When transformational moments in technology occur — like the introduction of cloud capabilities — issues or risks that we've tended to ignore or not address can manifest themselves in new systems, or can be further intensified through scale or changes in security protocols and infrastructure. Still, the benefits of cloud migration, from flexibility to improved disaster recovery to securing a competitive advantage with an improved and cohesive IT environment, are often well worth the effort.
Once your customer has decided to migrate to the cloud, a thorough evaluation should be done to identify and address issues and risks to ensure their migration plan is successful.
Here are three questions every company should ask when evaluating migration to the cloud.
1) Who will be affected?
When your customer identifies a risk, encourage them to evaluate it from the perspective of who could be impacted. When the customer moves storage and processes to the cloud, they are no longer solving issues for self-contained business units or departments. The new solution could potentially impact a wide variety of stakeholders including internal customers and eventually, external customers as well.
This raises the stakes tremendously for the team attempting to mitigate risk in cost-effective and reasonable ways. Your client will have to balance the risk they are willing to accept against the needs, expectations and potential outcomes of a much broader user base who will hold them accountable for the security of their data and processes.
2) How much risk are you willing to absorb?
There's no such thing as zero risk with the cloud. The question of how much risk your customer is willing to absorb is usually a balance between the probabilities of negative consequences versus revenue they could incur if they take that risk. So, if increasing risk a little could provide a far greater return on investment than they’ve been able to achieve by playing it safe, it may be worth considering.
If the cloud is saving your customer money, you can encourage them to elevate their risk level slightly.
Is the customer’s cloud more standardized? Is it repeatable? Their risk will drop by driving more standardization and repeatability.
Does their cloud standardization allow them to offer a broader service to more types of people and functions, thereby giving the customer the ability to capture additional business? Standardization may decrease risk, but it could rise sharply again as the customer expands into new areas more quickly.
Help your customer figure out which risks are acceptable and which are not. When the client identifies unacceptable risks, note that even these threats can usually be solved in the cloud. Moving to the cloud is just another step in making their company more competitive. With that, your customer may find that their perception of risk is changing and they are willing to absorb more than before.
3) How much risk is too much?
How does your customer know when they've taken on too much risk and their business model is in danger? It's always a delicate balance. Usually, people know when they've gone too far—they can feel it, and their users react negatively as well. The good news is that with the cloud, everything is very flexible and movable. Your customer can mitigate risk moving to the cloud primarily in two ways:
- Establishing a standardized infrastructure with repeatable processes up front
- Adding modular fixes as they expand their capabilities and offerings
For example, if your client’s cloud infrastructure is standardized, they can add a new service tomorrow and use the standards that they built yesterday. They can use the repeatable processes built last week and tack on modules as needed.
It's like building blocks—your customer can buy a kit and easily snap something together by following the instructions. Later, they can add more to the base structure quickly and easily, as required, customizing and growing from the foundation because the pieces are consistent and fit together. That's the basic concept of what the cloud can provide: the ability to establish a uniform but highly flexible infrastructure that allows the customer to be agile in their response to risk.
Take the right steps to mitigate risks
Is the risk mitigated? Is it more safely accommodated? The cloud does not solve risk issues, but it does make risk more palatable by also making the addition of new modules, new revenue flows and new streams of delivery possible.
Perhaps your customer’s business leaders do not tolerate risk well and want solutions that carry no risk. No solution can do that. What they can offer is a uniform and predictable delivery model—a process that can provide a cohesive public, private or hybrid cloud solution with minimal risk.
Your customer can minimize risk by:
- Creating servers through a standard process
- Layering services on top of those servers through a standardized process
- Incentivizing business units that haven't worked together in the past to talk to each other
- Creating new avenues for cross-collaboration
- Capturing revenue
Simply put, the cloud doesn't change the level of risk that's present, but it does make risk more manageable. It all hinges on using a good methodology to build a cloud infrastructure properly from the start.
Partner with cloud experts to successfully build your client’s cloud infrastructure
Depending on the complexity of your customer’s business and their existing staff's experience and expertise with designing and building a cloud infrastructure, you may wish to collaborate with cloud design experts to be sure you're starting the right way to mitigate risk.
Tech Data’s cloud team has been building cloud solutions for many years and has a track record of success in creating custom solutions for various industries and organizations. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about how we can help you accelerate your cloud business.