Point of View

Don’t Let Security Concerns Hold Back Your Cloud Migration Journey

August 31, 2018

It would be tough to argue that the power of the cloud is yet to be proven. If the past five years alone have told us anything, it’s that there is considerable business demand for industrialized computing capability. But, despite this, it’s clear that some business executives and IT leaders still have reservations about the wisdom of migrating valuable data, services, and processes to the cloud. But as this report will establish, your journey to the cloud need not be fraught with concern. The technology is continuing to evolve to fight of traditional concerns, such as security and cost, and now, with the right partner in place you can enjoy a trouble-free migration journey.


In Exhibit 1, we can see the projected impact that shifting to cloud-enabled computing is having on the market. As more enterprises are migrating to the cloud, traditional areas of infrastructure managed-services spending are crashing. If anything, though, for a technology with such a strong track record the growth of cloud is somewhat lethargic. So, what’s holding people back?


Exhibit 1: Cloud market growth projections 



Source: HFS Research

Note: Cloud computing and as-a-service infrastructure spending are defined within HFS Research’s OneOffice framework. The chart shows traditional infrastructure management services versus the OneOffice infrastructure management services.


44% of enterprises are looking to the cloud for significant investment


The cloud is one of the most commonly cited investment priorities for enterprise leaders. In Exhibit 2, we can see the digital technologies that enterprise leaders plan to invest in over the next year. Cloud sits right at the top of the investments list, beaten only by RPA—the poster boy of the digital shopping list is at the top of its hype curve. Indeed, in recent HFS webinars, business and IT leaders have discussed the value of cloud and candidly described their ambitions. For many of these leaders, the cloud is the foundational enablement layer driving their digital strategy.


Exhibit 2: Investment and focus on critical digital technologies


How much investment or focus is your organization making in the next year to help you achieve operational cost savings goals?


Source: HfS Research in Conjunction with KPMG, “State of Operations and Outsourcing 2018; N- 381


We can see this customer demand play out repeatedly in suppliers’ revenue figures, particularly in the unstoppable growth of the hyperscale cloud providers. AWS posted high double-digit revenue growth for years and continued to see its growth escalate over the last 12 months. These trends tell the story of a global economy looking to the cloud to solve many of their digital challenges. What’s getting in the way for other businesses?


69% of enterprises see the cloud as their most threatening security risk


In some soon-to-be-published HFS research on cybersecurity, we asked enterprise and IT leaders which security risks kept them up at night. At the top of the list is cloud computing, with over 69% citing it as a core concern (see Exhibit 3). Cloud-based technologies such as cloud computing, cloud storage, and SaaS all feature highly on the list, revealing a deep level of concern in the boardroom of a majority of companies. The terminology of “public” cloud gives the impression of an inherent difference in the risk between computing on internal systems and hosting them in a “public” environment—where internal data centers are not exposed, but the cloud is. Ultimately, however, the location is less of a factor than you might expect. The method of connection and security processes on protocols on both internal and external environments are far more likely to cause an issue.


Of course, it’s somewhat natural to be concerned about handing data, processes, and workloads over to be handled by a third party—but cloud services have proved their capability to secure enterprise data, often beyond how secure it could be on-premise.


Exhibit 3: Level of risk associated with leading technologies

Please estimate the level of risk your corporate “brand” might incur if it suffered a major data breach or service interruption or delay in implementation? (strong and very strong)


Source: HFS Research, State of Security 2018; N-300


Fear and risk aversion are powerful psychological factors that explain why, despite cloud computing’s strong track-record, not everyone is keen to move to it. However, if there’s one thing that recent conversations with clients—some recorded in webinars—tell us, it’s that eventually, the benefits far outweigh any of the risks which, with the right partner in place, are often much smaller than previously anticipated.

Bottom line: With the right partners in place, the cloud is the safest place to be!

Ultimately, cloud providers would fail the second they became a legitimate security concern. It’s in the DNA of cloud computing to safely secure processes—without doing so, the whole model disappears entirely. Nevertheless, enterprise leaders who exercise some caution before jumping in are right to do so. They should focus on the waterfront of computing rather than the cloud in isolation and hype shouldn’t be allowed to get in the way of them leveraging one of the most capable digital technologies on the market. Businesses need to make sure they’re working with the right partners. Here are some quick recommendations to help reassure the worried and support your cloud migration journey.

Rest easy in the cloud with these top tips

  • Find a partner to help you navigate the cloud. Migration isn’t the only challenge to overcome, and enterprises with security concerns should find a partner to help them navigate through the cloud. The benefits will be too compelling to shy away from indefinitely. Finding a firm that gets the market, understands the risks, and, crucially, has a track record of overcoming them, should help enterprise leaders rest easy.

  • Do the groundwork now. Despite what marketers will tell you, migration isn’t just the flick of a button. It’s a long process that can include extensive application and technology stack modernization. Start the groundwork now; if you’re security conscious, you should search for vulnerabilities in your current estate that a more secure cloud environment could resolve.

  • It’s never too early to work on cultural change.  No matter what the challenge is, whether its data security fears or change resistance, it’s never too early for a business to begin working on building the culture it needs for a cloud environment. By far, one of the challenges enterprises encounter the most is building a roadmap to migrate to the cloud, but then struggling to get executive buy-in to see the plan through. Work now to ensure you have the right environment and executive buy-in to support your journey.


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