Cloud computing has been around now for nearly two decades, and many folks in the IT industry are pretty familiar with basic cloud technologies by now. Saying you know the cloud is no longer enough to excel in a cloud computing career field.
Instead, if you want to stand out in the world of the cloud, you need to master cloud technologies that extend beyond the basics. You must understand cloud tools and concepts that will be increasingly in demand going forward, but that the typical cloud engineer doesn't necessarily know.
With that reality in mind, this article walks through five cloud technologies or skills areas that are poised to become increasingly important but that fall outside the realm of traditional or basic cloud computing skills.
1. Cloud Infrastructure Entitlement Management
Staying on top of cloud security threats in large, constantly changing environments requires more than basic cloud security best practices. It requires Cloud Infrastructure Entitlement Management, or CIEM, a relatively new category within the realm of cloud security.
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CIEM cloud technologies and practices focus on helping businesses ensure that the access roles and permissions they grant to users in the cloud are always as secure as possible. To thrive at CIEM, you need a deep understanding of how cloud Identity and Access Management (IAM) frameworks work, as well as which best practices to enforce when it comes to cloud access control.
2. Hybrid Cloud
Hybrid cloud technologies aren't new; on the contrary, businesses have been building hybrid cloud environments for years. But hybrid cloud has grown increasingly important, with more than 90% of businesses now reporting that they are either already using a hybrid cloud architecture or plan to evaluate it.
Free Download: Enterprise Guide to Hybrid Cloud Adoption and Management
For that reason, learning hybrid cloud technologies like AWS Outposts, Azure Arc, Azure Stack, Google Anthos, VMware Cloud Foundation, and even generic Kubernetes (which isn't a hybrid cloud platform per se but can be used to build hybrid cloud environments) is a smart choice. In the future, knowing how to manage a traditional public cloud environment won't be enough to stand out from the crowd in many cases; hybrid cloud skills will be an essential complement.
3. Cloud DLP
In an age when organizations store ever-increasing volumes of data in the cloud while also facing ever-heightened data privacy risks, the ability to find and protect sensitive data within cloud environments is critical.
Cloud data loss prevention, or DLP, is a category of cloud technology designed to help businesses achieve this goal. Understanding which cloud DLP solutions exist (like AWS Macie and Google Cloud Data Loss Prevention) and how they can be used is a smart way to prime yourself for ongoing success at the intersection of cloud computing and cybersecurity.
4. Cloud Repatriation
Sometimes, the cloud doesn't work out the way a business intended, and it becomes necessary to perform cloud repatriation.
Cloud repatriation is the process of moving workloads from the public cloud back on-prem (or into a colocation facility). It often depends on the same cloud technologies that enable workloads to migrate to the cloud initially, but those tools are used in reverse to achieve cloud repatriation.
Many folks who have worked with the cloud understand how to get workloads into the cloud initially, but few have the skills necessary to perform a cost-effective, reliable cloud repatriation. Learning those skills will help you stand apart from your typical cloud engineer.
5. Alternative Cloud
Alternative cloud is a term that refers to cloud services from vendors other than the "Big Three" — Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud — that dominate the public cloud computing market. In some cases, using alternative cloud solutions can yield better performance and/or more cost-effective services than relying on the Big Three providers alone.
So, if you want to position yourself as an engineer who can help businesses think outside the box about their cloud strategy and leverage cloud technologies they may never have explored before, take some time to learn about the ecosystem of alternative cloud vendors and services, and how they differ from the better-known public cloud platforms.
About the authorChristopher Tozzi is a technology analyst with subject matter expertise in cloud computing, application development, open source software, virtualization, containers and more. He also lectures at a major university in the Albany, New York, area. His book, “For Fun and Profit: A History of the Free and Open Source Software Revolution,” was published by MIT Press.