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When CFOs take to the cloud

When CFOs take to the cloud

Finance chiefs in the thick of cloud deployments discuss why they took this route, and how other enterprises can learn from their experiences.

Sidebar: CFO’s cheat sheet for getting started with cloud computing

By Tom Powledge

First, take an active part in the discussion. Because the implications of cloud computing range beyond IT, the CFO should take an active part in the process from the beginning.

• Consider what information you are willing to put into the cloud, balancing risk with accessibility. Efficiency improves as your employees are able to access more information from more places, but be aware of the risks.

• Carefully evaluate cloud providers, particularly their security practices. The right provider should comply with all government and industry regulations, minimising compliance-related risks. Their service should not only serve your current needs, but it must be able to scale to fit future needs as well.

• Implement security measures specifically developed for the cloud environment. There are a growing number of vendor solutions that are well suited to the cloud. Deploying these in addition to traditional, locally implemented security gives you the best protection.

• When creating a service level agreement (SLA) with a cloud vendor, be sure it includes requirements regarding uptime and data recovery, as well as financial penalties for failure to meet the SLA. Network downtime can cost your company just as much as outright theft or fraud, whether through loss of sales or simply employee productivity, and you will need to carefully consider your level of risk.

Technology is rapidly becoming a driving force in all aspects of the corporate environment, and important decisions such as adopting cloud computing deserve the attention of more than IT administrators - the CFO should be involved in the process in order to communicate requirements, oversee the controls, ask for reports and ultimately take responsibility for the security of cloud vendors.

After all, the CFO is responsible for the financial reporting, controls and procedures for the whole organisation, and, if anything goes wrong, the audit committee will hold the CFO accountable. Network WorldSidebar: CFO’s cheat sheet for getting started with cloud computing

By Tom Powledge

First, take an active part in the discussion. Because the implications of cloud computing range beyond IT, the CFO should take an active part in the process from the beginning.

• Consider what information you are willing to put into the cloud, balancing risk with accessibility. Efficiency improves as your employees are able to access more information from more places, but be aware of the risks.

• Carefully evaluate cloud providers, particularly their security practices. The right provider should comply with all government and industry regulations, minimising compliance-related risks. Their service should not only serve your current needs, but it must be able to scale to fit future needs as well.

• Implement security measures specifically developed for the cloud environment. There are a growing number of vendor solutions that are well suited to the cloud. Deploying these in addition to traditional, locally implemented security gives you the best protection.

• When creating a service level agreement (SLA) with a cloud vendor, be sure it includes requirements regarding uptime and data recovery, as well as financial penalties for failure to meet the SLA. Network downtime can cost your company just as much as outright theft or fraud, whether through loss of sales or simply employee productivity, and you will need to carefully consider your level of risk.

Technology is rapidly becoming a driving force in all aspects of the corporate environment, and important decisions such as adopting cloud computing deserve the attention of more than IT administrators - the CFO should be involved in the process in order to communicate requirements, oversee the controls, ask for reports and ultimately take responsibility for the security of cloud vendors.

After all, the CFO is responsible for the financial reporting, controls and procedures for the whole organisation, and, if anything goes wrong, the audit committee will hold the CFO accountable. Network World

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