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We’re seeing the world return to a sense of normalcy as many people fall back into their pre-pandemic routines. The back-to-school and back-to-reality mindset of September is upon us. That said, one thing that isn’t going back to the way it was before is a predominately in-person working environment supported by on-premises solutions. In fact, we’re seeing quite the opposite. 

Today, nearly all modern enterprises want to move to the cloud (92%) to complement their digital transformation initiatives. In fact, many large organizations (82%) are operating in hybrid cloud environments, compiling on-prem, public and private cloud services to keep up with amplified performance expectations. This transformation is offering unprecedented scalability, power and resources, and is mission-critical for most organizations to survive in today’s world.

However, this change is happening amidst an increasingly dangerous threat landscape, with companies such as Marriott, Cisco and Toyota falling victim to recent cyberattacks. The looming threats and escalated cost and complexity of security measures are ultimately limiting organizations’ ability to advance their cloud initiatives.

Although necessary in this digital world, hybrid cloud landscapes are much more challenging than on-prem, and collaborating with multiple cloud providers makes it difficult to identify security threats, recognize performance bottlenecks or troubleshoot solutions. With 76% of IT pros saying they’ve hit a wall with the cloud, it’s time to adapt the way organizations approach cloud migration to realize the true transformational promise of the cloud.

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Here are three steps organizations should take to minimize risks and tap into the potential of the cloud for better business outcomes:

Close the cloud visibility gap

In the digital-first world we live in today, cloud migration is imperative for operational success. While (82%) of large organizations work in hybrid cloud environments today, this number is only expected to increase, creating even more complexity and increased security risk. 

That said, there is a way that organizations can turn this model into a competitive advantage. To do so, they’ll need to close the visibility gap, which professionals recently ranked the most important security factor for the cloud. This can only be done by prioritizing deep observability, which empowers IT staff with real-time, network-level intelligence to proactively mitigate security and compliance risk, deliver a superior user experience, and ease the operational complexity of managing hybrid and multi-cloud IT infrastructures.

If this is done correctly, organizations will have in-depth application visibility that captures known and unknown threats, spots bottlenecks and delivers consistent, high-quality digital experiences.

Deep observability is the way forward in keeping an eye on increasingly complex cloud landscapes.

Activate real-time network metadata

So now that the organization can see deep within the network, collective intelligence can be gathered, which is all too important in the current threat-scape. The number of cyberattacks has increased drastically, upwards of 50% in 2021, averaging an all-time high of 925 weekly attacks. Furthermore, ransomware attacks were 24% higher in Q2 than Q1 this year. Needless to say, the pressure is on for security teams to work together to stay ahead of these sophisticated threat actors.

With the increased number adversaries, security teams are inundated with threats and data at a faster rate than they can even respond to. The average security professional receives more that 500 public cloud security alerts daily, with 38% receiving more than 1,000 daily.

To combat the dangerous threat landscape and overwhelming number of alerts, security teams must be equipped with real-time data to make critical, informed business decisions to protect the organization proactively. In fact, a recently proposed bill calls for real-time metadata to make immediate business decisions. The government is beginning to see the benefits of having access to this information and I expect more organizations will come to expect it as well.

Maximize staff capabilities

Once the organization has closed the visibility gap and begun to transform raw data into actionable data, it can maximize operational agility to ensure its efforts are aligned and productive.

The current state of security team members’ morale and wellbeing is lower than usual, with roughly 70% of security operation center (SOC) teams reporting burnout due to the high-pressure environments they work in. Teams are presented with more warnings and information than they can even process, so it’s important to ensure they’re given the assets needed to support them, not overwhelm them.

SOC teams are navigating through a high-pressure point in their industry, and they’re doing so with limited support. In the U.S. alone, there are approximately 700,000 open cybersecurity roles. Organizations must prioritize filling these gaps and taking care of the professionals they already have to mitigate burnout and retain talent. Deep observability and real-time metadata are necessary tools, but without a robust, highly trained team of security professionals, the efforts will only go so far.

It’s been exciting to see such forward movement and adoption of the cloud over the past few years. Still, its immense capabilities come with a list of risks and challenges for organizations. By practicing the above three steps, IT teams who are now overwhelmed by the cloud will be able to shift from a reactive to a proactive security and compliance posture to help lower the risk profile.

By closing the cloud visibility gap, activating real-time network metadata, and maximizing staff capabilities, modern enterprises will be able to realize the full transformational potential of the cloud. This will create a resilient digital infrastructure, bolstering the overall success of the organization and its ability to scale and streamline operations.

Ian Farquhar is global field CTO at Gigamon.

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