News & Analysis

Are Enterprises Unprepared for the Hybrid Cloud?

A recent survey by IBM conducted across multiple verticals in 12 geographies seems to suggest skill gaps and security concerns as crucial reasons

Data breach is the worst nightmare of a company and it is often the CISO who bears the brunt of the challenge. Given that the cost of data breaches have been growing with each passing year, it puts a further squeeze on the operations budget of an enterprise. A recent report said data breach costs grew 13% between now and 2020, though more than the financial impact, it is the ebbing of trust in the brand that brings untold miseries. 

The latest report around the IBM Transformation Index: State of the Cloud (download it here) raises some more questions. It says that more than three-quarters of the 3,000 enterprise and tech leaders surveyed were in agreement that businesses require a holistic strategy to manage their hybrid cloud environments. Which means, only a quarter of them actually had one going. 


Where’s the disconnect and how’s it growing?

A large percentage of the respondents believe that a mismatch between the right talent and cloud management skills is a big barrier to secured cloud implementation. In fact, as many as 69% of those surveyed made this point. And why is this such a big problem, in spite of the fact that hybrid cloud as a concept has found many takers? 

Close to a third of those surveyed (32%) claimed that poor security is the top impediment to advancing and reaping the benefits of the hybrid cloud, with more than 50% claiming that the public cloud was not secure enough for much of their organization’s data requirements. Mind you, the respondents were mostly CEOs, CTOs, CIOs and CISOs from 12 countries. 

The timing of this realization couldn’t have been more ill-timed as hybrid clouds are mission critical for the success of digital transformation efforts, especially if businesses aim to realize the full potential of such activities. The survey, which was conducted by Harris Poll, said 77% managed a hybrid cloud on premises with resources in private and public clouds.

The need of the hour is to control hybrid cloud assets across locations as the key value that the enterprises get is the quick access to innovative technologies, data sources and applications that help navigate business disruptions, which no individual cloud is capable of addressing. In fact, CISOs were more optimistic over cloud security than the rest of the respondents.  


Why are the others not completely convinced? 

Most business leaders continue to have doubts around cloud security, and not without reasons. About 60% of the respondents said they use several cloud security features including multi-factor authentication, VPNs etc. but still perceive security as a top concern when migrating their data to the cloud. 

While security is a concern, they are also seeking to solve challenges around compliance and regulatory requirements, where it is a prerequisite. Over half the respondents felt public cloud makes compliance tougher. This could be more so in industries such as telecom, healthcare and financial services. 


The skills mismatch to the fore

And this is where the talent and skill mismatch comes to the fore. The resources are not equipped to design and run a hybrid cloud environment as the talent pool is usually spread too thin managing different cloud instances. This is where companies should leverage the center of excellence approach to incubate and nurture talent which can then support multiple requests from across the length and breadth of an organization. 

In fact, the partner centric approach is one that businesses swear by. Close to 65% of the respondents were in favor of integrating ecosystem partners with their clouds, with any failure opening them up to third and fourth-party risks. In fact, most respondents agreed that just being on the cloud doesn’t provide business value. It’s about connecting the environments, the people and the process with the business purpose.

The survey, conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of IBM, was spread across  Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Singapore, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. It got responses from 3014 IT and business professionals across automotive, chemicals, consumer electronics, energy, financial services, government, healthcare, life sciences, manufacturing, media and entertainment, telecom and travel industries. 

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