Cloud computing has emerged as one of the most impactful technologies driving a revolution of productivity and cost savings for companies worldwide. The cloud offers a wealth of key benefits as companies try to streamline how they manage and access their corporate networks and infrastructure, but it is also one of the toughest segments to find qualified candidates to fill needed cloud-related roles. A recent LinkedIn study identified cloud and distributed computing as the #1 skill companies work hardest at filling. That’s a key reason many organizations are looking inside to upskill their existing teams to master the cloud and transform their infrastructures.
Following are some key industry developments that are driving increased interest in CIOs and senior IT managers to make the cloud a top priority.
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The Cloud Is Impacting Everyone
Companies are continuing to up the amount they spend on cloud infrastructure. According to IDC, at least half of IT spending will be cloud-based in 2018, reaching 60 percent of all IT infrastructure, and 60–70 percent of all software, services, and technology spending by 2020. It is also predicted that in the same year, cloud will be the preferred delivery mechanism for analytics. Investments in the cloud are providing IT organizations with huge cost savings, enhanced computing power and productivity gains. That’s why 74 percent of CFOs say cloud computing will have a measurable impact on their businesses.
Cloud Datacenters Will Reign Supreme
Cloud infrastructure and applications are making it possible for companies to process ever-increasing volumes of data to run their businesses and provide better service to their customers. Cloud datacenters have five essential characteristics of cloud computing as listed by National Institute of Technology (NIST). These five characteristics are on-demand self-service, broad network access, resource pooling, rapid elasticity or expansion, and measured service. A recent Cisco study reported that by 2021, 94 percent of workloads and compute instances will be processed by cloud data centers, with only six percent being processed by traditional data centers. That means the companies who have not yet invested in the cloud-based datacenters will run the risk of falling behind their competitors in terms of speed, availability and quality of service.
Security in the Cloud Is Becoming Mission-critical
While cloud infrastructure and data centers offer a new future for corporate computing, they are still at risk from cybersecurity threats. An Identity Theft Resource Center study reports that the number of U.S. data breaches in the first half of 2017 hit a half-year record high of 791, a significant jump of 29 percent from the same period the year before. The major cloud vendors have invested heavily in recent years into building hardened security measures into their cloud platforms. One example is Google's Cloud Security Command Center that essentially provides cloud-scale security scanners designed to survey a company’s entire cloud footprint, identifying potential vulnerabilities or forgotten entrance points. Cybersecurity professionals that know how to leverage these tools will be valuable members of the cloud computing team.
Public Clouds Are Gaining Momentum
There is a lot of momentum lately for public cloud infrastructure and data centers, given the access it provides for a company’s customer base and potential to offer highly scalable customer services and support. According to a recent Cisco report, by 2021, 73 percent of the cloud workloads and compute instances will be in public cloud data centers, up from 58 percent in 2016 (CAGR of 27.5 percent from 2016 to 2021). Conversely, by 2021, 27 percent of the cloud workloads and compute instances will be in private cloud data centers, down from 42 percent in 2016 (CAGR of 11 percent from 2016 to 2021). According to Forrester, public cloud adoption in enterprises will cross 50 percent for the first time this year. In the continual debate of private vs. public cloud adoption, public is gaining favor globally.
Plenty of Choice for Cloud Platforms
When it comes to choosing the right cloud vendor and platform, there is a growing set of options. The top platform in terms of revenue is Amazon Web Services (AWS), followed by Microsoft (Azure), IBM and Google. Much like companies are turning to public/private hybrid cloud models, multi-cloud platforms are becoming more prevalent. This allows companies to leverage the strengths of each and avoid putting too many eggs in one basket. According to Forrester analyst Laurent Nelson, companies want to “remain vendor-neutral to mitigate vendor lock-in.” Certification training for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform are among the most common cloud training programs available to upskill your IT infrastructure teams.
Whether your goal is massive data storage or processing, deploying cloud-based apps for CRM, ERP or other business applications, or building a scalable infrastructure that grows with your company, you can be assured that several strategies are available for building your cloud team and ensuring the viability of your IT performance plan.