-by Mr. Anand Prabhu
Customer Success Manager
Synergetics Cloud Consulting
- Digital Transformation and its impact on IT Infrastructure
- Challenges faced by Infrastructure teams in adopting the transformation
- Planning the Cloud Journey
- Microsoft Cloud Adoption framework
- Implementing Governance in the Cloud Era
Digital Transformation and its impact on IT Infrastructure
Rapidly changing customer needs is forcing organizations to evolve and adapt. In today’s digital economy, enterprises depend on the effective use of technology to support ongoing business processes, and to drive new sources of competitive differentiation. The influx of technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, IoT and ML is rendering traditional businesses redundant. Digital transformation is the new paradigm, that helps enterprises to stay ahead of the competition. For these enterprises, success or failure ties directly to the effectiveness of their IT service delivery environments. Cloud computing is becoming the foundation for these new environments, as they provide the agility and flexibility.
Challenges faced by Infrastructure teams in adopting the transformation
Cloud computing is setting up a different paradigm for the IT operations model as well as a business growth vehicle. It is transforming the traditional IT roles and is emerging as an important solution offering enterprises a potentially cost-effective model to ease their computing needs and accomplish business objectives.
- Lack of visibility: – Business units within organizations — from sales and marketing to HR and supply chain — see the advantages of cloud computing services. And they are using them, with or without IT’s help. When business functions adopt the cloud without IT’s involvement, the organization often ends up with multiple business units contracting with multiple vendors without understanding the risks or requirements. At the same time, IT lacks the visibility to efficiently and effectively manage these disparate cloud environments, creating unnecessary complexity and cost for the organization.
- Cost Overshoot: – The ease of deploying and scaling cloud services, along with their low cost of acquisition, has resulted in increasingly decentralized IT, or what is referred to as “shadow IT.” This is helping the organizations to become more agile, but the inability to track and control provisioning of the resources incurs an unaccountable cloud spend.
- Lack of Control: – In a cloud environment, there is a principal-agent relationship: the cloud service consumer is the principal and the cloud service provider are the agent. When operational control is released from the principal and delegated to the agent (e.g., outsourced), a mechanism is required to minimize risks and costs. Contracts among business parties often restrict how data is used and who is authorized to access it. When employees move restricted data into the cloud without authorization, the business contracts may be violated, and legal action could ensue. Consider the example of a cloud service that maintains the right to share all data uploaded to the service with third parties in its terms and conditions, thereby breaching a confidentiality agreement the company has made with a business partner.
- Non-Compliance: – These days, most companies operate under some sort of regulatory control of their information, whether it’s HIPAA for private health information, FERPA for confidential student records, or one of many other government and industry regulations. Under these mandates, companies must know where their data is, who is able to access it, and how it is being protected. BYOC often violates every one of these tenets, putting the organization in a state of non-compliance, which can have serious repercussions.
- Increasing Security Risks: – Companies increasingly store sensitive data including intellectual property in the cloud. When a cloud service is breached, cyber criminals can gain access to this sensitive data. If customers even suspect that their data is not fully protected by enterprise-grade security controls, they may take their business elsewhere to a company they can trust. A growing chorus of critics are instructing consumers to avoid cloud companies who do not protect customer privacy.
Organizations are trying to define an efficient path for the new paradigms (software-defined services, private cloud, hybrid cloud, public cloud etc.), which will lead to increased business agility and IT efficiency while lowering operating expenses, cost optimization. This forms part of the long-term organizational vision and strategy of the Executives to support achievement of the strategic directions of the organizations through the IT Strategy. Moving to the cloud offers enormous benefits for businesses. Yet there are risks as well. The challenge is multidimensional, with far-reaching implications not just for the solutions that will run in the cloud, but also for the technologies that support them, the people who need to implement them, and the processes that govern them. There needs to be a reference where one can perform an assessment of his/her organization’s readiness for the cloud and understand what the needs are to fill in the gaps and develop new competencies.
Planning the Cloud Journey
Getting the most out of the investment into public cloud requires changing or adjusting many aspects of work outside of technology. Understand and address all the needed aspects of strategy, governance, operations, skills etc of cloud transformation in condensed and efficient manner. The requirement arises to satisfy
- regulatory compliance,
- create cost value,
- security demands, or
- achieve design consistency
Planning this cloud journey becomes the core focus. Doing the right things right:
- Are we doing the right things?
- Are we doing them the right way?
- How do we know?
A journey without a target destination is just wandering. It’s important to establish a rough vision of the end state before taking the first step. A Cloud Adoption Framework (CAF) provides guidance that supports each unit in your organization so that each area understands how to update skills.
Microsoft Cloud Adoption framework
[As stated by Microsoft]
The Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure is the One Microsoft voice for cloud adoption, consolidating and sharing best practices from Microsoft employees, partners, and customers. The framework gives enterprise customers guidance, and narratives that help shape technology, business, and people strategies for driving desired business outcomes during their adoption effort. This life-cycle “product” aligns guidance to various stages and iterations of the typical cloud adoption life-cycle, ensuring easy access to the right guidance at the right time.
Adopting the cloud is a journey, not a destination. Along the way, there are clear milestones and tangible business benefits. However, the final state of cloud adoption is unknown when a company begins the journey. Cloud governance creates guardrails that keep the company on a safe path throughout the journey.
Implementing Governance in the Cloud Era
Though the cloud computing is creating a new paradigm for the technologies that support the business, it is also causing shifts in how those technologies are adopted, managed, and governed. The interests of a cloud service consumer and cloud service provider might initially differ, but their need should be harmonized around the core objectives of reducing cost, supporting multi-tenancy, security, and many other factors. They must also make sure that existing applications and these new digital services are consistently managed in terms of security, reliability, and scalability. This shift of expectations and responsibilities are the challenges that an adoption of good governance practice can mitigate.
The Cloud Adoption Framework governance model identifies key areas of importance during the journey. Each area relates to different types of risks the company must address as it adopts more cloud services. Within this framework, the governance journey identifies required actions for the Cloud Governance team. Along the way, each principle of the Cloud Adoption Framework governance model is described further. Broadly, these include:
- Corporate policies: Corporate policies drive cloud governance. The governance journey focuses on specific aspects of corporate policy:
- Business risks: Identifying and understanding corporate risks.
- Policy and compliance: Converting risks into policy statements that support any compliance requirements.
- Processes: Ensuring adherence to the stated policies.
As governance requirements will evolve throughout the cloud adoption journey, a different approach to governance is required. Companies can no longer wait for a small team to build guardrails and roadmaps on every highway before taking the first step. Business results are expected more quickly and smoothly. IT governance must also move quickly and keep pace with business demands to stay relevant during cloud adoption and avoid “shadow IT.”
Await more Insights on Cloud Governance with Azure.