With many businesses moving to cloud computing services, they are finding new ways to conduct operations more efficiently and with greater collaboration. However, one problem that could hinder successful IT infrastructure and effective cloud-based solutions is the growing IT skills gap.

Contributing to The Guardian, NTT Com Security director Garry Sidaway noted that the lack of in-house skills is hampering adequate deployments.

"[W]hen it comes to the classic combination of 'people, process and technology' for a successful IT infrastructure, many businesses are putting the 'technology' and 'process' in place, but are struggling with the 'people' side of the equation," Sidaway wrote.

NTT Com Security recently conducted a survey regarding attitudes toward cloud adoption. Approximately 12 percent of respondents cited "in-house skills availability" as the foremost component when debating whether to deploy new services or replace existing ones.

Additionally, the study found that when businesses consider in-house skills as critical to cloud deployments, a little more than one-third of companies chose the cloud as their delivery system; whereas the majority of those polled said they would use a data center to deploy an application service. Alternately, when in-house skills are not seen as critical for deployment, only 45 percent of businesses chose cloud-based services.

Managing the growing skills gap
According to Sidaway, some issues that need to be taken into account regarding organizations that are reluctant to adopt cloud-based solutions include a possible skills gap, businesses that are unaware of the needed skills or security concerns.

"There is still a level of uncertainty and misunderstanding about what cloud is and what it can deliver for the business – and security is one of the biggest barriers to adoption," noted Sidaway.

While many of these concerns arguably stem from revelations of the massive surveillance and data collection program guided by the National Security Agency, a growing skills gap could pose a bigger threat to the cloud.

An IDC study published earlier this year revealed that 1.7 million cloud computing-related jobs could not be filled due to a shortage in skills and training. Additionally, the demand for adept cloud IT professionals is expected to grow 26 percent year over year untill 2015, creating upwards of 7 million cloud-related jobs.

Bridging the IT skills gap will be essential as demand for cloud services continues to rise. A new report by IDC predicted that the global market for platform as a service will increase from $3.8 billion in 2012 to more than $14 billion in 2017. As companies look for ways to cut infrastructure costs and accelerate application development by utilizing cloud services, the role of in-house IT staff may be lessened.

"One of the biggest unknowns related to public PaaS is its potential impact on IT staff," the report stated. "Because public PaaS improves developer productivity by a factor of two or more, what happens to the developer workforce? Do enterprises make more use of IT or elect to take some or all of the benefit in terms of reducing the developer workforce? The answer lies somewhere in the middle."

For organizations that face these challenges, cloud service providers that can offer all the benefits associated with the cloud including security will become even more prominent in the industry.