To coincide with the launch of our new eBook 2021: Trends and Insights for IT Pros , we reached out to our subject matter experts with a few questions on the trending topics for 2021. Norm Kennedy is an award-winning Technical Instructor with over 20 years of experience. He specializes in Microsoft and Google Cloud architecture. Cloud computing has been a standard feature for most IT departments for over a decade. What challenges do you still see customers struggling with? Norm: For most businesses, the challenge of the cloud comes down to training. Many IT departments are asked to "go to the cloud" from people above that are not sure what that means. For long- entrenched IT staff who have been doing things on-premises, the notion of cloud feels like a loss of control and security. In truth, in some instances, it gives them more control and security. Getting IT staff trained on how to leverage cloud resources will help reduce stress and increase productivity. In our eBook, 2021: Trends and Insight for IT Pros , we discover that 72% of enterprises describe their cloud strategy as hybrid-first. What are the advantages that make the hybrid cloud model the clear favorite? Hybrid approaches to cloud enable companies to maintain complete control over data and services are not ready to turn over to a service provider. At the same time, the cloud offers massive vertical and horizontal scalability. Companies want to take advantage of moving those non-mission-critical services and resources to the cloud while keeping control over data they wish to stay on-prem. A classic example is leveraging the cloud for a fully scalable front-end stateless web app that accesses data housed entirely in an on-premises database service. 2020 fast-tracked the digital transformation plans for many organizations. Now that many have adopted the cloud somehow, how do you recommend they continue to evolve with it? Often companies approach the cloud with a lift and shift mentality. Simply put, taking virtual machines running on-premises and moving them to the cloud as hosted VMs. While this is a significant first step, the IT staff still has to manage the entire stack from the Operating System up. Once comfortable with this type of Infrastructure as Service (IaaS) migration, companies should then begin to look at ways to offload some administrative overhead by leveraging both Platform and Software as a Service offering (PaaS & SaaS). For example, instead of deploying VMs and installing a hosting platform such as IIS and then deploying the code to the web app in an IaaS model (thus managing the OS/IIS application/Code and all patching.) Instead, they could deploy a PaaS web app allowing the provider to manage the OS and application tier while simply focusing on code. I know you have primarily been focused on Microsoft technology for most of your career. What are some next steps that you can recommend to our readers who are either new to Cloud or more advanced? United Training offers cloud solutions from all of the big players in the cloud space. You can find all of Azure solutions on our Azure product page . If you need training in AWS we offer Fundamentals of AWS , and AWS Solutions Architect among others. We also have several options for Citrix cloud training such as CWS-215 Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops 7 Administration On-Premises and in Citrix Cloud , CXD-250 Moving to the Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Service on Citrix Cloud , and CXD-252 Moving to the Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops Service on Citrix Cloud with Microsoft Azure. We thank Norm for his valuable input.