Does your IT team have the skills needed to make effective use of the cloud?
As cloud offerings evolve and enterprise organizations look to do more in the cloud, IT professionals need to add new cloud-related skills.
Chances are most organizations, whether in healthcare or any other sector, are pretty careful when it comes to staffing the departments that manage their IT systems. But do they maintain that vigilance when they move to the cloud?
Writing recently at Information Week, Andrew Froehlich, president and lead network architect for West Gate Networks, a network consultancy, wonders why it is that, in his view, “IT managers fail to understand that their in-house IT staff need to gain new skills when migrating massive portions of applications and data into third-party service provider networks.”
He suggests part of the reason is due to what he calls the “dipping the toe” mentality when it comes to cloud adoption. Such gradualism, he suggests, which generally results in a hybrid approach, means “there was little thought into designing a company's cloud according to best-practice fundamentals. Also, for some, the recommended technologies and concepts have changed over time, leaving their cloud unable to properly scale.”
Consequently, he says, “IT management is beginning to receive feedback that their current cloud designs are inadequate and in need of a re-architecture. Everything from IP subnetting to storage services and security policies need to be reworked to create a cloud that's usable for the long term.”
While Froehlich says the good news is that there are a number of ways IT staffs can catch up, “figuring out what skills technical professionals need to acquire can get tricky. On one hand, vendor-neutral training on general architecture topics can be beneficial because architects can use their skills in any number of cloud service provider data centers. . . . On the other hand, IT leaders are discovering that they require very specific skills focused on the best practices of the cloud provider where they are tenants. Additionally, as cloud networks become increasingly complex, IT infrastructure administrators will need to fill specialized roles when it comes to the cloud.
The bottom line? “As your cloud computing needs grow and expand, the skills required to support them must also evolve. Unlike what many IT leaders believe, your cloud provider is constantly making changes to the underlying infrastructure architecture you rely upon. Thus, it’s important that your IT staff maintain proper training to keep up with those changes.”