Requirements for Confident Cloud Migration

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Click to learn more about author Anne Hardy.

The COVID-19 outbreak forced companies to change their priorities quickly to keep operations afloat. As a result, 85% of enterprises are expected to head for the cloud by 2025. However, collecting and migrating massive amounts of data in the cloud can make it harder to ensure integrity. Businesses must address the challenges of cloud migration through the lenses of data integrity, security, and sovereignty. While it may be a pain, it will enable you to make better, long-term business decisions confidently.

The Challenges of Migrating Data to the Cloud

When organizations move their data to the cloud, they may increase connections to data sources and storage locations. As data volumes grow, so too have the persistent challenges of maintaining data such as consistency, accuracy, accessibility, and quality. So, establishing a meaningful Data Governance program requires additional measures.

Gathering data into a single well to draw from before cloud migration guarantees everyone is operating from the same information. Beyond pooling data, data collection and integration tools that leverage machine learning and artificial intelligence will help efficiently sort incoming data. While risks like this may appear as the new costs of doing business in the cloud, they are attainable with the right Data Management team approach. 

The first step for organizations in managing information is to take a proactive approach to security by doing a complete inventory of the data and knowledge they have, categorizing and classifying the data. Neglect of this first step will almost guarantee a suboptimal result for the company in many functions, including compliance, risk management, litigation, information value optimization, and operational efficiency. Subsequently, use your Data Governance committee and content classification tools to categorize further data that support specific business units. This process helps to increase organizational awareness of data and improve data accuracy. The final step is to establish rules and procedures to strengthen and maintain Data Governance across the company.

Data Integrity

Data integrity is more than just tools. Maintaining reliable data for real-time decision-making in the cloud requires a dedicated team and strategy. To best leverage data for business impact, enterprises should dedicate a company’s division to Data Management — starting with a chief data officer (CDO). A recent survey found 65% of Fortune 1000 companies now have a CDO. Their job includes driving new revenue streams based on organizational data and new analytics capabilities to serve customers better.

Moving data to the cloud has accelerated the need for the CDO, the Chief Privacy Officer (CPO), and the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) to work together on Data Governance. Data Governance is at the intersection of their world.

Data Security

Having the right tools and a dedicated Data Governance team increases a company’s ability to derive growth from its data. It reduces the likelihood of violating new data protection laws like the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) and the Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act (VCDPA). Breaking compliance has a double impact: Companies can face monetary penalties and customer trust losses.

Data security is an integral part of Data Governance. Securing data in the cloud is different from obtaining data on-premises because of the new data flows, the larger attack surface, and the data pipeline’s increased complexities. Data in the cloud is easier to share and access. Information from one department can be quickly cut, pasted, and sent to another. Unfortunately, with that accessibility, there is always the risk that sensitive data ends up in the wrong place or the wrong hands.

Data privacy and security are fundamental elements in ensuring data health and integrity, especially in the cloud. It requires a dedicated team to keep data error-free and protect it from a breach. When data is collected en masse and stored for later use, somebody may unnecessarily include customer PII. A team focused on privacy and security could implement adequate security controls that automate the removal or anonymization of sensitive information and help to avoid costly General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or CPRA fines or reputation damages.

Data Sovereignty

As more organizations migrate workloads to the cloud, there is one often-overlooked issue they must be aware of: data sovereignty. Data sovereignty is the concept that data is subject to laws and other governance structures of the country’s location it’s collected. Noncompliance with data sovereignty initiatives can mean hefty fines, legal action against your organization, or even jail time in the cases of international and federal laws like GDPR, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Fortunately, taking a hybrid cloud approach can solve many of the challenges posed by data sovereignty. Organizations with their private on-premises environments overcome these challenges without losing the benefits a public cloud provides. Hybrid cloud allows companies to choose what data they want to deploy to the off-premises cloud and what data they need to keep on-premises.

The cloud makes data more accessible and streamlines data from collection to implementation. The further you get away from using the dedicated teams or remain focused on compliance, security, and sovereignty, the less likely it will be effective. Remember that data strategy is business strategy. Investing in the right tool and savvy team will deliver a return on investment. As trustworthy enterprise data stores grow, so do returns.

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