Organizations of all sizes are undergoing cloud transformation to keep up with the speed of business today. Cloud services make it easier to efficiently deliver services, engage with customers, and manage other business operations. So, it makes sense that cloud migration is a top priority for most companies around the world.

In this blog, we examine the benefits of cloud transformation, as well as some challenges associated with it. With this information, you can develop a transformation strategy to help your organization reach its strategic goals while also preparing you for the challenges ahead.

What You Need to Know About Cloud Transformation

So, what is cloud transformation?

Simply put, cloud transformation is the process of migrating your business from local servers to the cloud. This can be a lengthy process, as cloud transformation doesn’t mean simply switching to a cloud-based solution. Cloud transformation involves:

  • Migrating apps and software programs
  • Moving company data to the cloud
  • Transforming your IT infrastructure

The amount of time it takes to reach your cloud transformation goals depends on the complexity of your operation. If you’ve already adopted some cloud technology, it could only take a few months to migrate your remaining systems to the cloud. If you aren’t using any cloud services, your migration could take much longer.

Why Your Organization Needs Cloud Transformation

Cloud transformation isn’t anything new. Back in 2012, Forrester found that 52% of enterprise decision-makers believed developing a cloud strategy was a “high or critical priority.”

According to Gartner, worldwide end-user spending on public cloud services will grow by 20.4% to total $678.8 billion in 2024, up from $563.6 billion in 2023. Cloud transformation is an essential strategy for businesses of all sizes. Companies in all sectors are accelerating their cloud transformation in order to keep up with an ever-changing business landscape.

[Related Reading: How Secure is the Cloud?]

How Cloud Transformation Benefits Your Organization

First and foremost, cloud transformation keeps your organization from becoming obsolete. Technology constantly changes the way companies do business. Therefore, the only way your organization can remain competitive is to adapt to those changes.

But cloud transformation doesn’t just protect your organization against market threats. It also provides several benefits to help your long-term business strategy and improve day-to-day operations. Some of these benefits include:

Improved scalability

Scale up and down when needed, respond to demand immediately, and start new projects without needing to spend time upgrading IT infrastructure.

Increased efficiency

Companies that adopted cloud platforms are shown to release new capabilities 20-40% faster than those that still use on-premises technology.

Challenges Associated with Cloud Transformation

Undergoing a cloud transformation can save your company money, while making it easier to keep up with the pace of technology. However, there are also some challenges associated with this transformation — especially if your organization hasn’t already been using some cloud services. Here are a few you should be aware of when launching or accelerating your cloud transformation:

Data security issues

Regardless of whether you’re using on-premises technology or cloud services, cybersecurity must be part of your business strategy.

Cloud service providers maintain the security of their platforms and are careful to follow all compliance regulations. However, customers are responsible for the security of the systems and data they host in the cloud. Understanding the shared responsibility model is critical. You need a cybersecurity strategy of your own to minimize risk and safeguard your company data.

Here are some ways you can protect your systems from cyberattacks:

  • Keep your data encrypted to prevent lateral spread
  • Only assign employees the access privileges they need to get their job done
  • Conduct routine security audits of access and configuration
  • Leverage third-party expertise designed to identify and prevent threats

If you’ll be deploying containers, you also need to have a container security strategy that keeps you protected against ransomware, container privilege escalations, and more.

Related Reading: Data Security Best Practices

Lack of expertise

Technology is constantly evolving, and cloud services allow your company to keep up with the rate of change. With that said, if your cloud transformation program doesn’t include adequate training in cloud services, your solutions won’t be as effective as you’d hoped. Even worse, you’ll overlook security risks and vulnerabilities, leaving yourself open to attacks. That’s why an effective cloud transformation strategy must include cultivating cloud capabilities throughout your organization.

Compliance challenges

An important element of cloud expertise is staying up to date on compliance regulations and ensuring regulatory guidelines are followed throughout your organization.

Data breaches can be a disaster for your company. Not only are the penalties and lawsuits expensive, but you also run the risk of destroying your brand reputation after an attack. What’s more, if your third-party cloud service providers experience a cyberattack and customer data is compromised, you could be held liable.

Guidelines like PCI DSS and compliance regulation like the GDPR, Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and the NYDFS Cybersecurity Regulation largely exist for two reasons:

  • Protect customer data
  • Help companies take measures to avoid cyberattacks

For this reason, you want to ensure your IT teams understand the importance of security compliance. They should know how compliance looks in a cloud environment, and how to follow these guidelines and regulations while using cloud services.

The overall migration process

Many organizations make the mistake of assuming their cloud transformation will be seamless. Unfortunately, this usually is not the case. More than half of companies undergoing cloud transformation admitted it was more difficult than they expected. That’s because the migration process is difficult, and several things could go wrong at any given time.

For example, you could:

  • Incur unexpected costs because you didn’t plan your transformation budget accordingly
  • Fall behind schedule because you lack the organizational expertise to implement cloud transformation
  • Experience downtime due to incompatibility between your legacy software and cloud services

This transformation process will not be a walk in the park. Even the smallest of challenges can turn into an expensive problem if left unchecked. That’s why it’s essential to fully plan your cloud migration in phases, ahead of time. That way, you can create an action plan that anticipates potential problems and comes up with solutions, making it easier for you to overcome your obstacles.

Cloud Transformation Best Practices

Now that we’ve looked at some challenges associated with cloud migration, let’s look at what you can do to minimize setbacks along the way. Following are some cloud transformation best practices to help your migration go as smoothly as possible.

Facilitate your transformation incrementally

Even though cloud transformation is a financially sensible choice in the long-term, it often comes with many short-term expenses. In fact, the cost of cloud migration is one of the most common pain points companies have.

If you’re worried about the financial side of your transformation, consider adopting cloud services in batches. This allows you to break your transformative strategy down into manageable chunks. That way, you can prioritize and implement your cloud services based on their importance, and you don’t have to spend as much money upfront.

Get leadership support

Having an executive sponsor who supports (and believes in) your cloud transformation strategy will go a long way in ensuring your success. But how do you secure strong executive support?

If you’re in charge of the planning and implementing your company’s cloud transformation strategy, you’ll likely be responsible for getting leadership buy-in. Your first goal should be to ensure those leaders understand the importance of transformation for the cloud –– explain why your organization needs to migrate to the cloud, cover the strategic benefits of cloud migration, and also be upfront about the costs and anticipated challenges.

Work toward continuous compliance

Achieving compliance isn’t a one-time project. Too many organizations make the mistake of overhauling their security measures in the wake of a cyberattack scare, only to ease off and slip back into a state of complacency months later.

Instead of adopting a reactive approach where you’re responding to threats, adopt the continuous compliance approach. Under this strategy, your organization constantly reviews your security position to ensure you’re meeting industry standards and regulatory demands.

If you’re wondering how to achieve a culture of continuous compliance, it’s easier than you think. An effective cybersecurity solution can do much of the work for you, keeping a watchful eye on your cloud and hybrid environments. That way, your teams have more time to devote to other pressing issues within your organization.

Create a culture that values continuous learning

Understand that cloud transformation isn’t a linear process with a clear start and ending. Instead, look at your transformation as an ongoing endeavor. Even after the migration finishes, your teams will still need to learn how to operate and thrive in a cloud environment.

Becoming a truly cloud-native organization requires you to promote cloud literacy throughout your organization –– from top to bottom. This also means staying up to date with changes in technology, so you can adapt and implement new technology as customer needs and preferences evolve.

Maximize Your Cloud Transformation

Cloud transformation may be one of the most critical endeavors your organization will undertake. Cloud services can unlock new growth opportunities, allowing you to scale more efficiently to match customer demand.

But every technological upgrade comes with new opportunities and new security threats. That’s where a managed detection and response (MDR) solution can help.

Fortra’s Alert Logic’s MDR offers 24/7 protection for your cloud, hybrid, and on-premises environments. Features like vulnerability scanning, security analytics, and log collection help protect your systems from threats, while also improving your security and compliance posture. Schedule a demo of Alert Logic MDR today.

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