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Forrester study finds cloud security fears unfounded

This blog is co-authored by Alison Clarke and Sandi Nelson.

Organizations with major on-premises investments understandably have concerns about a wholesale shift to cloud content management. But instead of standing still and letting the competition pass them by, Forrester recommends phased and flexible migration strategies.

To explore how and why (or why not) enterprises are using cloud for content storage, management, and collaboration, we recently commissioned a study with Forrester Consulting. The study surveyed 208 respondents with influence into enterprise content management (ECM) decisions at enterprise companies in North America and EMEA.

The results showed that most organizations see the benefits of moving to the cloud, even if they haven’t done so themselves. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of respondents whose organizations have their content exclusively on-premises said their content management strategies put them at a disadvantage to their competitors.

So, what’s holding them back? Here are the top reasons companies aren’t moving their content to the cloud, based on the survey.

Image of graph, results from Forrester survey on cloud content management security and top barriers to cloud adoption

1. Migration to cloud from existing systems

The benefit of having an agile, cloud-friendly environment is clear, yet migrating large amounts of content to the cloud is not a simple process.

For many survey respondents whose content is fully on premises, doing nothing is an acceptable alternative to tackling the transfer of their entire content management suites to the cloud. Nearly half (49%) said that because they don’t think their organizations will ever be 100% cloud-based, it doesn’t make sense for them to even start migrating.

What they’re not considering is a hybrid approach, says Forrester. Hybrid cloud options allow organizations to move content and collaboration apps to the cloud at their own pace and maintain control – all while enjoying the benefits of cloud content management.

The study found that organizations that adopt a hybrid approach have far more flexibility, faster sales and service cycles, and better collaboration and customer satisfaction – without sacrificing security, compliance, or usability.

2. Security of application/vendor data center

Organizations have a lingering perception that migrating to the cloud will leave their data vulnerable, while remaining in an on-premises environment could be a safer, more familiar option. The survey, however, tells another story: 71% of those who had migrated their content to the cloud said they’d experienced increased security.

When comparing cloud content services to on-premises systems, Forrester says it’s important to remember that cloud providers often have fewer vulnerabilities, better resiliency, and newer technology, all of which serve to make content storage more secure.

3. Complexity

The inability to keep up with the growing volume and complexity of content is a common concern for companies considering a migration to the cloud. Fortunately, Forrester says the right partner can help you navigate this complexity.

An experienced vendor can work alongside your organization to manage any potential complexities by assessing prerequisites, creating a migration strategy, preparing for data security and accessibility, establishing management and governance, and more.

Forrester suggests finding a vendor that will make the cloud migration process as seamless as possible while still providing the agility and flexibility that are needed.

4. Trust/confidence in the cloud generally and in vendors specifically

Trust and confidence in the cloud generally was a significant hurdle for many survey respondents, while others cited concerns about vendor access to sensitive data. Both issues point to a fear of losing control when moving content from on-premises systems.

Again, the survey results reveal that these anxieties are unsupported and could be holding organizations back financially. According to the survey, modern organizations that can provide seamless access to content throughout their ecosystems (including with customers and partners) see considerable benefits to their bottom lines.

64% of respondents said that improving their content management and collaboration would result in reduced costs overall, while those who had already adopted some cloud content management solutions reported improved cost predictability compared with their on-premises peers.

Consider a hybrid model

Based on the survey results, Forrester says that “migration paralysis” can be overcome and an interim hybrid model may be the best use of your modernization budget.

Migration of on-premises content repositories often has business value in the short term yet doesn’t justify the time and cost required. Resources might be better allocated to modern cloud-based content platforms for net-new use cases.

To help your organization make this call, Forrester recommends regularly assessing the value of on-premises tools. Some of these repositories may hold years of critical digital records and drive core business processes.

Download the 2020 study

If you have hesitations about migrating to the cloud, you’re not alone. While many companies share the same fears, our research discovered that these concerns are largely unfounded. Don’t let misguided fears about the cloud put you at a disadvantage any longer.

Download “Hybrid Cloud Enables Agile Content Management and Collaboration” for additional insights and recommendations for evolving your cloud content management strategy.

Sandi Nelson

Sandi is a Senior Product Marketing Manager at OpenText™, working on the Cloud team. She is passionate about technology marketing, and working on products that help customers drive digital transformation with cloud.
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Alison Clarke

Alison is Director, Product Marketing for OpenText Content Suite and Extended ECM. Alison and her team are passionate about helping organizations use content services technologies to distill more value from information, supporting the needs of individuals and teams to improve productivity and strengthen information governance for the organization with content services-enabled solutions.

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