Cloud adoption is on the rise. According to a recent study, 85 percent of enterprises adopted a multi-cloud strategy in 2017, up from 82 percent in 2016. The business benefits of cloud computing are quickly becoming well understood, especially in the financial sector, where personal security and compliance play a significant role in ensuring customer satisfaction and safety.
Cloud infrastructure not only gives these types of organizations the ability to provision resources quickly, but it also allows for a more flexible computing infrastructure that can scale according to the changing needs and demands of customers.
With cloud computing also comes the need to enforce a change management process. Change management defines all the best practices an organization needs to follow when switching from its existing infrastructure to the cloud. It’s the first step your organization must take before moving to the cloud, but one that many businesses fail to take correctly.
Challenges of cloud
A recent webinar hosted by nClouds and Armanino revealed that 55 percent of organizations consider change management an important part of their business. Only 4% say it’s unimportant.
To fully understand the benefits of change management, organizations first need to understand the most common challenges associated with moving to the cloud. These problems become pronounced when there isn’t a documented, formal process for managing infrastructure changes and resources.
Businesses operating in complex and competitive industries often find it difficult to fulfill all the technical and operational aspects of SOC Compliance, especially if they’re moving their traditional client-server IT infrastructure to the cloud. Without a change management process, it becomes even harder to comply with SOC because you can’t identify who’s making changes in your infrastructure and how changes are made.
Meeting all the requirements of an SOC Compliance audit can be time consuming and challenging if you don’t have a change management process for managing resources in your cloud infrastructure. A poll from our webinar revealed that only 25% of organizations currently receive an SOC audit and a further 49% stated that they don’t receive any SOC audits. Meanwhile, 26% remained unsure about SOC audits.
Most organizations that move to the cloud often have resources that are hardly ever used or report some sort of excess capacity across their infrastructure. This usually happens because they lack an effective change management process to document all processes and resources in their cloud environment.
Advantages of cloud change management
For most organizations, change management is accomplished by sharing spreadsheets with different teams. Not only does this consume a tremendous amount of time, especially if you are going through an SOC audit, but it also makes managing resources on the cloud more challenging. With a proper change management process, your organization gains the ability to reduce costs and stay secure in the cloud, in addition to the advantages highlighted below.
Cyber security is a hot topic these days. Recent ransomware attacks such as WannaCry and Petya are a reminder that security needs to be a priority in your cloud environment, especially if your business manages sensitive customer information and resources. An effective change management process leads to an improvement in overall security management and reduces the overall risk exposure when vulnerabilities are introduced across IT, financial, and operational systems.
Implementing a change management process gives you better oversight and monitoring of all changes happening across your entire infrastructure. It also makes it easier for you to evaluate the impact of a change, and implement new changes without any adverse effect on the day-to-day operations of your business. More importantly, an effective change management process enables your organization to innovate faster, which leads to an increased return on investment (ROI) in the long run.
Change management plays a major role in organizations working in highly-regulated industries, such as the financial and healthcare sector, where compliance is a mandatory requirement for operations. For example, to achieve SOC 2 Compliance, you must demonstrate that your organization follows processes and practices that give you oversight into unusual system activity, authorized and unauthorized system configuration changes, and user access levels.
For more information about change management best practices and SOC Compliance, watch the nClouds and Armanino webinar: A Comprehensive & Adaptive Approach to SOC Compliance.
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