The U.S. men’s basketball team suffering defeat, placing third even, at the 1988 Summer Olympics, in which the U.S. should unquestionably have dominated, renewed calls to use professional athletes in the games. The following year it was agreed, and U.S. basketball asked the NBA to supply players for the upcoming 1992 games in Barcelona. The Dream Team was assembled. What followed was a phenomenon like no one had anticipated. Of course the team swept the games and earned Olympic gold. The games, and the game of basketball, have never been the same.

What if your organization’s move to the cloud could be just as game-changing? To make it so, you need to assemble your own Dream Team for making the move. Who’s your Michael Jordan or Magic Johnson? Larry Bird? Or your Charles Barkley at the table for moving to the cloud?

Getting a team of the right players together from the onset, to discuss and debate the move all at the same time, can dramatically accelerate the discussion and get your business to the cloud sooner. I have talked to many, many customers over the years about adopting cloud services. Very often these conversations would uncover security blockers that were preventing enterprise customers from adopting the cloud. What I discovered after so many great meetings is exactly who needs to be on the Dream Team:

  • Your chief information security officer (CISO) or highest ranking security role in the organization. This person is responsible for defining the security policy, and signing off on the cloud security plan.
  • The chief information officer is the center on the team. This role helps balance the business realities with all the things the CISO and vice president of infrastructure might be concerned about, as well as ensuring legal sign off.
  • Chief privacy officer, or highest ranking privacy role. This person is responsible for your organization’s privacy policy. Privacy and security are typically two top-of-mind topics when organizations initially evaluate moving to the cloud, as well as two of the main principles of Microsoft’s Trusted Cloud.
  • Your organization’s general counsel, or highest ranking attorney. Because, let’s face it, very little is going to happen if legal doesn’t approve it. Attorneys who ultimately approve an organization’s cloud service contracts needs to understand the roles and shared responsibilities between cloud service providers and their organization to understand risks that might be important to the organization.
  • If the IT infrastructure team is separate from any of the teams led by the aforementioned leaders, be sure to include their leader as well because they will likely be part of the deployment. If their questions aren’t addressed up front, early in the evaluation process, the organization might procure a cloud service, but deployment could face lengthy delays.
  • In regulated industries, the highest ranking compliance officer needs also to be included. Ensuring that your organization’s compliance obligations are met by the cloud service(s) you are planning to use typically isn’t optional. Bringing your compliance officer on your cloud evaluation journey will help accelerate the process.

Getting this team into a room together, likely more than once, gets key questions answered quickly. It will also help the evaluation process stay on course if one of the organization’s leaders should change roles or leave the organization.

Magic Johnson famously commented after the 1992 Olympics, “I look to my right, there’s Michael Jordan … I look to my left, there’s Charles Barkley or Larry Bird … I didn’t know who to throw the ball to!” Everyone on your Cloud Dream Team has a key stake in the move. Frankly, many at the table are wondering what the other thinks, so it is best to get it all out in the open. This will eliminate second-guessing and accelerate getting all the answers to key questions. The longer it takes to get the team using the same play book, the harder it will be to start winning.

One factor in conversations about trusting the cloud that often gets overlooked is innovation. Security, privacy and compliance are very important considerations when evaluating cloud services. But, for those organizations already using the cloud, the pace of innovation they see compared with their own datacenters is typically one of the biggest benefits they tell me about. Don’t underestimate the importance of innovation, around security for example, when evaluating cloud services. Check out the number of security-related offerings on Microsoft’s cloud platform road map at any given time and you might be pleasantly surprised. The younger, up-and-coming companies I have talked with aren’t encumbered by an on-premises IT legacy. If you are watching the up-and-comers in your industry and others, like Michael Jordan studied the game tapes of the competition in the 1992 Olympics, you’ll notice that they are not held back by an on-premises past. For them there is no question about the clear advantages of a mobile-first, cloud-first world. These young organizations are far ahead in this regard.

So who’s on your Dream Team? Start assembling them and preparing to take advantage of the benefits of the cloud. To learn more, visit our Trusted Cloud website.

Tim Rains
Director, Security