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Companies of all sizes are undergoing cloud transformation to keep up with the speed of modern business. 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 post, we’re going to look at the benefits of cloud transformation, as well as some of the challenges associated with it. That way, you can come up with a transformation strategy that helps your company 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 anyway?

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 see your cloud transformation goals turn into reality depends on the complexity of your operation. If you’ve already adopted some cloud technology, it could only take a few months to migrate most your systems to the cloud. If you aren’t using any cloud services at all, your migration could take much longer.

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Why Your Organization Needs Cloud Transformation

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

According to Gartner, cloud services are expected to grow 18.4% in 2021. While cloud transformation has been an essential strategy for businesses of all sizes, making the jump to the cloud is now more important than ever. The COVID-19 pandemic showed us that companies in all sectors must accelerate their cloud transformation in order to keep up with an ever-changing business landscape.

How cloud transformation benefits your organization

First and foremost, cloud transformation keeps your organization from becoming obsolete. Technology is constantly changing the way companies do business, and the only way your organization will 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 that will help your long-term business strategy and improve your day-to-day operations. Some of those 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.

Cost-effectiveness

According to a study by IDG Research Services, cloud transformation can reduce IT costs by 25%, as costs are aligned to usage, are more resilient, and are reduced by fewer staffing requirements. And for many organizations, the ROI is 111% with a payback period of just over a year.

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

As you can see, there are several benefits associated with cloud adoption. Undergoing a cloud transformation can save your company money, while making it easier for your organization 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 your 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 should be a critical 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. 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 the job done
  • Conduct routine security audits of access and configuration
  • Leverage 3rd 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 being 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 the PCI DSS and compliance regulation like the GDPR, Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and the NYDFS Cybersecurity Regulation largely exist for two reasons:

  1. To protect customer data
  2. Help companies take measures to avoid cyberattacks

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

The overall migration process

Many companies make the mistake of assuming their cloud transformation will be seamless. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. More than half of the 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

Cloud transformation isn’t 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 of the challenges associated with cloud migration, let’s look at what you can do to minimize setbacks along the way. Below are some cloud transformation best practices to help your migration go as smoothly as possible.

Consider hiring a cloud consultant

If you don’t already have experts to help you plan and implement your cloud transformation strategy, you have three options to choose from:

  1. Hire an employee with experience in this field
  2. Train your existing employees to be cloud transformation experts
  3. Work with a cloud consultant

Unfortunately, hiring an employee with cloud expertise isn’t as easy as it sounds. You’ll be competing with a number of other companies looking for the same type of skills, so don’t expect to find a new employee right away.

Training your own cloud experts is more cost-effective than onboarding a new employee, but that takes time. And if you’re rapidly adopting cloud services to stay up to date with your competition, time is something you don’t have a lot of.

That’s where cloud consultants can help. They have the experience and expertise to help your business smoothly execute its cloud transformation. A consultant can work with you to create a strategy that’s cost-effective and helps your organization reach its strategic goals, while also addressing any cloud security and compliance challenges you may face.

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 transformation 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.

Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day –– and neither is an effective cloud transformation strategy.

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 cloud transformation –– 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 towards continuous compliance

Achieving compliance isn’t a one-time ordeal.

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 is constantly reviewing 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 all the work for you, keeping a watchful eye on your cloud and hybrid cloud 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 is finished, 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.

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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 an effective Managed Cloud Security Solution can help.

Alert Logic’s Managed Detection and Response (MDR) offers around-the-clock 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.

Request a demo today and see why many top companies trust Alert Logic with all their cloud security needs.

Dan Pitman
About the Author
Dan Pitman

Dan Pitman is a Senior Solutions Architect at Alert Logic and works with customers to develop and design security solutions to fit their needs on-premises, hybrid, and in the cloud. With over 20 years’ experience in technology spanning consumer support, development, infrastructure operations and security, Dan is passionate about technology and leads the way as a Solutions Architect in helping Alert Logic’s customers secure their systems.

Born and raised in South Wales, Dan enjoys returning to Alert Logic’s Cardiff Headquarters on a regular basis, working with the teams there continuously improving the customer experience.

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