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Research Report

Breaking the cloud barrier in aerospace and defense

5-minute read

In brief

  • 100% of aerospace and defense executives believe that emerging technologies enable them to support a broader and more ambitious vision.
  • Aerospace and defense organizations are on a decisive path to a cloud-enabled future as part of their technology strategy.
  • Aerospace and defense organizations favor a blend of cloud approaches to achieve their business goals and meet high security and compliance standard.
  • This ‘Cloud Continuum’ is an essential foundation for the agility and adaptability needed to innovate for success in a fast-changing industry.

While to date aerospace and defense organizations have not made as rapid progress on their journey to cloud as others, that’s changing fast. Not only are they now addressing security concerns with robust and compliant cloud solutions; they are also discovering the power of hybrid cloud approaches as a continuum that brings together a variety of infrastructure, devices and data to accelerate their strategic vision. This Cloud Continuum is setting the stage for a new wave of innovation in both aerospace and defense products themselves and how companies design, deliver and support them.

Exploring the hybrid cloudscape

Cloud-based capabilities are becoming increasingly common in aerospace and defense, and the industry also has the highest hybrid-cloud adoption rates. Organizations can take advantage of the public cloud for some of their basic capabilities. But they require a more bespoke mix of solutions to meet the unique demands of most of their IT needs. This approach requires clear governance and management across the enterprise to deliver maximum value. Fortunately, a range of tools and strategies exist to manage these hybrid/multi-cloud environments.

Cloud’s security advantages

What’s more, security concerns about cloud that have previously been seen as barriers are abating. In fact, organizations are beginning to recognize cloud security as a benefit as industry leaders prove its potential to enhance their overall security posture while minimizing risks. Cloud’s security advantages include:

Information control that allows collaboration

Across organizational and geographic boundaries without replication or transfer of information to domains outside an organization’s control.

Efficient use of zero-trust

Reduce cost of operating in a zero-trust paradigm through integrating zero-trust capabilities & cost-effective enabling of required micro-segmentation.

Accelerated security compliance and resilience

From cloud-native services that include the right level of security controls, rapid back up, recovery and restoration of lost or compromised systems.

Cloud value — beyond financial

The financial advantages that cloud service providers’ (CSP) economies of scale support remain a key driver for all companies. But the aerospace and defense industry’s unique security demands have, to now, made it hard for aerospace and defense companies to take advantage. Now, however, they have access to CSP offerings that meet their unique regulatory, security and operational requirements. These are enabling them to shift from significant capital expenditure to more flexible cashflow models. And as they advance on their cloud transformation journey, aerospace and defense companies are harnessing cloud’s advantages to achieve key business outcomes over and above financial benefits. These include:

Empowering and retaining talent

cloud-enabled solutions expand what’s possible in a traditional workspace, creating a flexible approach and supporting the evolving technology.

Meeting sustainability goals

empower remote workers and reduce the need for office space, along with lessening the impact of commuting and associated infrastructure costs.

Optimizing innovation

AI, Automation and complementary technologies like 5G, AR, HPC and IoT power connection and collaboration across the extended enterprise.

Move decisively at speed

As cloud is adopted faster and at scale, benefits increase proportionately. Moving fast and thinking big is essential. But as they embrace cloud, aerospace and defense companies must also consider their entire architecture and see each element as an enabler of their business strategy. Equally key is the cultivation and adoption of a cloud-first mindset across the enterprise. To make sure that they are ready to unlock the full potential of the Cloud Continuum for their enterprise, aerospace and defense leaders should:

  1. Establish a cloud-enabled IT architecture integrated with business strategy that identifies the value and impact on business growth and profitability.
  2. Develop a cloud-enabled transformation plan that integrates security and governance to ensure a secure and resilient business.
  3. Adopt an agile business strategy that includes new technologies to shape the future of aerospace and defense companies.


John Schmidt

Senior Managing Director – Aerospace & Defense, Global

Arthur Arkwright

Cloud Lead – Aerospace and Defense, EMEA