Race to the Cloud … Proceed with Caution

There are speed limits for most roads and waterways, with the caveat known well by all—one should drive only as fast as conditions allow. A great rule of thumb to avoid damage during driving, boating, and even technology adoption is to operate as the circumstances permit. Just as a road might have caution signs regarding weather or unexpected turns, those agencies that “race to the cloud” are cautioned to reduce their speed and review all the conditions that may impact an agency before just taking off like a muscle car on an open freeway. When a law enforcement executive is evaluating historical infrastructure for an IT vendor, the executive remains the driver, and the vendor is the car salesman and mechanic. When evaluating a move to the cloud, not only does the executive allow someone else to drive, but, in many cases, that person also is controlling the vehicle remotely rather than onboard. This approach makes the risk to the cargo—confidential data—entirely different than traditional infrastructure where, if there were issues, an executive could address the matter and exchange, repair, or otherwise solve the problem. Regardless of the situation, the executive remained in control. Given the technical and business realities of the cloud, that model is flipped, especially regarding risk, in that the executive sends his or her agency’s precious cargo to be controlled by a third party.