Services

8 tips for improving your risk profile in a cloudy environment

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James Sankar

By James Sankar, Director AARNet Enterprise Services Consulting

 

Managing the risks associated with outsourcing IT services to the cloud is vital.

Here are some tips to improve your risk profile by adopting a range of business continuity suggestions and provisions:

 

1. Proactively design with resiliency in mind

Carefully select resiliency features for infrastructure and setup at alternative sites.

2.Think about when an IT operational issue becomes a disaster or a ‘Disaster’ is actually only an operational issue

Working through that detail is likely to save you from the costs of mobilising teams too quickly or not reacting quickly enough, and losing value time to respond.

3. Explore and test your crisis management and crisis command management capability

Are you taking advantage of the latest available cost effective communications systems?

4. Test IT Disaster Plans with IT Services

Move beyond isolated incidents to connected incidents and definitely explore an inaccessible data centre scenario in detail. Bring in external IT experts to assess your IT effectiveness and impact.

5. Make sure you know your last data point (when you last backed up your data)

Be clear on how long you can continue with manual workarounds before access to that data becomes imperative to maintain your business operations.

6. Test cloud service provider disaster recovery plans; assess their SLAs

Consider what would happen if the Cloud Provider went offline or went out of business, what are the impacts and options for your business?

7. Seek out like-minded partners, even competitors, for sharing infrastructure in the event of a disaster

An in-principle agreement costs nothing but can provide you with options when you most need it.

8. Address the loss of key people

Many institutions do have experienced staff with lots of knowledge buried in their heads or rely on outside consultants and experts. Encouraging these busy people to participate in business continuity tests, even as the observer in the role, to encourage greater staff rotation and succession planning can lower business continuity risks.

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