The long developing rift between progressive and conservative IT departments is only widening. It’s no longer enough to just “keep the lights on.” The CIO’s job description has expanded to enabling user-friendly solutions, optimizing operational costs, and, ultimately, driving new revenue from digital business. Cloud computing has driven this transformation, and forward-thinking CIOs are realizing they can’t afford to ignore the benefits of cloud. US Air Force CIO Bill Marion shared an article that outlines the dichotomy between progressive and legacy IT groups. Cloud adoption is the key divider. Successful organizations will invest in new cloud-first projects while transitioning legacy systems to the latest infrastructure. The recently released Amazon Web Services earnings validate the growing appetite for cloud solutions in the enterprise.

What does cloud transformation look like? Michael Keithley of Creative Artists Agency shared a cloud success story from one of the largest global companies in the world, GE. CIO Jim Fowler received a mandate to drive one billion dollars in profit, and he responded with the plan to run 70% of applications in the cloud. In addition to a cost savings of up to 90% for a specific application, GE benefits from increased agility, with almost immediate updates available for applications hosted in the cloud.

Security is integral to every chapter of the cloud story. Not only do leading cloud providers offer best-in class security capabilities like encryption and access control, but the agility and rapid updates cloud makes possible are also key to a resilient security posture. The realization that cloud is in most cases inherently more secure than on-premises networks may be driven in part from breaches like that of OPM, where legacy systems were significantly responsible. As a result, industries that had previously hesitated to adopt cloud have now embraced it, as Gary Price of the San Francisco Police Department illustrates with an article on government cloud deployment models. Secure cloud adoption marks a win-win for IT and users. In one cloud migration success story, user productivity improved because the old legacy system capped the number of emails employees could keep in their inboxes. The article also discusses the benefits of relying on other agencies’ Authority to Operate (ATO) certifications. Any form of crowd-sourced or third party intelligence, like certifications or Skyhigh’s CloudTrust program, streamlines the cloud adoption process and relieve IT from the burden of chasing down provider information.

While CIOs are expected to reduce operational costs and increase efficiency, boards and CEOs also expect improvements in security. Sandy Fliderman, CTO at VerifyMe, shared an article on the costs of information security, from technology to labor costs. The article points to the need for security investments that align with burgeoning trends in the industry. Companies look for security technologies that automate, educate, and deliver measurable results in order to minimize costs and demonstrate return on investment. Executive level security reporting is especially relevant for organizations where the board of directors takes a hands on approach to information security. Currently only 14% of board members are actively involved in information security, but 58% feel they should be involved. IT leaders can increase their pull with the board by providing tangible, trending security metrics. Doing so is the key to justifying ongoing security spending and investments in new projects to combat emerging threats. In other words, CIOs’ attention is required on both sides of the IT balance sheet – business enablement and security expenses.

Of course, investing in security can be much cheaper than the alternative. The costliest cybercrime isn’t necessarily the events that make the news, however. An article shared by Alan Stukalsky of Randstad USA makes the case for security teams to increase attention spent on the leakage of confidential business data. Catastrophic security breaches are top of mind for IT professionals, but leakage of intellectual property such as pricing information and trade secrets collectively represents “the biggest theft ever seen in the world.” Research shows 7.6% of documents in file-sharing services contain confidential business information. Enabling business means adjusting risk based on the business value of data. While organizations often have extensive classifications and policies for sensitive data in legacy systems, these rules can get lost as data migrates to new cloud systems of record. As organizations overcome their fear of cloud service breaches, they need to step up to handle the customers’ side of the shared responsibility model. Information security is one area where it makes sense to sweat the small stuff.

Executive Cloud Security Powerpoint Template

Based on real presentations CIOs and CISOs have delivered to their executive team and board of directors, this essential template provides an outline of how to present your cloud usage and security to the board.

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