3 Enterprise Cloud Computing Skills Corporate IT will Require in 2012 and 2013

Cloud technology is rather easy to obtain. The right mix of technical skills mix to design and implement the technology is not.

By David S. Linthicum, Founder and CTO, Blue Mountain Labs

As we move into the new year, most professionals in corporate IT are faced with the fact that cloud computing will now be a larger part of an IT portfolio. However, many IT shops are ill-prepared to face the migration to cloud-based systems of all types, not having the skills in-house to be successful. Here are three skills that are at the top of the list.

Enterprise Cloud Architect

We know what an Enterprise Architect is, but what IT needs is an Enterprise Architect that understands how cloud computing fits in to that architecture. Moreover, the architect must understand the role of SOA and have deep knowledge of private and public cloud computing technology and providers.

If this sounds like a tall order, it is. Not many of these people roam the hallways of larger companies, which is why good cloud computing consulting firms are having a feeding frenzy right now. You'll have to get this skill in-house one way or another.

Moreover, these are typically powerful positions. Those in IT leadership want to keep the decision-making power in their own area, and thus push back on hiring this skill. I suspect this will lead to some poor planning and bad decisions that will kill a few cloud computing strategies. Remember, it's never the fault of the technology but how you leverage it.

Cloud Security Specialist

You've likely heard that cloud computing-based systems are never as secure as on-premise systems. That's simply not true. In fact, most cloud-based systems are more secure considering the amount of planning, time, and effort that goes into making them secure. These systems require some very savvy and smart security experts who operate under both enterprise and cloud-based systems.

The skills required are obvious: there's the ability to deal with security using identity-based approaches, the ability to deal with and plan for data encryption both at rest and in flight, and the ability to assess risks and define their associated costs.

Cloud Administration Specialist

After the Enterprise Cloud Architect and Cloud Security Specialist have done their jobs, those charged with operating the cloud-based systems are most critical to the successful outcome of a migration to the cloud. This means dealing with service-level agreements (SLAs), outages, and data integration, among other important issues.

Far too often I have seen wonderfully designed and implemented cloud-based systems being tossed to an administrative staff that is ill-prepared to deal with public and private cloud-computing technology. The result is a much lower service level than traditional systems, and thus the failure of the first-generation, cloud-computing projects.

I've found in my many years of doing this work that the technology is rather easy to obtain but the right skills mix is not. If those charged with making cloud computing work effectively within their enterprises assume it can be accomplished without a significant change in skills mix, they are going to find out the hard way that they are wrong.

David S. Linthicum is the founder and the CTO of Blue Mountain Labs and an internationally recognized industry expert and thought leader. He is the author or co-author of 13 books on computing, including Enterprise Application Integration (Addison Wesley). You can contact the author at

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