CloudSkilled IT Professionals: A CIO's Dilemma
By Mathew M Varghese, CTO - Software, Analytics & Network Transformation, Cisco Systems - Asia Pacific
The three priorities that businesses are focused on in their journey to be digital businesses (digitally transformed businesses) are:
• Simplify and automate processes so they can increase speed to market and lower costs
• Empower workforce efficiency and innovation to drive productivity gains and increase retention
• Personalize customer and citizen experiences to increase loyalty through insights
Digital Transformation is fueled by several megatrends – Mobility, IoT, Analytics and Cloud. A specific and key challenge surrounding Cloud is what I am going to cover in the remainder of this article.
Our studies reveal the sheer magnitude of the dependence on clouds; clouds of all shapes and sizes, including hybrid and public clouds. And the reason for that dependence is simple. The more you adopt cloud, the greater the benefits. In fact, for those who have optimized their cloud strategy, the benefits are significant and tangible.
However, only three percent have an optimized cloud strategy. Why? Because, today’s organizations are facing a widening cloud gap, between what cloud applications and LOB stakeholders require, and what IT is able to reliably and confidently support today.
So, what’s causing this Cloud Gap? Amongst the many challenges that CIO’s are faced with, the one that is much wider in scope, diverse in nature and most challenging of all is a lack of skilled IT professionals with deep cloud skills to operate, manage& optimize cloud infrastructures, applications and policies.
Therefore, what are the right Cloud Skills that IT Professionals need to focus on to be marketable:
The skills should target the Plan, Prepare, Design, Implement, Operate and Optimize methodology (PPDIO2).
The learning map for Cloud skills should include (but be not restricted to):
Traditional organizations such as Financial Services have a huge and complex application landscape. The ability to map existing applications in the core versus context model and determine which application needs to be “cloudified” in a secure way and for what duration is also a key skill to be acquired.
Amongst all the skills that I listed above, the one that is very close to my heart is Cloud Security. This is because, Cloud increases the “attack-surface” and extends it beyond the Enterprise to also include partner cloud infrastructure (public & hybrid clouds) thereby threatening and challenging the traditional security policies implemented within the Enterprise.
There are three sub skills within the Cloud Security Skills that are complex but are in huge demand being:
1. Ethical Hacking: Ethical hacking is an important cloud security skill to have as it helps test and strengthen the security policy across the new “attack-surface”.
2. Risk assessment & Mitigation: This is another cloud security skill to possess as it helps assess risk across this new attack-surface and design a distributed security policy, which can then be implemented, enforced and managed centrally.
3. Encryption: Ensuring the privacy and security of data in transit, at rest and in use is a critical must for cloud security to be effective. Specifically, the skill to innovate complex encryption algorithms or encrypt data with approved algorithms and long, random keys is in high demand.
In concluding, there’s a huge need for IT professionals with the above mentioned cloud skills. This also presents a great career opportunity for existing IT Professionals to upgrade their skills and help drive cloud deployments within their organizations in a secure, effective and efficient manner.
Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) is an American multinational technology conglomerate, that develops, manufactures, and sells networking hardware, telecommunications equipment, and other high-technology services and products.