Office 365 adoption on the rise despite cloud security concerns

With seemingly endless headlines about data breaches, it’s no surprise that SharePoint admins and IT professionals are wary of deploying company data in cloud servers.

Nonetheless, despite the potential risks of a poorly managed cloud environment, it’s increasingly becoming the norm; you’re now in the minority if your company doesn’t use the cloud in some form or another. A 2016 survey found that around 70% of organizations use the cloud in their operations today.

The cloud is one of the most exciting revolutions in enterprise IT in decades, allowing anytime access to company data and helping boost productivity regardless of location.

No longer do your co-workers have to be physically in the office at a specific desk to do their jobs; instead, they can access that data whenever they have an Internet connection. And, software-as-a-service providers like Microsoft – with Office 365 – offer more than just data storage, but also ground-breaking productivity tools too.

At Sharegate, we often hear from customers who are concerned about the cloud, and want to know how safe it really is—as well as find out how they can migrate their content there in the most secure way.

We therefore decided to carry out a survey in conjunction with our partners at Nintex and Hyperfish to find out about usage trends for SharePoint and Office 365.

Whether you’re already a cloud convert, or still need convincing, the results of our survey reveal some unique insights into the way cloud is being adopted. We also looked at people’s biggest cloud migration fears, and we look at how you can avoid these below.

The Cloud is Gaining Momentum

The survey asked just under 500 respondents about the tools they were using for enterprise IT, how those tools were deployed and what was keeping them from moving to the cloud.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, SharePoint came out as the most commonly used collaboration tool in the enterprise—a full 82% of companies used it for at least some part of their IT solution:

82% of companies used SharePoint for at least some part of their IT solution

SharePoint is a very versatile platform, and can be deployed in many different ways. With our interest in finding out how commonly the platform is used in the cloud, we asked respondents how SharePoint is deployed in their organization:

How SharePoint is deployed in organizations

Hybrid and pure-cloud implementations of SharePoint are clearly very popular – a full 61% of companies have opted for at least some form of cloud SharePoint. And that’s a figure mirrored in plenty of other research (see the survey mentioned at the beginning of this post). Nonetheless, 36% of companies continue to remain on-premises. Why is that exactly?

36% of companies continue to remain on SharePoint on-premises

There are many different reasons people avoid a move to the cloud, but our survey highlights that security remains the biggest blocker for businesses. As we outlined earlier, there are risks involved in migrating your company’s content to the cloud. So, how can you avoid these risks and get the most out of the technology?

Ensuring you are covered in the following four areas will ensure you are safe and ready for any of the risks presented by the cloud:

  1. Understand where your sensitive data is stored, and who has access

    Your first big step is to complete an inventory of what sensitive data you actually have stored in your on-premises environment. This can be done manually, or with the help of a third-party tool like Sharegate.

    In some cases, that information simply cannot be held in the cloud due to national regulations about data portability. Whatever the case, you should create a catalog of the sensitive data you hold, and who it can be accessed by. When you do migrate, you’ll then be sure to keep those permissions attached to that information.

  2. Decide how hybrid will apply to different users

    If you are creating a hybrid SharePoint environment, you’re going to need to decide who will have access to which areas of your environment. Some people will need access everywhere, others will only need on-premises or cloud access. Ensure your Active Directory mirrors these requirements.

  3. Prepare for possible downtime

    While Office 365 is managed by Microsoft and is highly secure, you shouldn’t simply assume everything will always be OK. Microsoft guarantees around 99.9% uptime on the platform. That’s enough for most occasions, but you should still prepare for some downtime, and the securing of key data somewhere you can always depend on.

  4. Mobile device management

    A major appeal of Office 365 is that it allows mobile access to your environment. However, this can also open you up to certain risks, so you want to make sure you have a dependable mobile device management tool in place to ensure that data never gets compromised.

Do the Groundwork

Just like any other migration, the success of your company’s move to the cloud will depend on how you prepare. The cloud is not necessarily any more or less secure than an on-premises SharePoint environment. So, ensuring you’ve laid the groundwork for a secure migration is essential.

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