Resiliency issues? Cloud and culture can help solve them


Resiliency issues? Cloud and culture can help solve them

Culture & Talent view

The current pandemic has disrupted almost every facet of operations for many organizations. It has changed the way they think about, organize, and carry out their business, and it has required them to become more resilient than ever.

A blog post by Myke Miller, Cloud Engineering managing director, Deloitte Consulting LLP and Dean of the Deloitte Cloud Institute.

There are two keys to resiliency: Cloud and culture. By leveraging the power of cloud to decouple people and processes from location—and to boost their information security—organizations can build resiliency into their operations. By changing their culture to foster communication and collaboration, companies can build resiliency into their DNA.

Culture & Talent view

Cloud-enabled resiliency

Resiliency isn’t just required for surviving the pandemic era. It’s required for operating effectively in any catastrophic situation—flood, tornado, terrorist attack, etc.—and it’s about having the infrastructure in place to operate through the catastrophe. That’s where organizations that have embraced the cloud have an advantage. To function in a catastrophe—be it long or short term—requires high levels of systems redundancy and operational flexibility that non-cloud organizations simply do not have.

There’s a whole slew of challenges that cloud helps solve to make organizations more resilient. Take distributed, scalable operations for example. When there’s a catastrophe, there’s typically a change in operational needs as well as data traffic patterns. That shift impacts all the network architecture assumptions that companies have made for decades—especially in the current pandemic where companies had to shift to a remote work model, seemingly overnight.

Cloud and operational resilience

Cloud is exceptionally well-suited to enable companies to deal with shifts in operations and data traffic patterns. For example, content delivery networks, which are the unsung heroes of cloud infrastructure, enable companies to deliver content close to the edge. With cloud, content delivery can be scaled up and distributed as needed. In fact, it can be almost workload independent, especially in terms of voice, video, and data flow over a network infrastructure.

How does that play out in real life? Call centers provide a great example. Large companies may have automatic call distribution or interactive voice response systems that handle calls to their call centers. Typically, these call centers are on-premise or located statically off-premise. However, in a catastrophic situation, it’s often crucial to be able to shift operations, and call centers are no exception.

With cloud-enabled call-center operations, it’s relatively simple to set up a distributed call center that routes calls to agents, no matter their location. That produces resilience. Call center agents are no longer tied to a physical location, and operations can proceed as normal—or as nearly normal as possible, given the particulars of the situation.

It’s the same with remote workers in other functions. During the lockdown imposed by the pandemic, organizations who’ve embraced the cloud have had an easier time transitioning to a remote workforce and supporting their workers, while maintaining security and employee connectedness, no matter their location. Cloud enables this level of support because it doesn’t require workers to be at a physical location to access the data and applications they need to do their jobs.

Cloud and security

Aside from boosting operational capabilities, cloud can also help with security during periods of uncertainty—as in a catastrophe or pandemic. Cloud-enabled security helps in two areas: Infrastructure and people. From security in the physical cloud facilities, to the way the servers are managed and network infrastructure is supported, the cloud is a physically-secure environment.

But more than that, the people who manage security in the cloud know their stuff. It’s their job, full-time, to ensure that cloud security is top-notch and that bad actors are rooted out and defended against. And they learn from the collective experience of all their clients—which is something that individual organizations just can’t do.

However, there is a caveat. It’s essential to understand who’s responsible for what, vis-à-vis cloud security. The cloud is a shared security model, so, from a roles and responsibilities perspective, access to data and applications in cloud is a client-side responsibility. Companies still need identification and access management policies in place that enable them to deploy applications in a secure fashion.

Culture-enabled resiliency

Resiliency transcends technology, though. As with most successful initiatives, the drive for resiliency starts at the top. Transparent communications from leadership to all levels of the organization is essential. Developing the ability to collaborate via digital channels is absolutely critical—in a crisis people want to see their leadership, even if it’s just over a screen. They want reassurance that there is a semblance of normal. That starts at the top.

But it’s more than communication. The executive team needs to empower the workforce to operate independently and dynamically and to build bridges rather than silos. DevOps comes into to play here, with its technical and cultural methodology that facilitates the ability to plan dynamically, draw the right resources at right moment in time, and eliminate hierarchies as much as possible.

The very nature of DevOps is to operate cross-silo. Having this agile, cross-silo mentality is key to success, because it takes a team, with the same information and the same goals, to develop the financial, facilities, and operations planning that goes into cloud operations and building resiliency off the back of that. But remember, you can have all the cool collaborative tools and still not get it right. Resiliency is an attitude, a culture. Tools can help, but it’s really about developing a culture that enables dynamic decision making at a team level.

The big picture

Resiliency doesn’t just happen. Cloud helps build resilience through its capability to distribute workloads and operational capabilities, but resiliency is also built through changing the organizational culture to work as a team to accomplish and service shared goals. It’s about relationships and processes—about looking at problems—even if they’re catastrophic and saying, “How can we fix it, or operate through it.” That’s resilience.

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