In the past, many CIOs were conservative about adopting new technologies that may have posed more risk than proven solutions – hence the phrase, “No one ever got fired for buying IBM.” Nevertheless, the introduction of cloud was too disruptive for companies to ignore. The cloud offers capabilities that have become essential for the modern, fast-paced, on-the-go workforce. CIOs cannot ignore benefits such as an 20.66 percent improvement in time to market and a nearly 19 percent increase in process efficiency.

The main responsibility of the CIO is first and foremost deciding the technological direction of the company. In the world of the Internet 2.0 and the Social, Mobil, Analytics, Cloud (SMAC) revolution, the CIO is the trusted technological advisor to the CEO and board of directors. Now that CEOs have begun to take the fall for large data breaches, the CIO can also be asked to report to the board on cybersecurity risk management. Effectively communicating risks to the board requires CIOs to translate information from jargon into terms the business leaders will understand. 90% of corporate executives said they cannot read a cybersecurity report.

With new channels for revenue and customer engagement, being on the cutting edge of digital transformation gives companies a competitive edge. Moving data and operations into the cloud allows the company to outsource many IT functions, including certain aspects of infrastructure security. On one hand, this move requires a leap of faith. At the end of the day, however, security is the bread and butter of enterprise cloud providers, whose entire business model depends on the security of their systems. The leap of faith is getting easier to take, as 64.9% of IT leaders now think the cloud is as secure or more secure than on-premises software.

All companies have their own security policies, but organizations operating in the healthcare and financial sectors face strict regulatory requirements for protecting sensitive data. This adds extra pressure on the CIO to ensure requirements such as HIPAA and HITECH as well as GLBA and PCI DSS are met. For a period of time, some thought these industries would never be able to use cloud services at scale because of security requirements. Now, early adopters in the financial services and healthcare industries are validated as pioneers who others will follow.

Enterprises are under pressure to adopt cloud services to keep up with competitors and employees’ demands. Ultimately the benefits of agility and productivity will force operations into the cloud so businesses can stay on top in their respective industries. General Electric, the +100-year-old giant, is a perfect example of the phrase, “Every company is a software company” and has gone all-in on cloud. The companies who do this well will be best qualified to weather the storm of disruption from startups and incumbents. As an indicator of what’s at stake, CIOs who successfully deliver digital transformation reportedly stand to win CEO jobs.

Cloud Usage Report Template

This powerpoint template includes key slides the board will expect to see on risk from cloud usage.

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