The Impact of Cloud Computing on IT Security Skills and Roles: A Case Study
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Cloud computing is causing significant changes in the demand and supply of IT skills and the relevancy of current roles. As the IT environment changes with Cloud technology, it is essential to identify and evaluate these changes, and to understand what actions optimise the new business opportunities. Cloud is affecting the way IT roles are constructed and many traditional roles are being changed or discontinued. This is because many of the systems that have been developed and supported by IT staff members are now being replaced by third-party Cloud-based applications and infrastructures, which does not require the support of the same internal IT staff. IT security roles are also changing, and the technical competence requirements are evolving as more is known about the technical implementation of the Cloud. It is an evolving opportunity for businesses, but more is needed to be known about optimal role deployments, security, and the new skill sets required. This thesis aims to explore the changes to IT security skills and roles caused by Cloud computing and the role of Higher Education Institutions in providing the skills. Currently, there is not enough work in the literature examining the impact of Cloud on skills and roles and how educational institutions can fill the skills gap. Many works are focused on the general perceptions of the barriers of adopting Cloud computing as well as addressing the security issues. Also, there is a wide security skills gap and a lack of Cloud capable security personnel in the industry. This is a research gap that this study intends to fill. This study, therefore, intends to answer the question “what are the impacts of Cloud computing on IT security skills and roles?” In this study, an interpretative case study is used to address the problem of Cloud impacts on IT security roles and skill requirements. Data is collected from three sources – interviews, surveys, and documents, and analysed using thematic analysis techniques in NVIVO. In addition, five sub-questions are developed to help answer the research question. After the data collection is completed, critical reflection is done on the results to inductively generate hypotheses and to identify features in the context for further research. The findings from the research clusters around the six themes of skills, roles, changes to traditional skills, changes to traditional skills, business benefits, restructuring issues, the role of education, and security concerns. Overall, the research is correct in postulating the significance of Cloud impacts on business decision-making, management actions, and IT service management. Together the findings substantiate the belief that Cloud is having a significant impact on IT service roles and the required business skills for successful management. Finally, in practice, this study contributes to understanding best practices and their continual evolution for education, and business Cloud implementations. Recommendations are made for further research into the evolving industry and academic issues that currently have knowledge gaps.