Project Management Institute

Who's guarding the cloud?

Looking to cut costs and increase efficiencies, organizations are launching projects to move more and more data to remote servers, and as a result, cloud computing is officially mainstream. This article explores whether some fundamental project management due diligence is being skipped to rush to the cloud. It then cites a survey conducted by Ernst & Young where half of the respondents had not implemented any controls to mitigate the risks of a cloud migration project. The article reports how the three largest cloud providers--Google, Microsoft, and Amazon--all have various provisions in their user agreements absolving them from responsibility in the case of hacking. It then discusses the importance of choosing the right vendor, noting that vendor reputation is one of the most important aspects of vendor-selection process for cloud projects. Furthermore, it suggests that project professionalsshould start by creating a risk registry that defines their concerns, including protection from hackers, location of the data, and user access and back-up options. The article then explains how organizations take their cloud risk-management strategies beyond the confines of the IT vendor relationship, crafting a cross-functional team that can make the necessary cultural shifts. It concludes by highlighting the importance of holding meetings to present the business case and reinforce stakeholder support, holding educational sessions, and establishing defined processes for cloud projects. Accompanying this article are four sidebars: The first identifies questions to ask when vetting cloud vendors; the second explores cloud computing projects initiated by the U.S. federal government; the third provides advice on addressing security concerns; and the fourth sidebar discusses the importance of defining the risks as well as the benefits of cloud projects.
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