For large, regulated organizations, cloud adoptions can be daunting. They often have large, complex self-hosted systems and face strict compliance and regulatory requirements, making the adoption all the more formidable. In fact, more than 25% of highly regulated organizations cite meeting security concerns as holding them back from cloud adoption.
The good news? Secure cloud adoption is possible, even in highly regulated industries like financial services and healthcare. In this guide, we’ll explore how a global financial services firm with hundreds of thousands of users overcame the common roadblocks to cloud adoption.
The Challenge: Secure and Compliant Migration to Microsoft 365
The firm operated in a large, self-hosted SharePoint environment and knew Microsoft 365 held great potential for their operations. Like many other industry peers, the firm was initially hesitant to transition to the cloud, fearing it would be difficult to adapt its existing processes and maintain critical requirements. Some business units were more than hesitant; they refused to move to the cloud until their concerns about security and compliance were addressed.
As a result, the firm had to reassure the business units that IT was capable of identifying and addressing any risk (existing or new) in the cloud. With several hundred thousand global users, the finserv firm also needed a system to scale Microsoft 365 administration and management.
They were able to achieve these critical needs and more with AvePoint solutions. Once met, the firm successfully migrated to Microsoft 365, modernizing and scaling operations without additional headcount, expenses, or concerns around security and compliance.
The Solution: How AvePoint Addressed Cloud Adoption Roadblocks
Let’s dive deeper into the firm’s most pressing cloud adoption roadblocks and how AvePoint solutions helped overcome them.
Many highly regulated organizations, including this financial services firm, built intricate governance and compliance controls into their self-hosted systems over the years. As a result, they’re often hesitant to take on the burden of meeting these requirements in a new environment.
Solution: With AvePoint Insights, the finserv firm met regulatory obligations, such as the ability to conduct a regular audit of workspaces or permissions; the solution offers centralized reporting and automatic, exportable audit reports, making it easy to respond to any requests from legal or compliance. Insights also segments information by each business unit or security team to streamline management and give IT administrators better control over who has access to what.
Even more concerning than compliance for some regulated organizations: maintaining and adapting critical security requirements to the new environment. Not only must you recreate your current security controls, but you also must account for the new features and capabilities Microsoft 365 offers to protect data and prevent overexposure of content.
Solution: The firm began by assessing its environment for potential risks using Insights. This allowed them to identify security issues – like overexposed content or inappropriate sharing links – and create plans to address them, shortening their migration timeline as it eliminated the need for additional security investigations. Then, the firm used this information to develop controls in AvePoint Policies, including proactive notifications of overexposure and policy enforcement, to mitigate and minimize risk.
Visibility is one of the most challenging aspects of cloud adoption. Collaboration tools like Microsoft 365 give users so much power and freedom – and it’s important to be able to understand what users are doing with that privilege, from both a security and compliance perspective. Specifically, organizations should be able to track activity history by workspace, user, and content to truly understand who is doing what and where.
Solution: The firm received the visibility they need with AvePoint Cloud Governance by maintaining a comprehensive inventory of all the workspaces across their Microsoft 365 tenant to meet compliance requirements and security standards. Pairing Cloud Governance with Insights provided added visibility, offering on-demand and ad-hoc investigations of workspaces and users’ activities to detect and correct any suspicious activity.
In the current economic environment, it’s important that organizations are maximizing their budgets to be more productive and efficient. Organizations can’t always hire additional headcount to address the management challenges of a new cloud environment. However, these challenges – like access authorization, data protection, and permission management – are critically important to maintaining security and compliance.
Solution: The firm overcame this challenge with AvePoint Cloud Governance’s delegated administration feature. It enabled them to provide administrative privileges – like updating permissions or changing passwords – to support staff in a controlled, auditable fashion, scaling IT to meet service expectations and drive efficiencies. It also provided business units the ability to scope privileges for their own admins and workspaces, helping them meet their own security needs and instill confidence in the new Microsoft 365 environment.
Bringing it All Together: Top 3 Takeaways
Looking back at this story, there are three important takeaways any organization – especially highly regulated ones – should walk away with when considering a move to a cloud environment.
- Align and Gain Stakeholder Buy-In: The firm had many disparate global business units with varying needs. Identifying and meeting the processes and requirements of all business units and regions before migrating to the cloud was critical for success.
- Enable Incremental Data Migration: With so much data in its self-hosted system, the firm knew they couldn’t move it all at once. To ensure the protection of data and to minimize downtime, it’s crucial to implement an incremental migration via an agile solution like AvePoint Fly Server. Fly Server not only moved the firm’s data, but restructured it, mapping and adapting content to the destination environment’s structure and functionality.
- Create a Scalable Approach: As you move more content to Microsoft 365, your usage will skyrocket. Without a plan to manage the growing amount of data, users, and activity in the new environment, it will be impossible to meet compliance, let alone maintain security controls. The firm credits AvePoint for being instrumental in their continued ability to manage their environment, amidst widespread usage.
With these lessons in mind, your organization can optimize your cloud adoption and be one step closer to secure digital collaboration.
Ultimately, with the right tools and strategies, regulated organizations can overcome cloud adoption roadblocks. With AvePoint, the firm was able to address security and compliance concerns, quickly migrate to the cloud, and maximize time to value for its Microsoft 365 investment.
While daunting, cloud adoption is worth the growing pains. The benefits of the cloud – flexibility, scalability, and cost-efficiency – can help streamline your organization’s operations and accelerate innovation, necessary in today’s competitive economic climate.
Ready to start your migration? See how the experts at AvePoint can guide you from migration and deployment to governance and security – all in one safe, secure Confidence Platform. Watch our on-demand webinar now: