Rise of cloud forcing companies to retrain IT staff

April 12, 2012

As cloud computing becomes an increasingly critical component of enterprise operations, organizations are faced with a dilemma. Because it is such a new technology, and such a departure from what came before it, IT professionals well-versed in cloud computing are few and far between. Most companies' current IT staffs are simply not as experienced with cloud computing services as those organizations would like.

This can be a major issue, as the cloud, in addition to providing a wide range of benefits, also comes with many security issues. Without proper cloud security, a business may find itself susceptible to data breaches, including corporate espionage. Every year, American companies lose millions of dollars as a result of cybersecurity vulnerabilities, many of which could have been prevented if employees and IT staff were more educated and vigilant in the application of security protocols.

Many companies are therefore looking to hire IT workers who are trained and experienced in dealing with the cloud. According to WANTED Analytics, hiring demand for cloud skills has increased significantly in recent years. In February of 2011, more than 5,000 job listings emphasizing cloud computing skills were posted in the U.S. This represents a 92 percent increase from the same period in 2011 and a 400 percent rise compared to February 2010.

Due to this high demand and relatively small labor pool, some industry experts recommend companies focus on retraining their existing IT departments, rather than hiring new employees. Among this group is CIO's Meredith Levin, who recently argued that companies should implement a "learn as you go" approach to cloud training. This system will result in some growing pains as businesses' IT departments strive to master an ever-evolving area of technology, she explained. However, she maintains that the long-term benefits outweigh these costs, as existing IT staffs - which, it should be noted, are already familiar with the company and its other security concerns - will become stronger and better informed as time goes on, and therefore better prepared to handle future cloud deployments.

Additionally, an IT staff that has built up its cloud computing expertise organically may be better prepared to ward off cloud-based security threats that will all but certainly continue to appear well into the future.

-McAfee Cloud Security