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Staying Ahead of the Game with Secure Cloud Transitions

For much of the retail industry’s history, success has been defined by innovation and flexibility, if not outright speed. Each new technological innovation has brought with it the demand for adaptation, do or die. Today, the message in the retail industry is clear: competitive companies need to be fully cloud-integrated

According to research by Statista, enterprise spending on the cloud reached $225b in 2022, a massive $47b leap from the previous year. Furthermore, the worldwide public cloud computing market is expected to grow to an estimated $679b in 2024. Just last year, the Software as a Service (SaaS) market—heavily tied to cloud functions—reached nearly $200b and is expected to reach $232b in 2024. 

In other words, the growth of the cloud and cloud-related services is fast. That’s because the cloud (e.g.) allows companies to not only leverage all of their data (in an age where more of it is produced every day than any single analysis team can manage) but also power the new technologies—such as Generative AI—that are exciting customers and management teams alike.

Fundamentally, what the cloud facilitates is agility, and if the retail industry took away anything from the challenges of the last many years, it is that retailers with the capability and scalability to react adroitly to rapidly changing conditions are retailers that stay in business. 

Reflects Trey McMillan, Solutions Director, Retail & CPG with Google Cloud, “What we’re seeing from a cloud perspective is that agility is a key driving force behind the adoption of cloud technologies. Many organizations are focused on delighting their customers.”

“They’re also looking for ways to become more agile. They’re leveraging cloud technologies to help them increase the velocity of which they’re able to provide new features and functions to their customers, as well as to their team members,” he continues, going on to explain that keener business insights from existing data, that aforementioned ability to innovate with new technologies, and financial engineering (optimizing CapEx and OpEx) are other key drivers of cloud adoption.

Yet, McMillan cautions that security capabilities must remain robust for customers handling sensitive data—especially PHI or HIPAA data. To help with a cloud transition internally from a security and culture perspective, McMillan recommends strong internal cohesion on their cloud-related goals and excellent training to ensure teams are comfortable with the new technologies and procedures.

Building on the importance of security, it’s vital for retailers to either grasp key cybersecurity principles such as zero trust and multi-cloud security systems or to collaborate with providers who are experts in these areas. 

Indeed, at a time when cybersecurity breaches continue to make top headlines—causing tremendous brand damage while generating significant financial burdens—the fact that some retailers continue to struggle with network security is as problematic as ever.

Derrick Gooch, Principal Architect at Fortinet for Google Cloud, notes that “What we’re seeing a lot of our customers dealing with is what I like to call the proliferation of edges. There are a lot of places where network security needs to be implemented now,” he explains.

Gooch furthered that the rise of hybrid work solutions has created more complex cybersecurity demands, exacerbating skill and training gaps with employees who can create vulnerabilities from anywhere—not just the office. It’s one of many major changes in the last half-decade that have created new opportunities, yes, but also new challenges.

Kevin Dresser, Strategic Alliances at Fortinet, argues that while these challenges are considerable, new solutions like Fortinet’s Megaport Multi-Cloud solution help to create the level of security necessary to continue to thrive in today’s infinitely networked, endlessly complex cyber environment. 

“You’ve got internet connectivity and then you’ve got private connectivity. So all those same fundamental network concepts that you apply to your traditional data centers still apply to the cloud.

Solutions like Megaport help you get into cloud environments like Google’s cloud platform through a private network connection,” he explains.

This approach allows retailers to achieve the agility and robustness of services like Google Cloud while reducing their internet-facing attack surface, eating their cake and having it too so to speak. Ensuring private network connectivity when you need it allows your team to operate securely, leveraging their data to automate once-manual processes with the cloud and AI to make your business come together. 

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Want to learn more about cloud migration trends and challenges? Check this latest webinar produced together with Fortinet & Megaport, featuring expert insights from Jerry Sheldon (VP of Technology at IHL Services) Derrick Gooch (Principal Architect for Google Cloud at Fortinet), Kevin Dresser (Solutions Architect – Strategic Alliances at Megaport), and Trey McMillan (Solutions Director, Retail & CPG, Google Cloud at Google).