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The key to the cloud: an IT team with the right skills

Because cloud offerings change and healthcare organizations are constantly looking to do more in the cloud, IT professionals need to add new cloud-related skills on a regular and continuing basis.

Jeff Rowe | May 21, 2018 12:00 am

So you’ve picked a cloud provider, or two, or three.  You’ve determined the best mix of public and private environments for your organization.  Even thought ahead to an effective disaster recovery plan.

But have you got the right staff in place to make the most of your move to the cloud?

Writing recently at Information Week, Andrew Froehlich, president and lead network architect for West Gate Networks, a network consultancy, suggests “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.”

As he sees it, part of the problem is what he calls the “dipping the toe” mentality when it comes to cloud adoption. Gradualism of this type generally results in a hybrid approach, and it probably 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.”

The result is often that IT management is beginning to get 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(s) to be reworked to create a cloud that's usable for the long term.”

The good news, says Froehlich, 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.”

In the end, he says, “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.”