CIOs Need To Plan For The End Of A Cloud Relationship

by drjim on April 23, 2014

Even cloud relationships have to come to an end sometime – are you ready?

Even cloud relationships have to come to an end sometime – are you ready?
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Since the cloud is a new and shiny thing in the world of IT departments, we are all excited about it because it now has a lot to do with the importance of information technology. Part of having the CIO job is spending your day thinking about how you can move more of the company’s applications into the cloud. However, it turns out that there is an aspect of this cloud stuff that CIOs have not been spending enough time thinking about: what to do when the relationship is over…

Problems With Breaking Up With Your Cloud Vendor

I’m pretty sure that we can all understand the excitement that CIOs feel as they prepare to move yet another company application into the cloud. The promise of reduced operating costs, fewer IT staff, and virtually unlimited growth all combine to make this seem like a no-brainer. However, what more and more CIOs are now discovering is that your relationship with your cloud vendor won’t last forever.

When you decide to bring a cloud based application back in house or switch it over to another cloud vendor, this is when problems can start to show up. The questions of just exactly who owns your data and what tools you are going to use to extract your data from the cloud need to be answered. These answers just might surprise you.

This all comes down to having a CIO do his or her due diligence before getting into bed with a cloud vendor. From the beginning CIOs need to be considering what it is going to take in order to be able to switch cloud vendors. If they don’t, then they just may discover that breaking up with their cloud vendor is more expensive, complicated, and painful than they expected.

Things To Consider Up Front

If we can all acknowledge that breaking up with your current cloud vendor can be a difficult thing to do, what steps should a CIO be taking right now? It all comes down to realizing that you may have a problem from the start. You are going to have to make sure that the breakup is covered in your contract with your cloud vendor.

Two of the key issues that you need to resolve with your cloud vendor right off the bat is who owns your data and how can you gain access to it. Another important question that many CIOs don’t think to work out is how many copies of your data that you would want to receive if you decided to move your data to another cloud vendor.

Your ultimate solution to this challenge needs to be done in multiple layers. What this means is that, of course, your contract with your cloud vendor needs to specify that you own your data and that you need to receive copies of it should the relationship end. However, you then need to go deeper. The contract needs to spell out how you physically get your data back, who pays for it, is it encrypted, and the form of the data and the file type that you’ll be receiving it in.

What All Of This Means For You

If you are in the CIO position, then you have undoubtedly gotten caught up in the “cloud madness” that is currently sweeping through the IT industry. We are all well aware of the benefits of moving our IT applications to the cloud. However, it turns out that we also need to spend time thinking about how we would go about switching cloud vendors.

When you switch cloud vendors, you are faced with the challenge of getting your company’s data out of their cloud so that you can move it to a new cloud. If you haven’t planned for this, then it could turn out to be expensive. When you’re setting up your cloud contract, make sure you specify how you’ll get your data, how many copies of your data you’ll get, and what format you’ll get it in.

The good news is that cloud vendors need you just as much as you need them. It’s not in their own best interest to part ways with you on bad terms. However, they are in business to make money and they’ll try to charge you to leave them. Work out the details when you two are still dating and when it comes time to break up the marriage, everything will go a lot smoother.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Department Leadership Skills™

Question For You: No cloud is static and when you add more things to your cloud, should you revisit the entire contract to make sure that you are still able to leave the vendor?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

It’s a fact of life that today’s smartphones are only as smart as the apps that we run on them. However, for the person who has the CIO job, that brings up a troubling question: just exactly what apps are the people in your company running on their company provided smartphones? For that matter, where did they get those apps from?

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