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    Cloud hires would be a boon to Massachusetts

    As companies migrate away from building expensive data networks in favor of running software “in the cloud,’’ or on the Internet, many of the jobs they create will be the kind of highly skilled positions for which the Massachusetts technology sector is known.

    Job growth will come from technology companies recruiting software engineers and other skilled positions as they develop cloud products and services to capitalize on the trend. Start-ups and a number of established companies are hiring to meet the trend; cloud-related job openings rose 13 percent in Massachusetts last year, said Joe Zeff, an analyst at Bullhorn, a recruiting software firm in Boston.

    Akamai Technologies Inc., the Cambridge-based Internet infrastructure company with 2,300 employees worldwide, is planning to meet the increased demand for cloud services by hiring more than 200 skilled technology workers over the next year, according to company spokesman Jeff Young. All the new hires “will touch this concept of the cloud,’’ he said.

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    Cambridge enterprise software company Pegasystems Inc., which has 2,000 employees around the world, plans to double the staff of its year-old cloud division to 20 in the coming months. “The cloud is being adopted by our customer base in droves,’’ said Ben Frenkel, the company’s cloud computing director.

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    At Bedford data base company EnterpriseDB , about five “cloud architects’’ were added to a staff of 100 for an online database service launched in January.

    “The things that you need to know to build a great database are not the same things you need to build a great cloud product,’’ said Karen Tegan Padir, the executive vice president of products and engineering for EnterpriseDB.

    Such hiring confirms some of the findings released Monday by Microsoft Corp. and IDC, a research firm based in Framingham. Their study said the migration to the cloud will create about 20,000 jobs in Massachusetts over the next four years.

    The trend will create a wide variety of jobs in various industries around the world, the study said, as companies adopting cloud services expand and hire workers using money no longer needed for expensive computer servers and data networks.

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    Security concerns may cause some businesses to hesitate before moving into the cloud, believing that data is easier to protect on their equipment rather than distant servers run by another company. That has created opportunity for K logix, a Brookline data security company that works with clients to protect online information.

    K logix employs what it calls “ethical hackers’’ to test client cloud networks for vulnerabilities, then recommend fixes. The company plans to double its sales force to 10 within the year, and increase its staff hackers from three to five. “I attribute a significant portion of the growth to organizations moving their information to the cloud,’’ said Kevin Pouche, the company’s chief operating officer.

    Michael B. Farrell can be reached at michael.farrell@globe.com.