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Aviatrix Blog

Enterprise Multicloud Networking


Aviatrix Blog

The Cloud Skills Gap Threatens Good Network Design  

Building a great cloud network is very different from building a great house, but one principle remains the same: a smart design prevents problems before they start. 


Cloud architects have a high bar to pass. They must create the infrastructure that maximizes performance and minimizes latency, secures and encrypts data to prevent leaks, uses load balancing and connectivity to maintain consistent high performance, offers high availability in case of route failures, spends budgets with cost optimization, and can scale as the business grows.  


Even after building and deployment, Day 2 operations require skilled teams who can use monitoring best practices, identify root causes of issues, and find holistic, long-lasting solutions rather than temporary fixes that create more problems. A competent operations team can minimize MTTR (Mean Time to Resolution) because they know what to look for and the best ways to address an anomaly in traffic or a possible threat. 


The difference between poor and robust design and monitoring best practices is a matter of applying knowledge well — in other words, skill. 


Unfortunately, the cloud networking industry is facing a skills gap. In a recent survey of over 400 cloud networking professionals, more than three out of five (62.6%) respondents said their company has struggled to hire the necessary candidates to support cloud initiatives within their organization. 


While many companies are working to bridge the skills gap, 65.7% of respondents reported that they have struggled to find educational resources for learning about high-demand skills such as multicloud network architecture and design.


Companies Pay for a Lack of Cloud Skills


A lack of cloud skills can cost a company a lot, in the short term and long term. Survey respondents reported three major areas of cloud skills lacking in the talent pool: multicloud networking skills (44.4%), cloud service platform expertise (42.8%), and cloud security (42.3%).  


A Gap in Multicloud Networking Skills


Multicloud networking skills include maintaining permissions, security, routing, automation, and connectivity across multiple clouds: keeping track of remote users, cloud workloads, virtual machines, performance, audit, compliance, and handling issues like overlapping IPs. A lack of multicloud networking skills could result in a messy network with “secret” or forgotten instances, and services for which your company is still billed; long hours wasted trying to troubleshoot in a complex network that works as a black box and limits visibility; security gaps that create unnecessary risk; infrastructure that is too complicated to replicate in different environments.  


A Gap in Cloud Service Provider Expertise


Cloud service provider expertise includes fluency in the mainstream cloud service providers, including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), and Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI). These providers often use different names for similar constructs, such as a VPC (Virtual Private Cloud) in AWS being equivalent to a VNet (Virtual Network) in Azure. They also use distinct hierarchies, security policies, and visibility and troubleshooting options. A lack of cloud service provider expertise could mean failing to maximize a specific cloud’s advantages. It could also mean your team misunderstands a fundamental structural principle, such as the difference between regional AWS VPCs and global-by-nature GCP VPCs, so that your design includes contradictions or redundancies that threaten performance and connectivity.  


A Gap in Cloud Security Skills


Cloud security skills include adopting zero trust network architecture, creating security policies close to the workload, distributed enforcement of policies, the ability to encrypt data in motion, secure ingress, and egress in a network, ensure only authorized users can access critical information and make network changes, and set up network segmentation to keep certain areas separate. Cloud security is at the top of all companies’ minds when collecting customer data. A lack of skill in this area could cause security risks and compliance violations. It could also mean a team struggles to control spending and allocate budget resources to maximize security while reducing costs as much as possible.  


Like a poorly built house with lousy insulation, risky wiring, a fragile roof, or leaky pipes, a lack of cloud skills costs companies money, time, energy, and even credibility. Teams who lack the skills to master the benefits of cloud networking can face everything from inconveniences like high latency to major concerns like outages, security breaches, or out-of-control spending. Creating a good network architecture and managing Day 2 operations requires teams with a comprehensive awareness of how networking works and a complete mastery of concepts such as connectivity, security, resiliency, agility, and repeatability.  


Bridging the Cloud Skills Gap with Comprehensive Training


One effective way cloud network professionals can build essential skills is to pursue training certifications. Cloud training certifications help you build a vocabulary of cloud terminology and learn how the different cloud service providers work. The AWS, Azure, GCP, and OCI certifications are well-known offerings that teach basic networking principles and how to build a network in their respective cloud.  


The Aviatrix Certified Engineer (ACE) Program has a unique value proposition as the industry’s leading multicloud networking certification. Beginning with the historical shift from on-premises environments to the cloud, the ACE Program begins with cloud-agnostic foundational concepts before building to specific topics such as operations and security.  


From self-paced offerings to live trainings led by senior solutions architect instructors, the ACE Program prepares you to use the cloud to transform your business. Through instruction and labs, you can learn how to:  


  • Compare the leading cloud service providers and take advantage of their distinct benefits 
  • Secure data using end-to-end encryption, segmentation, and policy-based egress 
  • Gain visibility across an entire network to accelerate troubleshooting and issue resolution 
  • Use Infrastructure as Code automation tools to create repeatable infrastructure 
  • Transition from on-prem to the cloud using a robust cloud backbone 
  • Practice multicloud design patterns that optimize performance, security, and cost effectiveness 


Sign up to save your seat in an ACE course today! 


Bridging the Skills Gap through Community


Another way to bridge the cloud skills gap is investing in communities where you can participate in discussions, ask questions, and learn from a network of peers. Online communities such as Reddit, Stack Overflow, and TCN let you listen in on current conversations such as how to budget for GenAI (generative AI) initiatives or solve common networking design problems. 


The Cloud Network Community offers forums for conversation and live events that give you access to expertise on the latest industry trends. On the last Friday of every month, we have an Office Hours session: a virtual series intended to bring cloud networking experts and novices together in an open forum for storytelling, demos, collaboration, ask the expert sessions, and more. 


To close out March this month, we’ll have John Smoker, Principal Solutions Architect at Aviatrix, on to discuss Career Advancement in the Cloud. John’s extensive experience makes him just the right person to host a discussion on what it means to rearchitect your career in the cloud era. Join us to learn more about how you can expand your skillset and be ready for challenging new roles, innovative projects, and upward career mobility.