New IBM research reveals organizations lack skills to adopt a hybrid cloud approach

New research from IBM revealed that over 77 per cent of respondents have adopted a hybrid cloud approach to help drive digital transformation, but many responding organizations are struggling to make all their cloud environments work together.

The IBM Transformation Index: State of Cloud, commissioned by IBM and conducted by independent research firm The Harris Poll, was created to help organizations map their cloud transformation. 

Hybrid cloud infrastructure is the combination of cloud-based resources with on-premises IT infrastructure, where both cloud and on-premises systems are working together to achieve an organization’s IT goals, supporting business processes. An example of this could be combining public and private cloud environments, like an on-premises data center, and a public cloud computing environment such as Google Cloud.

Seventy one per cent of those surveyed said it’s difficult to realize the full potential of a digital transformation without having a solid hybrid cloud strategy in place. However only 27 per cent  of those surveyed possess the necessary characteristics to be considered as “advanced” in their transformation. 

The top three main reasons for this disconnect include: compliance, security, and skills.

“When you look at hybrid deployments, it becomes complex to manage the infrastructure and applications, and it requires skills and technologies. Number two, increasing cyber risk, third party risk, supply chain, and data breaches, and an aspect of security becomes critical. Third, in terms of regulatory compliance, more and more regulations are a reflection of risk to a particular industry, all the way from operational risk like resiliency to security and how do you protect your data and all of that,” said Dr. Nataraj Nagaratnam, IBM Fellow and chief technology officer (CTO), Cloud Security.

When it comes to managing cloud applications, 69 per cent of respondents say their team lacks the skills needed to succeed. In addition, more than one-third of respondents say a lack of technical skills is holding them back from integrating ecosystem partners into cloud environments.

On the cybersecurity front, 32 per cent of overall respondents cite security as the top barrier for integrated workloads across environments, and over one quarter agree security concerns are stopping them from achieving their cloud business goals.

“Enterprises do have controls that reflect their security policies and risk from an enterprise perspective, but when it comes to cloud, they have not fully evolved. So they’re defining what security means for that,” Nagaratnam said. “The difficulty is accounting the risk and translating that in terms of these controls, implementing it in a hybrid cloud environment, then keeping up with it, because once you implement something, there’s always a new vulnerability or a new attack.”

The index also revealed that security concerns are stopping organizations from unlocking the full potential of partnerships. As potential security gaps can cause third and fourth party risks to loom, respondents say data governance and cybersecurity are the top challenges to fully integrating their business ecosystem into the cloud. 

Compliance challenges are also increasing. Over 50 per cent of respondents believe that ensuring compliance in the cloud is difficult, and about one-third said regulatory compliance issues are a key barrier for integrating workloads across private and public IT environments. In financial services, over a quarter of respondents agree that meeting industry requirements is holding them back from fully achieving their cloud objectives. 

To help solve some of these problems, IBM is launching an interactive tool to serve as a continual source of feedback for organizations to measure their transformation progress. It will make the IBM Transformation Index: State of Cloud tool publicly available in the coming months, aiming to provide business leaders with benchmarking insights that can inform their hybrid cloud strategies.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Samira Balsara
Samira Balsara
Samira is a writer for IT World Canada. She is currently pursuing a journalism degree at Toronto Metropolitan University (formally known as Ryerson) and hopes to become a news anchor or write journalistic profiles. You can email her at [email protected]

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