The Risk Of Cloud Upgrades…

Guy Bunker

So, you are using the cloud and all is going well. New upgrades to the software appear at regular intervals providing new functionality… all is going well. But what happens if something goes wrong? Twitter has just had such a problem, and it took down the service for many users. Who cares… it’s just Twitter?!?!? Well, quite a few companies have Twitter as a key part of their communication strategy these days, so when it’s down it does make a difference. However, the real issue here is the risk around upgrading cloud applications.

Obviously, the vendor doesn’t plan to make a mistake – but what if they do? What if it was your CRM system, or your ERP solution? In this particular instance, there were missing, late and/or duplicate entries… what would happen if this were your ERP system – could it handle the problems and more importantly would you know about it before the auditors!

Part of any risk analysis for the business needs to include the risks associated with 3rd party suppliers – and IT and data handlers are no exception. Service Level Agreements need to reflect these possibilities and potentially have clauses for reverting (quickly) to earlier versions, rather than bug-fixing on-the-fly to resolve issues. Now is the time to take a look at the contracts you have – and ask your supplier the questions… “What if an upgrade goes wrong?”

Guy Bunker


One Response to “The Risk Of Cloud Upgrades…”

  1. John on June 16th, 2010

    Absolutely – its no different from the risk that we all addressed by having strict change control processes internally.

    Just because an application is provided in the cloud doesn’t make it any different in terms of thinking about the importance of that application and the data in it to your business and the impact of an outage, how you/the supplier would respond to that and how you control any changes to minimise the risks. A large part of that is the trust and relationship you have with the supplier and what level of risk you are willing to take.

    If you can’t take that level of risk then you shouldn’t be using a free (or very cheap) cloud solution!

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