Understanding the challenges of cloud adoption

Sean Campbell, Director Canadian Channels, Fortinet

Fortinet recently partnered with Cybersecurity Insiders to survey over 800 cybersecurity professionals representing various industries from around the world. The resulting 2022 Cloud Security Report shows how security leaders use the cloud, their challenges, and how they respond to cloud security threats.

While hybrid solutions are still dominant for most Canadian organizations, cloud solutions continue to grow in popularity. 

Shifting to the cloud offers organizations some tangible benefits like fast time-to-market, responsive customer support, and possible cost reductions. Yet, cloud security remains a top concern. Channel partners can take advantage of the insights from this recent report to help customers gain confidence as they secure their cloud environments. 

Trying times 

After two years of the pandemic, many organizations have advanced their digital transformation efforts to accommodate new work-from-anywhere models. The resulting hybrid environments can offer better access to applications and data. But during this time of change, the data center networks and cloud deployments where these assets are located were possibly deployed under intense pressure and time constraints. Meeting the demands of a shift to work-from-anywhere put IT teams to the test. Without the time to plan and coordinate, these changes are certain to leave security gaps across the expanded attack surface. Ensuring organizations reap the full benefit of cloud or hybrid networks, requires effort into security and consistent policy enforcement. 

Cloud can be complicated 

Moving to the cloud can be complicated. According to the survey, most organizations continue to pursue a hybrid public and private cloud mix (39%, up from 36% last year) or a multi-cloud strategy (33%). Over 75 per cent (76%) have two or more cloud providers. These approaches can enable organizations to integrate multiple services, achieve scalability, or establish business continuity. 

With so many variables, security is a top concern for security professionals, with 95 percent indicating moderate to extreme concern about the security of public cloud environments. As organizations explore the cloud as part of their digital transformation, survey respondents indicated the unforeseen factors that slow or stop cloud adoption include lack of visibility (49%), high cost (43%), lack of control (42%), and lack of security (22%). Honing in on these areas of concern can help channel partners move their customers to cloud without unpleasant surprises. 

Beyond the technology 

Barriers to cloud adoption aren’t just about the solution, however. The survey results reveal organizational challenges also lead to delays in moving to the cloud. Top among these internal challenges is the lack of qualified staff (40%, up from 37% last year), followed by legal and regulatory compliance (33%), and security issues around data (31%). 

Upskilling of existing staff, and access to external expertise, also impacts organizations’ ability to navigate the increased complexity and security challenges of an all-cloud or hybrid model. According to the survey,  a lack of access to professionals with the right security skills is a top challenge (61%, up from 57% last year), followed by data protection, solution interoperability, visibility, and control. Helping organizations simplify this complexity is an important differentiator for any channel partner.

Offer solutions that work 

One way channel partners can help ease customers through these barriers is by advancing an integrated cybersecurity mesh platform as an option for hybrid environments. Integrated solutions offer the visibility across cloud and on-premise that security professionals crave. It also offers a single dashboard view with tools that leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning to automatically detect threat patterns, correlate massive amounts of data, detect anomalies and initiate coordinated responses. This approach makes it easier for cybersecurity teams to monitor and manage expanded networks and attack surfaces. 

The survey indicates a strong interest in a single platform approach, with over three-quarters (78%) of respondents stating a single cloud security platform with a single dashboard to protect data consistently and comprehensively would be very to extremely helpful. 

As organizations continue their shift to the cloud, they will need to consider security first. By considering the barriers and surprises uncovered through this global survey, channel partners can offer solutions that address these needs and increase security effectiveness in a way that works for their customers. 

Sean Campbell is Director of Canadian Channels at Fortinet