August 27, 2020
Channel partners honing their cloud practices amid rising demand (thanks, COVID-19) will want to lean on new guidance from IT certifications provider CompTIA. The association earlier this month published “Building Cloud Skills for the Future.” It’s an actionable road map the indirect channel can use, especially as customers plan to support remote work indefinitely.
“The obvious implication is that more cloud skills will be needed as organizations transform for the future. “Cloud-based IT has many layers to it, from simple migration of existing systems to full reimagining of the technology footprint. “Although businesses have been making strides with cloud computing up to this point, there will be a growing demand for cloud skills as adoption becomes more mature,” the analysts wrote.
It should come as no surprise that managed service providers, resellers, system integrators and other such channel partners remain the experts best suited to meet these needs. These are the specialists with IT know-how, resources and training already in place. They already farm out their capabilities to enterprises and SMBs that have limited, small, or even no IT teams. It only makes sense for partners to fill any gaps in cloud as well. And CompTIA’s new report offers ideas for doing just that.
Cloud Computing: Who’s Got What Cloud Skills?
To that point, CompTIA says only 17% of the companies it recently surveyed are creating new roles for cloud computing. Instead, they are focused on network administration (67%), systems administration (64%) and security engineering (56%), as the top three examples. That leaves the door wide open for partners. Cloud computing is the fastest-growing subset of IT, due in no small part to the pandemic.
CompTIA then uncovered the 11 cloud skills organizations – and this can include channel partners – say they require. Those are:
Cloud security (72%)
Business continuity/disaster recovery (53%)
Legacy applications migration (47%)
Application-specific knowledge (39%)
Private cloud construction (28%)
Vendor management (17%)
Data analytics (11%)
Organizations are having a tough time covering all these aspects by themselves. Looking at the top three results, cloud security is proving to be the hardest.
“[M]ost firms today understand that security can be properly handled in a cloud implementation,” CompTIA analysts noted. “Actually doing the work of proper security is still a work in progress, though. New tools such as data loss prevention and identity access and management are part of a cloud security solution, and IT pros should also help build best practices around process such as procurement and integration.”
Certainly, managed security service providers rank among the partners most well-positioned to handle these requirements.
As for virtualization, analysts confessed to a bit of a shock.
“It is somewhat surprising to see virtualization ranked so highly, since virtual machines have been part of the IT landscape for quite some time,” they wrote. “The fact that virtualization skills are still in demand speaks to the amount of modernization that many companies still need to perform in moving from a static on-premises mindset to a dynamic as-a-service approach.”
Indeed, that finding does seem strange, and for the reasons CompTIA cites. Yet, take into account how COVID-19 caught so many organizations off guard, how difficult adjusting to remote work was – and is – for them. While people in the technology sector understand the importance of cloud-based solutions, people in other fields still are learning.
Finally, BC/DR rounds out the top three cloud skills issues organizations face.
“Obviously a top-of-mind topic following the COVID-19 outbreak, BC/DR is a perfect example of a broad process rather than a discrete skill,” CompTIA analysts wrote. “By understanding the various options available in cloud storage and cloud software, IT pros can build a solid BC/DR plan that helps their organization navigate disruptions.”
Or, insert “channel partners” in place of “IT pros” and “customers” instead of “their organizations.” Above all, channel partners must make sure they can serve clients’ increasing demands for cloud.
“After the first half of 2020, businesses are accelerating their approach to cloud computing, exploring deeper adoption of cloud infrastructure and software,” CompTIA pointed out.
So partners with proven cloud skills will help their end users “move forward and be more resilient.”
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