IT departments aiming to close cloud computing knowledge gap

July 25, 2012

For most organizations, moving to a new technology that is not fully understood is a scary proposition. Multiple studies have found that a lack of basic knowledge about the cloud has stood in the way of its adoption across the business landscape. According to a new study from the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), that knowledge gap might be rapidly closing.

Part of this shift has come as more companies get comfortable using cloud services. More than 80 percent of companies surveyed by CompTIA now use at least some cloud solution in their organization, the third straight year the number of cloud adopters continued to rise. This rise sees more money directed toward the cloud as well, with more than half of respondents reporting an increase in cloud budget of 10 percent or more in 2012.

New skill-sets
Spending is not just directed at the technology itself. Some is being put into adding new roles to the IT department to cope with the changing times. Many of the new positions specialize in cloud computing, enhancing the knowledge base of the department.

According to the CompTIA study, the most common role that has been added to departments is someone who possess the ability to build a private cloud, with 69 percent adding that skill to the payroll. A more expansive staff also requires improved communication, with 64 percent adding departmental liaisons. Integration specialists (63 percent) and cloud architects (61 percent) came in next on the list.

In a distant fifth was compliance specialist, with just 44 percent of organizations adding one. By adding someone responsible for compliance, companies take responsibility for data security in the cloud, ensuring that both internal cloud security measures and the external provider keep everything in line.

Closing the gap
While companies are becoming smarter about their use of the cloud, both through in-house means and by turning to vendors and consultants in the IT field, the gap still exists in many organizations. This is a particular worry on the small business front. According to a study from a software company, the lack of in-house skills was the No. 1 concern preventing small businesses from adopting cloud services, labeled as the top barrier by 31 percent of respondents.

Other regions outside the United States also have a gap that needs to be remedied, with 63 percent of Canadian companies citing a lack of knowledge as a reason to avoid cloud services, according to a Telus study. Robert Half Technology found that 24 percent of companies in the UK cited the same concern.

-McAfee Cloud Security