Who Can IT Professionals Trust?
August 14, 2017

Leon Adato

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Trust is not given, it must be earned.

I've been thinking about this a lot since the SolarWinds IT Trends Report 2017: Portrait of a Hybrid IT Organization revealed a lack of trust in the hybrid IT era between IT professionals and their cloud services providers (CSP). In fact, the survey found that the majority of IT professionals (62 percent) only somewhat trust their CSPs.

This lack of trust largely stems from the fact that IT professionals have less control and, without the proper toolset, less visibility into cloud infrastructure, yet still take the help desk tickets when something goes wrong (add to this control issue a rare but memorable history of major public cloud outages).

And while this lack of control plays a large role in the amount of trust that exists within the IT and CSP relationship, there is another reason for it: IT professionals not trusting CSPs simply because they don't have a firm grasp on the evolving technology. IT management by service-level agreement is nerve-wracking enough, and harder still to stomach when there's no diagram of that inside cloud's (mostly) black box.

However, an IT professional's relationship with their CSP is not only a mutually beneficial one, it's a necessary one in today's hybrid IT world. To gain the most out of this relationship and foster more trust within it, consider the following best practices:

■ Continuous Education: For many IT professionals used to monitoring and managing on-premises infrastructure, the cloud is unfamiliar territory, so it's crucial for IT to educate themselves enough to verify the technology and build trust.

■ Visibility Across On-Premises and Cloud Environments: The ability to consolidate and correlate data to deliver visibility and data insights across the data center and the cloud allows IT professionals to more proactively work with CSPs to identify and remediate problem areas and reduce mean time to resolution.

■ Take Control of the Decision-Making Process: Considering the shift in how cloud technology is sold into businesses, IT professionals should increase their knowledge so they can build trust and demonstrate enthusiasm with management. By gaining cloud technology expertise, they regain the role of trusted advisor and the business in turn will bring them into critical purchasing decisions.

As a fun way to draw comparisons between the level of trust IT professionals have in their CSPs versus individuals or groups they rely on, we also recently polled the SolarWinds THWACK® community of IT professionals to find out who they trust the most. Perhaps unsurprisingly, we found that they also do not trust meteorologists, healthcare providers, car salespeople, or taxi drivers, while they most trust themselves, their teams, and their families.

Here are a few of their comments:

"I completely trust my volunteer firefighter crew because no one else is crazy enough to run into a burning building with me."

"I completely trust my network operations team members because they have never let me down and always rise to the occasion!"

"I completely trust my wife because she's been with me most of my life, she's my best friend, and she is always there for me no matter what."

"I completely trust my family—we help each other out no matter the cost because it's just what we do as a family."

"I completely trust my mom because she has always had my best interest at heart."

"I completely trust my DevOps team to make our IT department better, be more efficient, and help literally anyone with any issue, day or night."

Leon Adato is a Head Geek at SolarWinds
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