A CIO’s Most Difficult Challenge in Hybrid World? Okta’s Customers Weigh In

We recently introduced “The Okta Thought Cloud,” a new blog series that encourages our customers and partners to share their thoughts about what’s going on in the enterprise — and enterprise IT. To kick it off, we asked, “What is the most difficult challenge of being a CIO in today’s hybrid world?”

Okta Thought Cloud1We know abandoning on-premises applications in favor of the cloud is hardly a walk in the park. (Of course, we try to make it as easy as possible.) While the benefits are numerous, the transition itself is a challenge in more ways than one. It’s unsurprising that hybrid environments are the dominant strategy across enterprises today. But are they here to stay? What is the outlook for IT in the modern enterprise — and what are the biggest challenges facing CIOs who are leading the charge to the cloud, yet must simultaneously maintain legacy systems?

We heard some great thoughts from a few of our customers. Check them out below, and let us know what you think in the comments. Our next topic is: What cloud-based tools are critical for your business’ efforts (Okta aside!). If you want to participate, just email thoughtcloud(at)okta.com to share your cloud necessities.

Here’s what our customers and partners had to say about our first topic: What is the most difficult challenge of being a CIO in today’s hybrid world?

Or Cingilli, director of technology at Maclellan Foundation, Inc.:

“The hybrid world is challenging for today's CIO because every business unit believes their needs are unique and therefore believe that their apps and data need to be on-premise. The reality is that very few department heads can ever even see the hardware environments that house their apps and data regardless if they are on-premise or in the cloud. Furthermore, most can't explain the differences between the cloud and on-premise environments so it seems ironic that are often opposed to moving off-premise. With these facts in mind, the CIO has to decide which workloads to keep on-premise and which to offload to the cloud. Budget always come into play, but other influencers such as politics and governmental regulations are often the key metric in the decision making process. So, the CIO takes all of this info into account and has to make the best decision he/she can with the data in front of them. These decisions will be made easier in the future as knowledge of the level of cloud security and cloud capability increase.”

Daniel O’Leary, solutions architect at Box:

“What comes first, identity or the cloud? Not since the chicken and the egg has there been so much debate about what order you do things. Spoiler alert: it doesn't really matter. As you add more cloud applications, the need for crisp identity management compounds and will eventually put you in a position where you must do something. Likewise, even if you are not yet using cloud applications and services, identity management simplifies on-premise and legacy application oversight.”

Chris Thibault, lead systems engineer at First American Equipment Finance:

What I see as the most difficult challenge in a hybrid world is maintaining security while providing simple solutions to enhance mobility and ease of access to data. What good is providing BYOD/mobile solutions if you encumber your users with excessively difficult authentication solutions? Two-factor [authentication] is necessary. Security is necessary. But they can't become inhibitors to regular use. Balancing security with making it accessible is the challenge...”

Pedro Sosa, IT support specialist at First American Equipment Finance:

“I'd have to say trying to keep up with the latest technology, along with keeping your users happy and excited about all of the changes.”