A lack of cloud computing skills are creating problems for UK businesses, a Rackspace survey has shown, with respondents pointing to inadequate training at university level.

A survey of 1,300 businesses operating in the UK and US conducted by Vanson Bourne and Manchester Business School highlighted that 48% of businesses have had difficulties in moving to the cloud services, with in-house knowledge of cloud computing in short supply.

The results indicated that there is a growing demand for professionals equipped with cloud computing skills, with 32% of UK organisations currently employed staff specifically for their cloud knowledge. However, a further 37% struggle to attract cloud-savvy employees.

As a consequence, over 50% of UK businesses are attempting to train in-house staff to cope with the growing presence of cloud services.

One of the main problems cited by businesses is that there is a lack of cloud skills training in the UK. Two thirds of respondents claimed they were unaware of any training courses for staff to hone cloud skills, and 74% were concerned that higher education institutions were unable to arm students with relevant knowledge, leading to a potential skills gap.

Dr Brian Nicholson at Manchester Business School, said that companies warned that companies need to focus on equipping both technical staff and management focused employees with cloud related knowledge in order to gain benefits from a cloud strategy.

“What we found in the survey is that there are quite significant barriers to some users of cloud - the sovereignty of data, how to contract, and the unanticipated risks when data goes to the cloud,” Dr Nicholson said. “Pupils are leaving our university without knowledge of these commercial issues.”

He added: “It is a big risk for companies that are ill-educated about the types of cloud, the contracting and procurement processes. If they are not savvy on the implications of privacy and confidentiality of data this could lead to disaster. The role that training and education organisations have in helping that process is the prevention of failure.”

Dr Nicholson pointed to one company participating in the survey which had intelligently implemented a cloud programme, with charity Action for Children using a hybrid cloud approach to deal with sharp upturns in demands on its front end applications.

“Action for Children is an excellent example - they are responsible for very sensitive data, and they outsource to the cloud, though they use a hybrid solution. Some of it is held in a private cloud and then some of it is outsourced,” he said. 

Dr Nicholson added: “The decision as to what to outsource, and the issues of sovereignty, are all concerns that can potentially hold back adoption.”

Dr Nicholson added that the Manchester Business School is expecting to begin introducing cloud computing skills to a Masters degree course next year, followed by a potential standalone course.