A Methodology for Assessing Cloud Adoption Dangers

The transfer to a cloud surroundings gives vital advantages. For instance, cloud sources might be scaled shortly, up to date ceaselessly, and extensively accessed with out geographic limitations. Realizing these advantages, nonetheless, requires organizations to handle related organizational and technical dangers successfully. This weblog publish presents a prototype set of cloud adoption threat components and describes a way that managers can make use of to evaluate their cloud initiatives towards these threat components. This publish is customized and excerpted from a not too long ago printed white paper. It additionally builds on foundational work that’s introduced in an SEI weblog publish on cloud migration dangers, threats, and vulnerabilities and an SEI technical report on cloud safety greatest practices.

Downside Area

Cloud adoption impacts many enterprise models throughout a corporation and may change how these enterprise models function. Senior leaders should stability quite a lot of stakeholder pursuits, alternatives, dangers, and points. Expertise builders would possibly need instant entry to new applied sciences or providers. On the similar time, finance managers would possibly favor initiatives that scale back prices and supply a excessive return on funding. If left unchecked, these competing objectives can stop a corporation from optimizing its funding in cloud computing.

In some organizations, managers of enterprise models have the authority to constitution cloud initiatives based mostly on the wants of their models. In such instances, a cloud initiative would possibly align with a enterprise unit’s parochial objectives. If these native advantages don’t align with the group’s enterprise technique and objectives the general group may not obtain the advantages that senior administration needs. This misalignment of group and business-unit objectives, and the dearth of a coordinated governance, can put cloud adoption in danger.

Quite a lot of organizational and technical components can adversely have an effect on a corporation’s cloud initiative. Organizational components embrace an inadequate organizational cloud technique, ill-defined organizational roles and duties, inadequate technical talent set, and poor change administration practices. Technical components embrace insufficient structure and design; poor integration of on-premises and cloud applied sciences; and cloud service that lacks wanted agility, availability, and safety properties. Managers want an efficient method to assess dangers that may have an effect on a profitable adoption of cloud providers.

Mission Threat Diagnostic (MRD) Methodology

For the reason that early Nineties, the SEI has carried out analysis and improvement in threat administration and has utilized threat administration strategies, instruments, and strategies throughout the software program lifecycle (together with acquisition, improvement, and operations) and provide chain. As well as, previous SEI analysis examined numerous kinds of threat, together with software program improvement threat, system acquisition threat, operational threat, mission threat, cybersecurity engineering threat, incident administration threat, and info safety threat. A key results of our analysis into the observe of threat administration was the event of the Mission Threat Diagnostic (MRD) methodology, which is a mission-oriented strategy for assessing threat in mission threads, enterprise processes, and organizational initiatives.

The overarching purpose of the MRD methodology is to find out the extent to which a mission thread, enterprise course of, or organizational initiative is positioned to attain its mission goal(s). So far, we’ve got piloted the MRD in software program acquisition and improvement, cybersecurity incident administration, software program safety, software program supply-chain, and enterprise portfolio administration, amongst others. This weblog publish describes how we’re proposing to use the MRD to the adoption of cloud providers.

An MRD evaluation sometimes requires an evaluation group to judge 15-25 threat components for a given set of aims. A query for every threat issue is documented in a format prescribed in the MRD methodology description. Every threat query is a sure/no query that’s phrased from the success perspective. For instance, one of many MRD questions for cloud adoption is: Does the group’s enterprise case justify the choice to maneuver to the cloud?

Respondents can choose one of many following decisions for an MRD query:

  • Sure— The reply is sort of actually “sure.” Nearly no uncertainty exists. There may be little or no likelihood that the reply might be “no.” (~ > 95% likelihood of sure)
  • Seemingly sure—The reply is most definitely “sure.” There may be some probability that the reply might be “no.” (~ 75% likelihood of sure)
  • Equally seemingly—The reply is simply as more likely to be “sure” or “no.” (~ 50% likelihood of sure)
  • Seemingly no—The reply is most definitely “no.” There may be some probability that the reply might be “sure.” (~ 25% likelihood of sure)
  • No—The reply is most definitely “no.” There may be some probability that the reply might be “sure.” (~ < 5% likelihood of sure)

The rationale for the response to every driver query must also be documented because it captures the explanation why the response was chosen. Any proof supporting the rationale, such because the outcomes of interviews with system stakeholders and data cited from system documentation, must also be cited. Recording the rationale and proof is essential for validating the information and related info merchandise, for historic functions, and for creating classes realized.

Cloud Adoption Threat Components

We’ve got developed a prototype set of 24 threat components for cloud adoption. They have been developed utilizing printed cloud-adoption reviews and frameworks, in addition to enter from individuals with experience in cloud adoption. Contemplate these threat components to be a starter set that may be tailor-made to distinctive environments. Threat components that share widespread organizational and administration attributes are assigned to a typical space. We established the next areas for the MRD cloud adoption threat components:

  • planning and preparation
  • governance and administration
  • organizational functionality
  • surroundings
  • engineering lifecycle
  • high quality of service

Assigning threat components to areas facilitates leveraging widespread threat mitigation actions based mostly on shared threat traits. The rest of this weblog publish describes the danger components and related MRD questions for every space.

Planning and Preparation

The profitable adoption of cloud applied sciences begins with a corporation’s planning and preparation actions. Efficient planning and preparation present a strong basis for a cloud initiative by guaranteeing that the group has enough funding and sources in place to assist the cloud initiative. The Planning and Preparation space contains the next threat components and related MRD questions:


Governance and Administration

Governance focuses on the alignment of the group’s IT technique and objectives with its enterprise technique and objectives. An efficient governance program is designed to maximise the enterprise worth of IT investments whereas minimizing the related dangers. Administration is the coordination and administration of duties to attain enterprise objectives. A company’s administration actions have to be applied in accordance with the group’s system of governance guidelines, practices, and processes. The Governance and Administration space contains the next threat components and related MRD questions:


Organizational Functionality

Organizational functionality is the distinctive mixture of individuals, processes, and applied sciences that differentiates a corporation and allows it to execute its technique. A company’s capabilities allow it to carry out a coordinated set of duties, using organizational sources, for the aim of attaining a selected set of enterprise aims. For cloud adoption, the capabilities of curiosity allow the event and implementation of a scientific framework for adopting cloud providers. The Organizational Functionality space contains the next threat components and related MRD questions:



A company’s surroundings consists of inner and exterior situations that affect a corporation’s efficiency, operations, and sources. Inside situations embrace the group’s construction, tradition, and politics, in addition to its communication infrastructure. Exterior situations embrace any constraints {that a} program inherits from its mother or father group(s) or from the broader enterprise surroundings. Constraints can embrace restrictions imposed by legal guidelines and rules, in addition to limitations with providers offered by third events. The Surroundings space encompass the next threat components and related MRD questions:


Engineering Lifecycle

Threat components for a cloud initiative want to deal with each organizational and technical points that may have an effect on the initiative’s potential for achievement. Till this level, we’ve got centered on organizational threat components associated to preparation and planning, governance and administration, group functionality, and surroundings. We now flip our consideration towards the technical points, starting with the engineering lifecycle threat components. The engineering lifecycle addresses the phases of a system’s improvement, together with idea improvement, necessities, structure, implementation, take a look at and analysis, deployment, operations, and disposal. Technical points associated to the lifecycle embrace lacking or incomplete necessities, insufficient structure, poor integration of on-premises and cloud applied sciences, and insufficient operational assist for cloud applied sciences. The Engineering Lifecycle space contains the next threat components and related MRD questions:


High quality-of-Service

High quality-of-service (QoS) describes or measures how effectively cloud providers are anticipated to fulfill the wants and necessities of customers throughout operations. This space examines dangers which might be inherent within the technical resolution offered by a venture or initiative. The QoS service threat components give attention to the correctness and completeness of the applied technical resolution. For a cloud initiative, QoS addresses the efficiency and performance offered by a cloud surroundings, in addition to high quality attributes, similar to availability and safety. The High quality-of-Service space contains the next threat components and related MRD questions:


Piloting the MRD for Cloud Adoption

The cloud adoption threat components described above are a protype set that have been developed utilizing printed info on cloud adoption frameworks and enter from SEI technical employees who’ve expertise with each cloud computing and know-how adoption initiatives. So far, these threat components haven’t been piloted within the area. Those that intend to use the danger components on this publish needs to be conscious that the components haven’t been vetted within the area by SEI builders. Nonetheless, the danger components do incorporate info from dependable sources, together with Amazon, Microsoft, and Google.

We view the publication of this weblog and related white paper as an preliminary step within the improvement of cloud adoption threat components quite than the fruits of our work on this space. A possible subsequent step is to pilot the present model of the MRD for cloud adoption with organizations that plan to undertake cloud providers. Future improvement and transition actions will in the end be decided by the suggestions that we obtain from individuals all through the group. Irrespective of which transition actions are applied, we consider that the content material introduced on this weblog will assist organizations to handle their dangers extra successfully as they plan and handle the adoption of cloud applied sciences.

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