By Michael Elliott, 2nd Watch
Post 2020, how are you approaching the cloud? The rapid and unexpected digital transformation of 2020 forced enterprises worldwide to quickly mobilize workers using cloud resources. Now, as the world returns to an altered normal, it’s time for organizations to revisit their cloud infrastructure components with a fresh perspective. Hybrid work environments, industry transformations, changing consumer behavior, and growing cyber threats have all affected the way we do business. Now it might be time to change your cloud.
Risk Mitigation At Scale
Avoiding potential missteps in your strategy requires both wide and narrow insights. With the right cloud computing infrastructure, network equipment, and operating systems, organizations can achieve better risk mitigation and management with cloud scalability. As you continue to pursue business outcomes, you have to solve existing problems, as well as plan for the future. Some of these problems include:
- Scaling your cloud platform and infrastructure services quickly to keep up with increasing and/or unexpected demand.
- Maximizing cloud computing services and computing power to accommodate storage, speed, and resource demands.
- Prioritizing new and necessary investments and delivery models within a fixed budget.
- Innovating faster to remain, or gain, competitive advantage.
Overall, to avoid risk, you need to gain efficiency, and that’s what the cloud can do. Cloud infrastructure, applications, and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions are designed to decrease input and increase output and effectiveness. The scalability of cloud services allows enterprises to continue growing and innovating, without requiring heavy investments. With continuous cloud optimization, you’re positioned to adapt, innovate, and succeed regardless of the unknown future.
Application Modernization For Data Leverage
Much of the digital transformation started with infrastructure modernization and the development of IaaS as a baseline. Now, application modernization is accelerating alongside a changing migration pattern. What used to be simply ‘lift and shift’ is now ‘lift and evolve.’ Enterprises want to collaborate with cloud experts to gain a deeper understanding of applications as they become more cloud native. With a constant pipeline of new applications and services, organizations need guidance to avoid cloud cost sprawl and streamline environment integration.
As application modernization continues, organizations are gaining access to massive amounts of data that are enabling brand new opportunities. This requires a new look at database architectures to make sure you’re unlocking value internally and potentially, externally. While application modernization and database architecture are interconnected, they also can transform separately. We’re starting to see people recognize the importance of strategic cloud transformations that include the entire data footprint – whether it’s the underlying architecture or the top-level analytics.
Organizations are getting out of long-term licensing agreements, monetizing their data, gaining flexibility, cutting costs, and driving innovation, customer value, and revenue. Data is pulled from, and fed into, a lot of different applications within constantly changing cloud environments, which brings both challenges and opportunities. Enterprises must transform from this to that, but the end goal is constantly changing as well. Therefore continuous motion is necessary within the digital transformation.
Changing Core Business Strategies
One thing is for sure about the digital transformation – it’s not slowing down. Most experts agree that even after pandemic safety precautions are eliminated, the digital transformation will continue to accelerate. After seeing the speed of adoption and opportunities in the cloud, many enterprises are reevaluating the future with new eyes. Budgets for IT are expanding, but so are the IT skills gap and cybersecurity incidents. These transitions present questions in a new light, and enterprises should revisit their answers.
- Why do you still have your own physical data center?
- What is the value of outsourcing? And insourcing?
- How has your risk profile changed?
- How does data allow you to focus on your core business strategy?
Answering these questions has more enterprises looking to partner with, and learn from, cloud experts – as opposed to just receiving services. Organizations want and need to work alongside cloud partners to close the skills gap within their enterprise, gain skills for internal expansion in the future, and better understand how virtualized resources can improve their business. It’s also a way to invest in your employees to reduce turnover and encourage long-term loyalty.
Security And Compliance
At this point with security, compliance, and ensuring business continuity, enterprises must have solutions in place. There is no other way. Ransomware and phishing attacks have been rising in sophistication and frequency year over year, with a noticeable spike since remote work became mainstream. Not only does your internal team need constant training and regular enforcement of governance policies, but there’s a larger emphasis on how your network protections are set up.
Regardless of automation and controls, people will make mistakes and there is an inherent risk in any human activity. In fact, human error is the leading cause of data loss with approximately 88% of all data breaches caused by an employee mistake. Unfortunately, the possibility of a breach is often made possible because of your internal team. Typically, it’s how the cloud is configured or architected that creates a loophole for bad actors. It’s not that the public cloud isn’t secure or compliant, it’s that it’s not set up properly. This is where many enterprises are outsourcing data protection to avoid damaging compliance penalties, guarantee uninterrupted business continuity, and maintain the security of sensitive data after malicious or accidental deletion, natural disaster, or if a device is lost, stolen, or damaged.
Next Steps: Think About Day Two
Enterprises who think of cloud migration as a one-and-done project – we were there, and now we’re here – aren’t ready to make the move. The cloud is not the answer. The cloud is an enabler to help organizations get the answers necessary to move in the direction they desire. There are risks associated with moving to the cloud – tools can distract from goals, system platforms need support, load balancers have to be implemented, and the cloud has to be leveraged and optimized to be beneficial long-term. Without strategizing past the migration, you won’t get the anticipated results.
About The Author
Michael Elliott is the executive director of marketing at 2nd Watch.