By David Sebestyen
Clients that move their critical infrastructures, applications and data to the cloud enjoy a wide array of competitive advantages. Among the provable business benefits of cloud are scalability, flexibility, agility, better total cost of ownership (TCO), faster time to market, strategic advantage through technology, savings in capital expenditures, predictable operating costs and more. However with cloud, unlike with traditional IT, your clients no longer control many of the moving parts they rely on to run their business every day. Critical resources run in virtual environments, over long distances and sometimes distributed across providers, putting your client at the mercy of one or more cloud service providers. In the event of outages, service interruptions or chronic service issues, security breaches, climate events, billing or contract disputes and more, critical data and resources may be held hostage, rendered inaccessible or irretrievably lost. As a technology adviser, it is your job to help your clients mitigate this primary risk in the cloud and avoid undue dependency on any one infrastructure, service provider or point of failure.
As cloud technologies mature, TCO is becoming relatively easy to prove and success stories abound. However, taking clients to the cloud is not enough; we need to make sure they enjoy robust operational continuity and are reasonably hedged against the top predictable risk factors. Remember: Your success in the next decade is directly correlated with not only your clients’ adoption of cloud services, but with their long-term success using such services.
Since cloud delivery causes organizations to expand their operations beyond their own physical boundaries and engage in business process outsourcing (BPO), there is a set of easily identifiable business problems that give most of your clients and prospects pause. These issues include loss of control, security, operational integrity, business continuity, service provider health and risk diversification. Collectively, they constitute the primary sales objections to cloud migration. Meeting and managing these risks head-on increases clients’ comfort level with the cloud, leading to both a higher percentage of closed deals and successful implementations.
"Cloud assurance," or cloud-to-cloud continuity, is therefore emerging as the only convincing answer to these objections. Cloud assurance refers to the technologies, solutions, business processes and best practices that collectively mitigate your clients’ risks in the cloud and enhance your positioning as a strategic business adviser.
It is important to note that cloud assurance solutions are architected and in some cases even managed by third-party technology advisers and consultants that integrate technologies and “pair" one cloud service with another in an effort to mitigate a set of known risks for their clients. A trusted third party is the only entity that can properly address all of your clients' “what if" objections. This is especially true if you have gone beyond “happy meal" cloud sales and into more complex and/or up-market implementations.