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What Does a Cloud Architect Do?

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  • Written By: C. Mitchell
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 13 November 2016
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A cloud architect is a computer science professional who helps a company or organization strategize efficient, secure, and profitable uses of cloud computing platforms. These architects are not usually responsible for actually constructing the cloud computing environment. Their job is to work within an existing cloud in order to help maximize it in terms of certain stated business goals. Most of the time, the position is relatively senior. Cloud architects often manage staff and direct information technology goals to achieve certain results.

In traditional architecture, the architects are the people who draft out the initial plans and blueprints that builders will later use to create a structure. Cloud architecture works in something of an opposite way. Information technology specialists create cloud networks, then architects come in and help companies use those networks efficiently.

A cloud architect’s main job is to help companies manage their cloud networking spaces. When used properly, cloud networks are generally very secure. Companies must take care that their interest in efficiency does not compromise the need for security, however. Sensitive documents stored in clouds that are easily penetrated can have serious consequences in terms of data breach and information loss.

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Cloud computing networks can be difficult to define in part because of their rather malleable nature. In simple terms, a cloud network is a means of remotely accessing a massive amount of information. Data that is stored “in the cloud” exists on a network, often web-based, that can be accessed by anyone with the appropriate access credentials. Clouds are usually anchored to a specific server, but the information is located on the Internet. The Internet is a much bigger space with essentially limitless capacity, which makes it an attractive place for storing and sharing major files and information systems.

A cloud architect manages the structural and functional integrity of a given cloud network. This includes everything from performing penetration tests to running regular network diagnostics. Keeping abreast of all current threats is also part of the cloud architect job.

Many cloud architect duties are also innovative. The architect must help a company’s information technology leaders and systems architects to use the cloud to achieve business-specific goals. Corporate expansions, new access points, and improved efficiency are common visions that need expert cloud architecture in order to come to life. The architect is essentially a liaison between the company’s executives and its network support personnel.

As such, extensive experience in network administration is one of the core cloud architect requirements, alongside expertise in cloud computing. Many cloud architects start out as regular information technology or network management officers. More than just experience is needed to advance, however. Architects must usually hold certifications in cloud computing or have attended special cloud-related training programs to enable them to apply their network management skills to the unique and ever-growing world of Internet-based network management.

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