You’ve weighed all the evidence, looked at all your options, and decided a move to the cloud is in your company’s best interests. But have you considered what your cloud migration team will look like? Just like you wouldn’t ask your HR department to spearhead a tax audit, it’s possible that your in-house IT team isn’t outfitted with the complete skill set it needs to build and maintain an optimal system in the cloud—not because they aren’t skilled in their own right, but because the cloud is a niche environment. It requires specialized knowledge and capabilities to navigate it successfully.
What You Need to Succeed
First and foremost, moving to and operating in the cloud requires having somebody on board who is well versed in the ins and outs of your cloud service provider of choice, be it Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, or another vendor. As we discussed in a previous blog post, it takes expertise to optimize your system in the cloud for cost efficiency [link “previous blog post” to Consideration Stage Blog Post 2]. Moreover, some cloud platforms (e.g., AWS) are built on advanced technology best manned by someone with engineer-level coding capabilities. Traditionally, in-house IT teams reflect a different set of skills grounded in on-premises hardware configuration, management, and maintenance.
Building Your Cloud Team
Assuming you are like most companies and don’t have a cloud specialist on staff, you have a few options when it comes to accessing the expertise you need to perform optimally in the cloud.
Option 1: Invest in Internal Training
The first option is to train your current IT team to function in the environment offered by your cloud service provider of choice. This is the option that requires the lowest upfront investment, and it is certainly better than winging your cloud migration without any bearings. The problem with this approach is that there is a steep learning curve. It’s unlikely that basic internal training will ever produce a true cloud expert, and it will take months, if not longer, to gain even a serviceable amount of cloud knowledge. Moreover, cloud environments change rapidly. As soon as your staffer is “caught up” on learning about the platform, its features, services, and extensibility will have evolved, requiring new knowledge and rendering some of their acquired knowledge obsolete. Furthermore, staying abreast of cloud technology and running your cloud system is a full-time job. So, whoever is training to take on the role will have to relinquish many if not all of their other responsibilities. A new hire may be required to pick up that slack.
Option 2: Recruit New Talent
Option two is recruiting a cloud expert from outside your organization. If you go this route, you’re not alone. Employers have demonstrated increased interest in hiring individuals with experience and skills specific to the cloud. But finding sufficiently qualified candidates is still a challenge, according to analyses, which report that employer demand exceeds the viable talent pool. Moreover, hires with valuable cloud experience generally command high salaries, which you’ll want to take into account when developing your cloud budget.
If you go this route, you will also have to accept that your company’s cloud technology is entirely dependent on a single point of contact. If that person makes a critical error, there is no one there to catch their mistake. And if they leave your company, the integrity of your cloud system will be threatened.
Option 3: Outsource Your Expertise
The third option is outsourcing your cloud expertise. Hiring a well-staffed, mature managed service provider (MSP) like PCI to architect and oversee your cloud system has a number of benefits. We bring to the table up to-the-minute cloud expertise with specialized knowledge and experience in every major service provider and component of cloud functionality, from architecture to security. Rather than relying on one person to helm your foray into the cloud, we have an entire team of experts working together to ensure the success and cost-efficiency of your project. We also have working partnerships with numerous third-party cloud service providers that we can leverage to your benefit. Most importantly, MSPs like PCI work closely with your IT team, because no one knows how you use technology to do business better than they do. Depending on your recruiting costs, the salary you offer, and your benefits package, contracting with an MSP may even save you money when compared to hiring.