As the world starts to reopen and we once more begin to plan trips both near and far, one item has moved to the top of my to-do list: travel insurance. While it’s always been important, the pandemic has hit home for us just how rapidly things can change and how helpless we can be left if we aren’t adequately prepared. So, just as travel insurance is one of the first things we now consider when booking a holiday, a cloud contingency strategy should be one of the first things we think when purchasing any cloud-related services.
Cloud contingency is the end-to-end process of identifying, assessing, monitoring and addressing the risks your business faces in the public cloud. While you’ll likely be able to manage most events at short notice without significant business impact, in some circumstances, a swift partial or complete exit from your IaaS, PaaS and SaaS-based Cloud Service Provider (CSP) will be required. Considering our current environment, some key questions to ask yourself are:
- If your CSP doesn’t keep pace with regulatory changes, your organization could become non-compliant with critical industry standards. Are you ready to deal with the security and legal issues which may result?
- Your CSP’s offerings may be market-leading today, but what about tomorrow? In an environment of constant disruption and innovation, are you sure your CSP’s services will keep you ahead of your competition in the long term?
- Many organizations are currently experiencing profound transformation. Will your CSP be willing and able to meet your customers and staff’s changing needs and/or support a fundamental shift in your business direction?
- No company is immune to scandal. Are you sure your CSP has the financial strength to weather any storms on the horizon? If your CSP’s conduct breached your organization’s core values, would you be able to take swift action to protect your brand?
- These are challenging times for many businesses. But, do you trust your CSP to prioritize your long-term relationship over short-term profit?
If any of these questions caused you to pause, I’d recommend you commence cloud contingency planning processes without delay. The next step is to define your strategy. While your organization will have unique requirements, goals and thresholds, the core elements of a strong cloud contingency strategy are:
- An end-to-end execution framework: The framework should detail the end-to-end management of risk related to a cloud contingency scenario. It should be cohesive while providing business owners sufficient freedom to make informed decisions.
- Risk defined with a cloud contingency lens: New risk categories should be defined or existing categories updated with a cloud contingency lens.
- Alignment with organizational operating model: It’s likely your organization already has many organizational management models, frameworks and tools in operation. Your cloud contingency strategy should reuse, enrich and uplift these existing resources. Remember, a cloud contingency strategy is an enterprise strategy and cuts across multiple business units – you’ll need a clearly-defined ownership model for effective operationalization and governance.
- Exit readiness: Your strategy needs to include a high-level exit plan with a multi-dimensional view of all relevant business functions, including IT, tools, resources, procurement and finances.
Pretty simple, right? Cloud contingency planning shouldn’t be an overwhelming process (or require an overwhelming investment!). By applying the right lens over your organization’s operations and embedding cloud contingency thinking within your existing organizational planning, you can protect your business and be ready to take advantage of opportunities in the event of significant business and/or industry change. Just as you don’t want to get stuck overseas on your next holiday, you don’t want your critical business assets to be stuck in the wrong cloud!
Infosys Consulting has developed an end-to-end Cloud Contingency Framework, so don’t hesitate to reach out if you’d like some company on your cloud migration journey.
A TOGAF 9.1, Certified Scrum Master, Azure Fundamental and SOA certified consultant, Specialised skills include Enterprise architecture advisory, IT strategy and roadmap, Cloud Advisory, Portfolio Optimisation, and Management.
VP & Partner Head – CIO Advisory APAC & Financial Services ANZ
Shan is a C-Suite Advisory, Financial Services & Insurance Leader in the APAC region. He has over 20 years of consulting experience in IT transformations and financial services strategy.
18+ yrs Leadership and Consulting experience in Strategy, Business Transformations, Programs, and Client Partnerships. Specialized skills include Program delivery, Digital Landscape, Digital & Cloud, Transformations, Intelligent Systems (IS), Internet of Things (IOT), Operational Growth, Strategies, Customer Experience (CX), and emerging market technologies.