking to store, but also get an idea of what they felt most comfortable with.

As I went through each of the options using terminology they could understand and feel comfortable with, I began to feel attitudes start to shift in my favour. The directors continued to probe, but by going through the process of educating them and putting their minds at ease, I was able to win them round to my way of thinking. The result? This time I got my pat on the back from the CIO as we finally got the green light for implementation.

So remember, educating peers and stakeholders is a key part of an IT Pro’s life. Whether it’s the company CIO on the merits of adopting new and innovative technologies; colleagues on how to properly maintain and monitor it; or end-users on how to use the new technology and applications.

After all, they’re not the IT Pro, you are. And half the time they would be lost without your guidance, even if they won’t admit it out loud.

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