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Should you enroll in Amazon's cloud computing certification program?

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Recognizing the importance of cloud computing on its business, Amazon Web Services (a subsidiary of Amazon.com) last year announced the launch of a new AWS Certification Program. With the accelerating use of cloud computing worldwide, Amazon is looking to provide to organizations with candidates and consultants with demonstrated knowledge of AWS best practices.

The company announced that “the new AWS Certification Program helps to fill [a] need to recognize IT professionals that possess the skills and technical knowledge necessary for building and maintaining applications and services on the AWS Cloud”.

To earn an AWS Certification, individuals must demonstrate their proficiency by passing an exam. Candidates are expected to attend courses through AWS Training to help gain proficiency with AWS services. It’s unclear what the associated costs will be to obtain the certification. The exams will be administered through testing centers in more than 100 countries and 750 testing locations.

In 2013, Amazon rolled out similar certifications such as the Systems Operations (SysOps) Administrators and Developers.

“We have many mission critical programs running on the AWS Cloud across our various business groups at Samsung, so training with AWS has been a priority for the whole company for some time,” said Seok Kyun Choi, Head of Training Division at Samsung SDS, which provides IT infrastructure services for big corporate clients.

One major concern for businesses is security and data integrity of cloud-related hardware and communications protocol. Vulnerabilities exist. Worse, some IT departments may be unaware if and when company data or proprietary communication has been compromised.

According to Cloud Tweaks, security best practices involve password strength, authentication, encryption, and data logs. However, even cloud experts may expose their employers to potentially significant losses through situations beyond their control, such as technical vulnerabilities found in third-party software.

Last year, Linode (a VPS hosting that deploys” virtual servers”) reported a security incident in which a hacker group known as HTP accessed the company’s web servers by exploiting a technical vulnerability in Adobe’s ColdFusion application server. As a result, the hackers gained access to Linode’s database.

Billions of new business hangs in the balance when it comes to security for cloud computing. Experts believe that a fourth wave of cloud computing is approaching which will be designed for specialized groups of businesses. This anticipated trend is known as "vertical cloud computing."

According to Amazon, its AWS Certification Program will feature the following benefits:

  • Helps organizations to identify engineering and/or IT staff with the skills and technical knowledge necessary for building and maintaining solutions on the AWS Cloud;
  • Tests an individual’s IT skills and technical knowledge are in alignment with AWS’s architectural best practices for building highly secure and reliable cloud applications;
  • Increases differentiation for AWS Partner Network (APN) members that have AWS Certified individuals on staff;
  • Allows technical professionals to develop, certify and advertise their expertise with cloud computing on AWS.
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