Four Global Enterprises Open Up About the Cloud

Executives from four global enterprises took the stage recently to share stories about how global companies shouldn’t be fearful of leveraging the cloud if they want to stay competitive.

The four panelists—Kyle Busekist (Capital One), Punit Vir (The Coca-Cola Company), Pablo Salazaar (PwC) and Mario Chiock (Schlumberger)—spoke at Palo Alto Network’s “Epic Cloud Security Event” (Palo Alto Networks is Security Roundtable’s parent company). Taken together, the very different stories of each organization’s cloud journey demonstrated to board members and executives that while migrating to the cloud might not be easy, assembling the right security, people, processes, and technology can make it very worthwhile.

More, not less, secure

There was general agreement that the cloud can support better customer interaction and create a more holistic, efficient experience. But, as in Chiock’s case, internal skeptics often cite weak security as an excuse to avoid cloud transitions. All four panelists, however, agreed that if done right, cloud security can be superior to that of data centers, even from an audit and compliance perspective. According to Vir, there is nothing that can’t be moved to the cloud, regardless of the application’s sensitivity.

Chiock’s experience with resistance was the rule, not an exception. Each speaker agreed that opposition to change was a major barrier. Compared with the people and processes, technology transformation was the easy part. Vir stressed that the complexity of the people and process transformation is necessary. If you or your organization think the journey will be easy, “you’re not going to make the necessary changes,” said Vir. Instead, board members and stakeholders must learn to see disruption as an opportunity, and internal resistance to change is just a challenge that must be addressed to seize that opportunity.

PwC’s Salazaar discussed the negative effect of organizational silos on the digital transformation journey. While moving to the cloud, his organization’s experience was that a “data-center mentality”—focused on governance and organization—was being transferred to the cloud. He emphasized that organizations “need to throw all that [data-center mentality] away” and, instead, start with a “cloud-first mentality, and then build from there.”

Different solutions, common challenges

While each enterprise’s road to the cloud was different, they all shared the same overarching themes: a willingness to embrace change, to adopt new perspectives, and to state their case for the cloud.

Busekist and Capital One focused on changing their business outlook from being a bank to becoming a “technology company running a bank.” Capital One provided cross-training to prevent silos, and its “cloud first” mindset helped push all developments to the cloud as quickly as possible.

Vir and Coke, as well, adopted a “cloud-only” mindset. Their multi-prong disruptive approach worked both top down and bottom up, ultimately changing policies and bringing the right people together. To prove the cloud’s effectiveness, Vir and his team moved one of their most sensitive applications to the cloud first. Demonstrating that a critical application could run securely in the cloud helped break down resistance, and it was smoother going from there.

Salazaar and his team at PwC focused on combatting resistance with an emphasis on education. In addition, PwC took a “just do it” approach to actively show how the cloud works, especially to skeptics. Similarly, Chiock successfully convinced Schlumberger’s stakeholders through education, emphasizing the cloud’s advantages for them.

These four very different companies made it clear that there is no one right way to migrate to the cloud. As long as board members, executives, and employees at all levels are ready embrace change and educate each other, secure cloud operations can become real and can do much to accelerate a company’s digital transformation.