Cloudy With a Chance of Foul Factors

Cloudy With A Chance Of Foul Factors (1)

Brands undertaking cloud migration without careful consideration should brace themselves for failures

Cloud migration can be labelled as the strategic move of the year. With the ongoing pandemic, worsened by a slowing economy, it’s inevitable for any organisation to adopt digital transformation. Cloud adoption is the foundation of this transformative journey, which is fast-forwarded. 

The global cloud market expects growth of over $300 billion this year, and International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that public cloud spending in the META region will cross $6 billion by 2024. With digital migration as a top trend worldwide, it is not a staggering number. Over the past year, data centres from Oracle, Amazon Web Services and IBM have established themselves across the Middle East. Google Cloud Platform also partnered with Qatar Free Zones Authority (QFZA) and launched its first cloud region. 

Be forewarned: While cloud adoption has become a standard business model transformation, it comes with its shortcomings and security threats.  

Misconfiguration Menace

Early this year, CISA indicated the importance of cybersecurity to steer clear of cloud attacks. Most attacks that some companies have already witnessed stem from poor cloud hygiene, with mixed computing devices in remote working environments. Cloud misconfigurations can spiral out of control and affect customers as well. According to Gartner, 90 per cent of companies that do not control public cloud use will end up sharing sensitive data by 2025. 

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Several companies use infrastructure as code templates to scale the building process and management of applications. These cloud-native applications and practices cause misconfigurations. While incredible speed works in favour of brands, its repercussions are dangerous. The misconfigurations could replicate themselves into the production environment, where sensitive data is usually stored and put everything at risk.

Experts believe that the main reason for cloud misconfigurations is a hygiene-related responsibility. Some brands struggle to demarcate the duties that fall on them, their internal teams, and the cloud provider. The responsibilities go undiscussed and undocumented, and when the hammer falls, everything is already in chaos. A shared responsibility model that is transparent and maintained can limit the risks. Considering IaaS or PaaS with its variables, including network, user credentials, resource configurations, workloads, identity configurations, the responsibility falls on the cloud consumer.

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Calling it a reversible trend, experts urge organisations to adopt a holistic cloud security model that addresses security hygiene and shared responsibility. Situational awareness about how teams utilise the technology and leveraging shadow IT and cloud provider APIs is imperative for C suite executives. Brands will also have to identify the most dangerous misconfigurations that can ruin their business and set a protocol to prevent their existence automatically. A fixed template and controlled practices will automate cloud protection. 

Regardless of the brand and the cloud provider’s responsibilities, cloud adoption is a technology where accountability is not black and white. No matter where discrepancies occur – the brand or the cloud provider – consumers will always somehow be responsible. Gartner reveals that by 2025, 99 per cent of cloud security failures will be the customer’s responsibility. 

Repatriation Dilemma 

Imagine migrating an application to the cloud but leaving behind a key database on-site. The repercussions will drastically slow down customer experience. It is said that when an application is migrated to the public cloud without understanding the service provider, it can cause damage to applications that are still on-site. 

An Arlington Research survey of 350 cloud decision-makers revealed that over 70 per cent of the respondents moved their applications back on-premises from the cloud. Despite brands understanding the need for cloud computing and considering cloud migration’s uphill task, the number is shocking. Most respondents cited unanticipated problems as a reason. 

Experts reiterate several possible reasons. Companies repatriate because their choice of application for cloud migration was wrong. Not all workloads work wonders on the public cloud. While technical issues might be a problem for repatriation, degrading application performance is a grave issue for brands too. Additionally, a public cloud environment is different from an on-site data centre, so brands cannot expect the same performance level. 

The choice of cloud providers is imperative and figuring out the expenses of public cloud is essential too. Brands must weigh their migration strategy with their available funds. An unbalanced decision can cost the company time, revenue, customers, and reputation.

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Experts attribute the lack of observational skills to the central problem of repatriation. Brands must figure out the workload attributes in the data centres before they begin the migration process. Insights on the workload performance would help brands decide cloud migration requirements. 

While businesses recognise the strategic value cloud adoption brings, they fail to plan their cloud journey optimally. A cloud adoption strategy requires an execution plan that is secure and cost-effective. Using the right cloud tools and utilising insights from cloud data models is also necessary to reimagine a digital business innovation.

There are tools in the market that businesses can use to make their cloud journey easier – Accenture released MyNav in 2019 to help brands identify the right cloud solution.

Hybrid Cloud Can Work Wonders

An IDC study reveals that 85 per cent of brands are pursuing or looking to pursue a hybrid cloud strategy. A combination of on-premise infrastructures, internal or outsourced clouds, and public clouds from multiple providers might sound overwhelming, but it can strengthen a brand’s digital journey across functions. Several brands consider a hybrid cloud model flexible, cost-saving and the ultimate solution to a seamless digital migration. Every brand’s ultimate vision is for a full hybrid cloud environment where they can indulge in secure and open web access.