Cloud is moving up the board agenda with a commitment to go faster, but there are many factors that are preventing businesses from unlocking the true value of the cloud.
According to Accenture’s latest report, Irish organizations are making strong progress migrating to the cloud. One in five are in the cloud and 88% are in the process of migrating to the cloud. But according to our recent cloud survey, 81% of organizations wish they were further ahead on their cloud journey and 76% are rethinking their cloud strategy.
There is no ‘best’ way or right route to the cloud and the path won’t be linear, but most organizations will move through three steps.
Step 1 - Accelerating business value from the cloud
The world of work has changed. Working in the cloud and conducting meetings by video has become the norm. Demand has also changed and continues to fluctuate. This unpredictable nature of business and the world in which we operate means CIOs must be prepared for anything that may disrupt business as usual.
Leading CIOs are driving change with a focus on continuity planning, working together with the business and getting more value from the cloud. But how can you scale instantly and achieve faster time to value while minimizing security risks and laying the foundations for innovation?
Align business and IT objectives
It’s important that IT and business stakeholders are on the same page. Make sure you involve stakeholders right from the outset at the strategic planning stage and build a business case that sets out the benefits of moving to the cloud. Share this vision with the business and communicate constantly, making sure IT teams understand the higher-level business perspectives and goals. It’s also important to re-evaluate IT goals against the business’s vision and use data to inform business decision-making.
Optimize your cloud strategy
The global crisis has forced organizations to accelerate, not only their move to the cloud, but also their cloud maturity. If you’re not truly getting value out of the cloud - or your journey has been slow - it’s time to rethink your strategy, accelerate the migration of your applications and data and plot a path that gets you further, faster. It’s important to understand that ‘lift and shift’ is just the beginning. Simply moving your workloads to the cloud is a means to an end, but it will not automatically make you more agile – or even get you moving. It’s also important to choose the right cloud model - navigate hybrid and multi-cloud strategies to get cloud the way you want it and optimize as you go.
Step 2 - Building a secure enterprise when embracing the cloud
To support new ways of working, many organizations have had to respond with the rapid deployment of technology. Understandably, many security controls and processes that needed to be put in place may have been overlooked. Now is the ideal time to rethink your enterprise security strategy.
Putting the right security controls in place doesn’t have to slow you down. In fact, it will save you hassle down the line. But how do you use the power of the cloud to translate data into meaningful security information to reduce security risks as you modernise your business?
Adopt a zero-trust mindset and vision
Verify everything before granting access to systems. Every individual, admin account, application, bot and process must be validated and managed through a governance process.
Undertake a comprehensive risk assessment
Start by identifying the assets of most value and understanding what you want to protect. From here you’ll be able to pinpoint the key risks to those assets and come up with a tactical plan to address them.
Prioritize security projects, budgets and resources
Now is a good time to review or develop a formal security governance framework to ensure that your new operating model is consistent with your new risk posture. A risk-based approach will help you focus your budget and resources.
Simplify and enhance your security landscape
Look to leverage any built-in security capabilities that are integrated into your cloud provider’s platform, such as those included in Microsoft 365, which will help to reduce unnecessary costs.
Renew to realize your security vision over the long term
Build security into the IT solutions and applications and make sure that you have a good understanding of the level of responsibility the provider (and you) will bear, to make it secure by design. Security should be a business enabler, so try to balance security and controls to avoid adding barriers and adversely affecting employee productivity.
Step 3 - Innovating with applications
If your organization is dependent on legacy applications, don’t panic. You don’t need to move all your software to the cloud immediately. Go cloud-native for new development and ‘decouple’ your legacy. Breathe life into your legacy applications by leveraging Platform-as-a-Service. It also helps to adopt DevOps and Agile approaches. Modern software engineering practices are an enabler of business value – letting you reliably test and deploy apps in seconds or minutes, rather than weeks or months.
With a clear path to maximizing business value from the cloud, you can rapidly increase agility and scalability, secure your enterprise and unlock high-value insights to make the right business decisions. But as we know, moving to the cloud is easy in theory – driving business value from it is the difficult part.