Cloud Preparedness for Enterprises: Planning Eliminates Risk

For enterprises with massive data sets, cloud preparedness could be the deciding factor in a company’s long-term viability.

Who wouldn’t want to simplify and centralize data management? From the headlines to the broad IT hype, cloud migration and preparing for the so-called digital transformation have taken center stage in many board rooms and dev centers alike.

While this could be seen as a boon for cyber vendors and a critical opportunity for security professionals to improve internal security protocols, it’s not without risk.

For enterprise customers, with massive data sets, nearly endless endpoints, and an international presence that demands even more careful IT protections, the battle for cloud preparedness could be the deciding factor in a company’s long-term viability.

Why has the cloud gained so much momentum?

We’ve all heard the benefits.

  • Cloud migration will save your IT dept time and money.
  • Shifting resources to the cloud claims to improve transparency
  • Vital data will be more secure and less at risk of cyber threats

It’s not just about making vast amounts of data accessible, cloud migration on a large scale can streamline risk assessments and improve the implantation of new technologies. Unfortunately, with great power comes great responsibility, and that often means managing the potential risks and onboarding issues.

For enterprises, the pressure to migrate nearly every business element to the cloud can seem tedious at best, costly at worst, and highly complicated any way you cut it. Part of the confusion is due to the sheer scope of processes involved in cloud migration.

According to Accenture: “Cloud migration is the process of moving a company’s digital assets, services, databases, IT resources, and applications either partially, or wholly, into the cloud.” The critical point to notice here for enterprise customers is just how large an operation each of these tasks would be across their broader operations.

Now, mix in the interplay and integration, onboarding, and attempted upgrades of IT resources and digital assets, and the reality starts to set in. Whereas a startup or early-stage company may be able to fluidly migrate each of these factors, for enterprises, this entire operation is both banal and highly costly at each step along the way.

See also: Moving Your Data to the Cloud? Read This First

How are cloud risks amplified for enterprises?

From establishing a clearly defined migration strategy to managing new risks and integrating systems entering EOL with cutting-edge cloud-based processes, migration does not come without significant work at all levels.

In practice, for enterprises with numerous business entities, complex IT problems, and a demand for transparency. The migration process may appear to present a double-edged sword.

Centralization and enhanced visibility often go hand and hand with the demand for massively enhanced security and minimized costs and time associated with them. For enterprises with massive data sets, potentially disconnected IT bases and a highly complex mix of cyber risk management approaches across their various departments, the process can be grueling. Some of the challenges may include:

Blending new methodologies with new technologies and making them accessible to your organization is no small task but, if done correctly, can benefit your organization and its data security exponentially.

See also: Migrating Your Databases to the Cloud? Consider Your Options

Pros and cons

Just like the adage goes, little kids, little problems, big kids, big problems, for enterprises every threat and systematic risk are amplified to the nth degree, and that proves even more true in regards to cloud migration.

If implemented in a systematic and strategic manner, the migration process for enterprise customers can reduce the risk surface and keep data more secure. Seen as a ‘catalyst for innovation and digital transformation, thanks to its ability to increase development speed and provide near-limitless scale,’ a coherent migration can dramatically change the outlook of an organization.

On the inverse, if migration is managed ineffectively, customers’ IP can be exposed, and brand awareness, company valuations, and reputations can be damaged beyond repair.

Linked primarily to the complexity of the process, a recent report from the Cloud Security Alliance found that 90% of CIOs have experienced failed or disrupted data migration projects, with nearly 75% missing their deadline for migration.

McKinsey puts these failures into a more clear economic framework. “Approximately $100 billion of wasted migration spend is expected over the next three years, and most enterprises cite the costs around migration as a major inhibitor to adopting the cloud.”

So how can we exemplify the strategic value of enterprise cloud migration without falling into common mistakes and missed opportunities for enhanced data security?

Practical solutions to complex problems

“The cloud has significant business advantages, including hardware cost savings, reduced manual effort, no software maintenance, a single source of truth, and increased scalability and performance of applications.” It seems like a cure-all, but like all things in life, quick fixes rarely bring sustained results.

Only through conscious planning, interdepartmental communication, and a long-term strategic vision can an enterprise realistically expect to enter into the promised lands of cloud migration and broader digital transformation.

For effective migration to the cloud, enterprises must:

  • Create and adjust a strategy (or strategies) to guide the migration. While off the cuff might be good for a wedding speech or imparting some wisdom at the bowling alley, it has no place in cloud migration.
  • Create broad consensus among stakeholders. Ideas and visions only prove their worth when they have broad support behind them. For cloud migration, the best approach is to actively seek advice from stakeholders and put their suggestions into action.
  • Evaluate all applications, systems, and software. By understanding which products have been legacy’ed, which are most vulnerable and what should remain on-prem, your organization has a better chance of migration success.

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