Project managers may find themselves operating in two broad types of clouds:
• Private: Private project management clouds are generally controlled, managed and hosted by an organization within a private data center. Restricted access to the cloud is for employees, customers or partners.
• Public: Public project management clouds are made available in a data center on pay per usage model to the public, organizations, etc. The IT infrastructure and project management applications in the public cloud are usually shared across multiple customers.
Some issues and challenges that project managers must be cautious of with these project management clouds:
1. Vulnerability to cyber attacks
To avoid cyber attacks and privacy issues, make sure any project management cloud applications, technologies and infrastructures include built-in security features.
Compliance with security standards and policies is a must, but is also expensive. Factor this security cost into your budgets.
2. Software and interface application programming risks
Project management application software and APIs developed to work with other applications expose clouds to malware attacks..
Lack of security in project management applications and databases are vulnerable to cyber attacks and may cause leakage of confidential information. That leads to heavy penalties and loss of image or credibility of the cloud provider.
Additionally, network bandwidth issues and failure to meet service level agreements also lead to penalties and loss of credibility.
3. Disaster recovery and business continuity
Customers will face serious issues if cloud providers don't have strong disaster recovery and business continuity procedures in place. Cloud providers should have regular dry runs for these risks.
4. Legal issues and penalties
Lack of knowledge of regulatory policies of various countries might lead to long legal battles. For example, some parts of the world consider it illegal if certain data is stored outside national borders.
For example, the European Union prohibits export of personal data unless the importing country "ensures an adequate level of protection," as certified by the EU Commission. Project managers have to understand the legal and regulatory policies of each country while using clouds.
5. Financial viability and stability of cloud providers
If a cloud provider is not financially sound, it could close its business or be acquired by another organization. Identify all the risks beforehand and be prepared with a mitigation plan.
6. Terms and conditions
Be completely aware of the terms and conditions mentioned in your contract with a cloud provider. Pay attention to security, data protection, IP protection, outages and business continuity.
If a cloud provider doesn't commit on these areas in the contract, find one who will.
7. Network incompatibility
Cloud computing networks built by customers may not be compatible with existing IT infrastructures of project management cloud providers. If networks aren't designed based on open standards, organizations will have integration challenges, so determine this beforehand.
8. Data security challenges
Review a cloud provider's data security measures to make sure project data is secure while transferring to/from cloud servers. The same goes for storing project data on cloud servers. Then perform regular audits on data security compliance.
9. Lack of standards
Cloud computing is an emerging area, thus the standards are also developing to have more interoperability.
Make sure a cloud provider has regular compliance checks for technology, service and security standards to upgrade their services.
What challenges have you faced within the cloud?
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