The cloud is the future. This sentiment is widely respected and perpetuated by endpoint and network security organizations globally. In fact, the majority of Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) solutions today do not support on-premise deployments or applications. They are cloud-exclusive operations.
Therefore, it’s easy to see why companies commonly fall into the mistaken belief that because they haven’t made the complete transition to cloud, they are being left behind. They may even doubt that they can effectively protect their workforce.
A 2021 NetMotion study revealed that only 10% of organizations have migrated fully to the cloud, with just over half having most of their apps and services available via SaaS.
Despite getting so much attention, cloud adoption isn’t actually as extensive as the hype would have us believe. So for organizations that aren’t 100% cloud, yet, a hybrid cloud strategy is not only far more realistic but also the most popular and achievable strategy. It is an essential part of supporting ‘work-from-anywhere’ policies.
The benefits of the cloud
Needless to say, the drumbeat of change is certainly marching towards the cloudification of almost everything, so it makes sense to start thinking about what applications, services or data should make that move – and it’s especially relevant in a world where people literally can and do work from anywhere. The results can be eye-opening, too, with most organizations enjoying simplified access for users, reduced maintenance, increased uptime, and a larger global presence (in terms of server locations worldwide).
More applications and resources than ever before are now being accessed in the cloud, whether it be on the public web or hosted in hybrid cloud/IaaS environments like AWS or Microsoft Azure.
Many organizations may have already dipped their toes in the water by starting an implementation of SaaS applications like Salesforce stretching back even twenty years ago, yet very few businesses can claim to operate entirely in the cloud today. Different teams, departments, use-cases and apps are slowly migrated or added to the broader productivity suite, from vast enterprise Office365 rollouts to more nimble self-provisioned marketing tools.
What’s the hold up?
If the above holds true, it seems surprising to see that adoption rates aren’t nearly 100%. Why are a solid chunk of organizations still holding off on moving to cloud?
Adoption is not a speedy process. This is especially true for companies that have been in operation for a considerable amount of time. They tend to have established, and even custom-built applications that are hosted on premise. It’s not a simple task to simply move these resources to the cloud. They may be relied upon daily by workers or process secure data that can’t be moved without considerable risk of disruption.
Public safety organizations are a prime example of a sector where cloud adoption is extremely low. A recent NetMotion study into SASE adoption found that only 7% had fully embraced cloud. Government and healthcare sectors showed similar results at 3% and 11% of organizations, respectively.
Most often, this lack of adoption isn’t due to a lack of effort, but rather a misconception about security. Organizations within these industries are required to store large amounts of highly sensitive data (such as medical and police records). Many IT professionals believe that storing this data on servers they can control is far safer than moving it to the cloud.
As with most other things, a mixed or ‘hybrid’ approach, is one of the best ways forward. It’s highly unlikely that organizations will move to 100% cloud adoption in the next decade. Gartner recommends that those with a hybrid environment choose solutions that will be able to support their needs:
For cloud-only environments, it’s ideal to deploy a cloud-delivered VPN, such as a ZTNA product. Those with both on-premises and cloud applications require a combination of VPN and ZTNA.Gartner, “Solving the Challenges of Modern Remote Access,” 25 March 2020, Rob Smith, Steve Riley, Nathan Hill and Jeremy D’Hoinne.
NetMotion by Absolute provides a unique ZTNA platform (with a built in VPN) that informs and supports organizations on their journey to the cloud. It not only protects corporate resources in the public and private cloud but allows for on-premise applications to receive the same level of zero-trust security.
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