Risk e-Views Vol 19 May 2012 – Risk Leadership: Entering the Cloud

Entering the cloud is easy for some and much, much, much more of a step outside the comfort zone for others. Which is it for you and why?


“The cloud” to be clear (sorry about the pun) is either storing data, accessing an application, or both, on servers outside of your organisation. The servers may be down the street, may be across the country or may be 10,000 kilometres away in a different legal jurisdiction. Each has its own unique set of risks. If it is down the street, are they on the same electricity grid or subject to the same exposure to natural hazards as my own servers? If in another country, do I have any hope of exercising legal action to protect my rights if it all goes wrong?


Who should it be easy for?

It seems to be a case of “big is bad” and “small is wonderful”. If you are a small business you get tremendous benefits from entering the cloud. You have access to data and applications anytime, anywhere. More importantly you can look, feel and operate like a large business with backup of data, synchronisation of devices and access to online support. You are a small, nimble and progressive business with a relatively small fee to pay for a big business look and feel for your systems.


Who is it difficult for?

If you are big business, you have much more to lose. The reputation damage from your systems being offline, corrupted or illegally accessed can be immense if your competitors are in a position to take advantage of the publicity.


Can the benefits outweigh the risk of reputation damage?

Yes it can. Think of cost savings, productivity and speed to market. Sometimes, by taking the plunge into the cloud, you can establish a competitive advantage that could be sustained until the next generation system is introduced by people focussed solely on systems while you focus on your business.