Gartner outlines seven steps to creating a strong enterprise cloud strategy

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What does your cloud strategy need to look like to ensure seamless adoption and opportunities going forward? According to Gartner, planning and preparation are a given, as well as ensuring overall business strategy is aligned.

The analyst firm outlined seven key elements for an enterprise cloud strategy at its virtual Gartner IT Infrastructure Operations & Cloud Strategies Conference earlier this week.

According to a study from Centrify earlier this month, almost three quarters (73%) of enterprises surveyed – defined as those with more than 500 employees – accelerated their cloud migration plans to support the shift to remote working as the Covid-19 pandemic hit.

This needs to be backed up with adequate security. Centrify also found that the overwhelming majority of enterprises (83%) have ‘transformed’ their cybersecurity approach over the past six months.

With this in mind, Gartner outlined five specific types of cloud risk to assess. These are agility risk, availability risk, security risk, supplier risk, and compliance risk. Formulating specific cloud exit strategies before committing to a provider ‘is a key step in reaching balanced cloud deployment decisions’, as Raj Bala, Gartner senior research director, put it.

A cloud strategy should not be a one-size-fits-all, and this is where alignment to the overall business vision is key. “It is crucial for enterprise architects and I&O (infrastructure and operations) leaders to ensure their cloud strategy aligns with and actively supports their organisation’s business strategy regardless of whether their organisation provides consumer services, business services, or other products,” added Bala.

Keeping with the security theme, understanding of shared responsibility should not be underestimated. Leaving a bucket or instance switched on, or in the wrong place, could lead to serious ramifications. Gartner noted the importance of upskilling for emerging cloud technologies – an area where the hyperscalers do help.

Understanding the difference between rehosting, refactoring and rebuilding is also required – and this leads into a differentiated approach and what works best for any given enterprise. Gartner has observed three distinct areas of cloud adoption: SaaS, for rapid access to modern standard functionality; cloud infrastructure platforms (CIPS) but building unique functions, and migrating current and legacy applications.

Enterprise leaders ‘should take a holistic view that addresses the tradeoffs they must make betwen operational control and management’, the analyst firm added.

“A cloud strategy is critical for every organisation and should be a concise point of view on cloud and its role in the organisation,” added Bala. “Moving to cloud without a cloud strategy results in ad hoc adoption patterns, resulting in higher costs, disjointed management, security vulnerabilities and overall dissatisfaction with cloud outcomes.”

The full list of seven steps are:

  • Ensure cloud strategy follows business strategy
  • Assess five types of cloud risk to address security, compliance and other cloud concerns
  • Question cost reduction as a main driver for cloud adoption
  • Plan potential routes to the cloud
  • Understand the shared responsibility model
  • Differentiate the approach for the three typical areas of enterprise cloud adoption
  • Embrace the changing role of the IT department

Photo by Alejandro Barba on Unsplash

Interested in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their experiences and use-cases? Attend the Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam to learn more.

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