How to be a responsible devil's advocate about the cloud

The ranters rely on general, typically false assertions about the cloud to stop progress -- those are dangerous IT leaders at any company

People like me keep saying that the cloud is here, it's real, and it's good -- so stop resisting. But it is okay to push back on the cloud. Really.

Opinions that provide a devil's-advocate point of view that can help you better understand the reasons for moving workloads to the cloud. And the cloud is not always a fit, so some of that devil's advocacy will save you from putting things in the cloud that shouldn't be there. You have to take things on a case-by-case basis.

However, what drives me nuts is when people move from pushing back on the cloud to ranting. Those rants frequently rely on inaccurate or misleading information -- and that should have no place in a real strategy or tactical discussion.

I'm often asked to speak at IT leadership events, and the topic of cloud computing continues to be polarizing within these groups. After all these years, I still get some pretty silly pushback from holdouts, such as "it's insecure," "it's too expensive," and other general statements that are meaningless without context.

I counter such misleading statements around the security objection by providing real facts around data breaches (clouds are nowhere near them) and how you can use modern security approaches and technology to actually create systems that are more secure in the cloud. I even provide step-by-step processes to do so.

I take the same approach with business-case objections. Although the cloud is not always the cheapest way to go, if you look at the core business advantages, such as agility and time-to-market, public clouds provide far better business advantages -- generally speaking. And I can also demonstrate a process to make the business case. If that effort doesn't make the business case, then you know for real that the cloud is not the right answer for that specific case.

Regardless of such efforts, the rants continue, and general, nonsensical statements remain commonplace in these meetings. What's lacking in these IT people is critical thinking about the use of this technology -- and that's even scarier. After all, those people are leading the IT charge in their own organizations.

Chances are, their staff is not pushing back with the facts. And that makes them likelier to push their respective companies off any innovative path to more success.

In some cases, they will kill their own businesses. When that happens, I wonder if they even know why? Don't be that kind of IT person.

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