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A survey of 2,834 subscribers to the Programming and Infrastructure & Ops newsletters published by O’Reilly Media finds that nearly half of respondents plan to migrate 50 percent or more of their workloads to the cloud in the coming year.

While 90 percent of respondents are using cloud platforms, the results suggest the pace at which organizations are migrating to them has clearly accelerated since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, nearly a third of respondents noted that managing cloud costs is also becoming a higher priority, followed by 19 percent who said they are focused on modernizing applications using containers.

Most respondents are employing multiple clouds, with Amazon Web Services (62 percent), Microsoft Azure (48 percent), and Google Cloud (33 percent) being the most widely used. Two-thirds of respondents (67 percent) reported using a public cloud, while 45 percent are using a private cloud.

Just over half of respondents (55 percent) are also still running workloads on traditional on-premises infrastructure, but nearly half of respondents are now pursuing a cloud-first strategy. Just under a third (30 percent) of organizations were already using cloud-native platforms, with 37 percent projecting that they plan to be cloud-native within three or more years.

As more workloads are deployed, the need for additional expertise appears to be shifting. Cloud-based security skills (59 percent) narrowly edged out general cloud knowledge (54 percent) as the most needed expertise. Others sought after include monitoring (50 percent), containers (45 percent), microservices (45 percent), Kubernetes (44 percent), performance tuning (44 percent), scaling (41 percent), observability (40 percent), and compliance (38 percent).

MSPs monitoring the rate at which application workloads are moving to the cloud

Many MSPs have practices built around the monitoring of applications deployed on servers in on-premises IT environments. The issue at hand is to what degree MSPs should be shifting their internal resources to the cloud as more new applications are deployed there, rather than on a server in a local data center.

Most organizations are increasingly comfortable deploying applications, but they are running into major security issues. Cloud computing platforms are rife with misconfigurations, largely because they are provisioned by developers with little cybersecurity experience, using infrastructure-as-code tools. As a result, it’s up to cybersecurity teams to first discover these vulnerabilities, then define the workflow processes required to remediate them.

As the rate at which application workloads are being deployed continues to increase exponentially, cybercriminals are scanning more aggressively for vulnerabilities. Organizations are also embracing best DevSecOps practices to plug those holes as part of an effort to secure both legacy monolithic and emerging cloud-native applications.

Because the range of technologies and best practices required to achieve and maintain application security vary widely, each organization will need to determine for themselves how far they want to shift responsibility for application security toward application developers. However, few will be able to achieve that goal without relying more on the expertise of MSPs.

The reality is that IT environments are becoming more complex. That’s generally a good thing for MSPs because it creates demand for services. The challenge for them will be acquiring and retaining all the expertise required to meet that demand.

Photo: Quality Stock Arts / Shutterstock

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Mike Vizard

Posted by Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard has covered IT for more than 25 years, and has edited or contributed to a number of tech publications including InfoWorld, eWeek, CRN, Baseline, ComputerWorld, TMCNet, and Digital Review. He currently blogs for IT Business Edge and contributes to CIOinsight, The Channel Insider, Programmableweb and Slashdot. Mike blogs about emerging cloud technology for Smarter MSP.

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