I would like to begin by stating that this article reflects my personal perspective, which has been shaped through my experience working with some of the world's largest enterprises. It is important to note that this viewpoint is inherently biased, as its purpose is to explore hypothetical scenarios and offer insights into how optimal performance can be achieved.
How enterprises typically adopt cloud
Although many enterprises are still in the early stages of their cloud adoption journey, there has been a significant shift in the landscape, with more enterprises embracing cloud technologies. This trend is highly positive as it enables companies to enhance their innovation capabilities and gain valuable business insights at a faster pace.
When it comes to large enterprises, particularly those equipped with dedicated enterprise architect teams, security teams, and engineers, their initial steps typically involve utilizing their existing silos and assessing cloud components. The general process can be outlined as follows:
- Select a cloud component.
- Gain a thorough understanding of the chosen cloud component.
- Identify configurable parameters and create a comprehensive security risk profile.
- Implement policies that align with the established on-premise practices.
While this approach may seem intuitive for these enterprises, it is often misunderstood. The cloud ecosystem is vast, and attempting to evaluate each individual component can be counterproductive and ultimately considered a mistake as it leaves room for unmanaged risks, delays and lack of focus on the end-to-end chain.
Trying to "vet" each component in cloud is a mistake.
I understand that this statement may appear harsh, but please allow me to elaborate.
The key lies in embracing the flow rather than swimming against it. Let us fully embrace the benefits offered by these cloud companies, including:
Cloud Companies Spend Billions on Product Development
Cloud companies invest significant resources, amounting to billions of dollars, in continuously improving and enhancing their products and services for their customers (just think of their latest investment of $10B in OpenAI). This ongoing competition among cloud providers presents a valuable opportunity. These companies allocate substantial funds towards research and development so that you, as a customer, can benefit without incurring those expenses yourself.
Consider this: if you were to thoroughly vet every single component before adopting it, wouldn't that consume valuable time?
Security is a Major Focus as Cloud moves forward
Security is a paramount concern for cloud companies, as they invest heavily in ensuring the protection and integrity of their customers' data and systems. Here are some key reasons why security is a major investment for cloud companies:
- Trust and Reputation: Investments in security build trust and maintain a strong reputation.
- Compliance and Regulations: Security investments ensure compliance with data protection regulations.
- Data Breach Prevention: Robust security measures prevent unauthorized access and data breaches.
- Continuous Monitoring and Threat Intelligence: Ongoing monitoring and threat intelligence enable proactive threat detection and response.
- Dedicated Security Teams: Skilled security teams conduct audits and implement effective security protocols.
- Security Innovation: Research and development drive innovation for staying ahead of emerging threats.
As an example, just the scale of Microsoft's commitment to security is truly staggering, with a whopping $20 billion allocated to its security efforts alone.
Cloud drives Innovation
In the past, prior to the advent of cloud technology, organizations had to undergo a time-consuming assessment process. This involved conducting proof of concepts, undergoing security audits, and navigating lengthy procurement procedures, often resulting in months passing before any actual innovation could take place.
Now, let's explore the connection between innovation and this process. Innovation encompasses the introduction of new ideas, methods, technologies, or approaches that significantly enhance or transform the outcomes, efficiency, or user experience of a project. It entails generating and implementing novel solutions to existing challenges or creating entirely new opportunities. Innovation is a crucial element for companies as it allows them to continuously reinvent themselves, stay ahead of the curve, and remain competitive.
This is where cloud technology comes into play. It eliminates the lengthy barriers that previously hindered innovation by providing access to the billions of dollars invested in research and development by cloud companies. With the principle of "Fail Fast," cloud technology empowers individuals and groups within your organization to promptly experiment, learn from failures, and iterate on ideas without significant time investment.
By embracing cloud technology, organizations can unlock a faster path to innovation, enabling them to stay agile, adapt to evolving market demands, and gain a competitive edge.
Adopting a new "True Agile" Mindset
Thank you for your dedication in reading through the article thus far. If you find yourself convinced, let's explore how we can transition from the old mindset to a new approach. Consider the following outline:
- Assign an Enterprise Architect and Solution Architect: Begin by appointing skilled professionals who can design a cloud-based architecture, leveraging their expertise and knowledge in the field.
- Foster a carte-blanche approach in development: Empower product managers and engineers to execute and bring the vision to life as swiftly as possible. Provide them with the autonomy and flexibility needed to drive innovation.
- Conduct a security audit before production: Once the product is prepared for production, allocate a maximum of one week for the security team to perform an audit. The results should be categorized based on severity, such as "critical," "high," "medium," or "low." Critical issues should be considered show-stoppers that prevent deployment, as they pose a significant risk of enabling unauthorized access.
- Move to production with acceptable severity levels: Authorize the team to proceed to production when only "high," "medium," or "low" severity items remain. This allows for deployment while providing the necessary time for addressing the open issues through iterative improvements in subsequent agile sprints.
I firmly believe that by adopting the above approach, we create a development environment that effectively manages risk while providing room for innovation and progress.
Furthermore, implementing this new mindset not only allows for efficient development and risk management but also fosters a culture of continuous improvement. By embracing an agile approach, teams can iteratively address any remaining security issues while actively responding to evolving threats and vulnerabilities. This iterative process ensures that the product remains robust and resilient over time. Emphasizing collaboration and open communication among stakeholders, including architects, product managers, engineers, and security professionals, enables a holistic and proactive approach to managing risk while driving innovation. By making this shift in mindset, organizations can position themselves for long-term success in the dynamic landscape of cloud technology.
In conclusion, the adoption of cloud technology presents an immense opportunity for enterprises to enhance their performance, drive innovation, and stay competitive. By acknowledging the substantial investments made by cloud companies in research and development, organizations can leverage the advancements and benefits without the need for exhaustive vetting processes.
Embracing a new mindset that emphasizes agile development, collaboration, and risk management enables businesses to unlock the full potential of the cloud. Assigning dedicated architects, empowering development teams, and conducting streamlined security audits ensure efficient and secure deployment.