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Knowing Your Cloud Infrastructure Partners

In the fast-paced world of cloud computing, technology leader Tom Keane emerges as a guiding voice, advocating for businesses to exercise prudence when selecting their infrastructure partners. With a distinguished 20-year career at Microsoft, where he held various leadership roles in global infrastructure and spearheaded the company's cloud computing platform, Azure, Keane was pivotal in driving worldwide cloud adoption and facilitating seamless transitions from legacy systems to agile cloud-based solutions.

While Keane remains a staunch advocate for the cloud's transformative benefits, he emphasizes business leaders need to conduct thorough due diligence in launching tech initiatives or embarking on cloud-based digital transformations. His focus centers on the critical importance of evaluating external vendors, third-party partnerships, and overseas collaborations. Keane raises essential questions regarding the storage, processing, accessibility, and security of operational data and the operation and maintenance of mission-critical infrastructures. Safeguarding sensitive data and systems becomes paramount, necessitating an examination of standards, safeguards, and vendor risk mitigation policies.

Keane highlights the early challenges faced in onboarding users and businesses to the cloud during its nascent adoption stages. However, the allure of the cloud's scalable computing power, cost reduction, and accelerated development timelines empowered forward-thinking business leaders to gain a significant digital advantage over their competitors.

The global cloud infrastructure, comprising an intricate tapestry of data centers, computing resources, fiber optic cables, and space-based assets, is owned by numerous entities worldwide. Keane underscores the imperative of comprehending the network's composition, locations, and adherence to standards, guidelines, and regulatory frameworks to construct a secure digital infrastructure.

Addressing data sovereignty and privacy concerns in cross-border business transactions, Keane sheds light on the complexity of working with vendors and providers in different jurisdictions. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) mandates cloud service providers to disclose subprocessors with client data access. However, challenges remain in finding comprehensive information and enforcing preventive actions when subprocessors are deemed untrustworthy.

Keane advocates for robust vendor risk management (VRM) practices to mitigate these challenges. VRM empowers businesses to identify and mitigate risks associated with vendors, suppliers, and partners, ensuring financial security, operational integrity, and compliance with standards and regulations. By aligning VRM policies with industry-specific control frameworks, businesses can enhance security, reduce redundancies, improve vendor transparency, and minimize risks.

Despite the risks inherent in outsourcing cloud infrastructures and partnering with specialized providers, Keane underscores the potential for businesses to leverage agile, reliable resources while reducing operational costs. However, organizations must implement robust risk identification, assessment, and mitigation policies, incorporating well-defined data storage, access, security protocols, comprehensive contracts, and compliance with data sovereignty regulations.

Keane's expertise shines as he instills confidence in the future of cloud-enabled growth and innovation. By embracing effective VRM practices, businesses can navigate the cloud landscape with resilience, harnessing its transformative potential while ensuring the security, reliability, and compliance necessary for success in the digital age. Full article:

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