The Cloud Expansion Checklist: How to Get IT Decision-Makers and Developers on the Same Page

4 min read

Cloud-native and open-source technologies are booming. But for a successful cloud expansion, IT decision-makers and developers need to be in agreement despite their unique roles in the process. 

As more enterprises transition to cloud-native environments, the big question is how aligned are IT decision-makers and developers?

To find out, we surveyed 350 IT decision-makers and 350 developers in organizations that deploy cloud-native environments. In our 2022 Cloud-Native Alignment Report: Key Success Factors in the Transition to Cloud-Native, we uncovered areas of alignment as well as areas of disconnect. Left unaddressed, these disconnects can lead to wasted time, underutilized resources and security vulnerabilities during the cloud expansion process.

However, there is a solution to aligning IT decision-makers and developers. And it starts with taking the time to understand the gaps between the two groups, and developing a plan of action to bridge them.

Uncovering the key gaps between IT decision-makers and developers 

While both IT decision-makers and developers are dedicated to accelerating digital transformation, disconnects over responsibilities and strategy are hindering the process. Our survey results identified areas of improvement for organizations as they navigate cloud expansion. Let’s take a closer look at the current gaps between IT decision-makers and developers.

The cloud planning gap

Introducing new work technologies is always a difficult process. But throw in the complexities of cloud-native and open-source tech — which bring new maintenance requirements compared to legacy applications — and it’s no surprise that IT decision-makers and developers are focused on different challenges. For example, 63% of IT decision-makers are concerned with training employees to use tools, while the majority of developers (70%) said their biggest challenge is onboarding each piece of new technology and phasing out old technology. 

To bridge this gap, IT decision-makers and developers need to proactively communicate to understand each other’s unique goals. Developers need to consider how they can help accelerate new tech training and adoption at the organization. And IT decision-makers should be cognizant of the steps developers need to follow for a successful lift and shift. Both groups play a critical role in ensuring a smooth cloud-native and open-source tool expansion — and that’s why expansion plans need to be aligned.

The security process gap

Security is a growing concern for developers — 51% said their organization should prioritize enhancing data privacy security measures. But it’s not their top priority yet. Since developers haven’t historically been involved in security initiatives, this is an encouraging trend. Yet, even more can be done to encourage a security focus from both IT decision-makers and developers. Considering cyberattacks are still on the rise, security needs to be top of mind for both groups throughout the cloud expansion process.

Complex internal authorization policies and a growing number of compliance regulations also highlight the need for increased security as developers build applications for the cloud. This dynamic makes the need for sound security processes crucial — and the right tools make all the difference. For example, the cloud unlocks speed and flexibility for organizations. But manual processes, which previously worked in on-prem environments, hamper organizations from getting the best performance capabilities out of their cloud tools.

The ownership gap

Both IT decision-makers and developers are very confident in their organization’s security capabilities — 97% of IT decision-makers and 96% of developers said their organizations’ cloud security is strong. And 99% of IT decision-makers and 97% of developers said they were confident their organizations’ existing security tools and technology will also extend to protect their cloud environments.

However, there’s a major gap between these two groups in the ownership of policy, compliance and cloud security responsibilities. For example, 41% of IT decision-makers said the IT infrastructure/operations team at their organization is responsible for proving that applications are compliant with internal policies. But only 22% of developers responded that their IT infrastructure/operations team was in charge of this task when asked the same question.

If organizations are unsure of who handles which tasks, they risk creating redundant work and wasting time. Responsibilities could also be missed entirely, which can lead to vulnerabilities in the cloud. With cloud-native implementations growing, you need to clear up confusion over the division of responsibilities for IT and development teams to ensure maximum cloud security.

Closing the gap: a cloud migration checklist

It’s more critical than ever for decision-makers and developers to get on the same page. Here is a checklist with several strategies that can help bridge gaps between IT decision-makers and developers throughout the cloud-native expansion process. 

✔️ Encourage communication and create process roadmaps.

As developers and IT decision-makers continue adopting more cloud and open-source services, you need to encourage your teams to understand each others’ perspectives. Open communication, a unified approach and an understanding of each other’s unique roles can go a long way in bridging the cloud planning gap. Creating roadmaps that outline processes, roles and systems can also help get to a more seamless transition.

✔️ Automate processes to improve security and reduce repetitive work.

Your IT and security teams need access to tools that will accelerate cloud expansion. The right tool set will also guarantee sound security processes in the cloud. For example, IT decision-makers can introduce automation to security checks so developers are free to focus on less redundant and more valuable work. By automating your repetitive processes, you can create a unified focus on security across your organization and close the security process gap. 

✔️ Implement policy-as-code tools and align responsibilities.

To minimize confusion over division of responsibilities, invest in policy-as-code approaches, like Open Policy Agent (OPA). OPA and its unified control plane Styra Declarative Authorization Service (DAS) can minimize errors, close security gaps and streamline cloud expansion. With OPA, you can standardize knowledge and language, which makes sure your teams approach authorization the same way and ultimately work better together.

✔️ Engage with the open source community. 

After implementing policy-as-code solutions like OPA, consider engaging with the open source community. Forums like GitHub and Slack have thousands of active members that can provide expertise on authorization policy and how to integrate OPA for enterprises of all sizes. Learn from other community members on how they’ve solved these gaps on their teams and apply their findings at your organization.

Check out the complete report for more insights

It’s only the beginning for cloud-native and open-source technology as more business leaders recognize the benefits these tools introduce. To ensure a smooth cloud-native expansion for your organization, reference our above checklist for strategies that drive collaboration and security.  

Download the 2022 Cloud-Native Alignment Report: Key Success Factors in the Transition to Cloud-Native for a deeper understanding of the relationship between IT decision-makers and developers in managing digital transformation at their organizations. The report covers the tools that can help cultivate a unified approach during cloud expansion and provides actionable steps you can take to help  IT decision-makers and developers get on the same page at your organization.

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