7 questions every business leader needs to ask their CIO

In today’s digital workplace, data is your most important asset, and you need to understand how you can make the most out of your IT. But what you need to know can vary. Whether you’re prioritising the security of your day-to-day IT operations, or you’re ready for rapid growth, if you can trust your CIO, you don’t necessarily need to know everything about your IT.

But in an age of data-driven decision making, there are key elements of your IT you need to understand. Here are the 7 key questions to ask your CIO today.

1. How responsive are we to downtime?

IT downtime is estimated to cost UK businesses £2 billion a year. With new threats emerging every day, keeping a proactive cybersecurity mindset is key. But cyber threats are just one cause of downtime. Server outages, hardware failures and human error are just as likely to cause downtime.

Ask your CIO how you protect the business against IT downtime and review your approach regularly. Microsoft Azure users, for example, benefit from geo-replication and failover groups.

2. Is our data secure? If so, how?

Your CIO should understand the comprehensive security measures in place to protect your sensitive information. In an age of increasing threat and dependence on technology, secure data is essential.

Investors, prospective clients and customers are now aware of the data risks. You need to be able to answer questions about cybersecurity without referring to the handbook.

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3. Are we GDPR compliant?

On  25th May 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation will come into effect. Businesses that are non-compliant could face fines of up to four percent of their global turnover or €20 million (whichever is greater).

As a business leader, it’s up to you to ensure your business is GDPR compliant. Ask your CIO what your current compliance is and, given the severity of non-compliance, do what you can  to speed the process up.

4. Are we encrypting our cloud data?

Last year, it was estimated that 67 percent of enterprises had a hybrid-cloud strategy. While cloud vendors often provide easy ways  to encrypt data, on-premise servers do not.

If you’re a hybrid-cloud business, your cloud data will likely be encrypted thanks to tools like Microsoft Azure’s Key Vault.  It’s your on-premise data that is your biggest threat.

5. Should we be deploying virtual desktops?

By 2020,  half of the UK workforce will be working remotely. With flexible working becoming the norm in business, it’s important to know that your technology is readily available outside the office. Ask your CIO about how you can deploy virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI).

VDI let’s your employees load up their ‘virtual office’ from any machine without compromising security. By managing subscriptions from the source, you can maintain data compliance and keep sensitive information off user devices and stored safely in your cloud portal.

6. How can we get the most out of our data?

One of the greatest benefits to cloud deployment is transparent data analysis. Microsoft Azure, for example, has developed easy-to-understand analysis tools like Power BI.

Make sure that your business is getting the most out of the data it’s collecting and understand how to turn insight into action.

7. How quickly can our IT scale?

In times of economic turbulence, scaling up or down quickly is critical to business success. Ask your CIO if your IT is ready to adapt to fast-pace business changes, and vice versa.

Cloud vendors often deploy a pay-what-you-use subscription model that allows you to quickly set up and remove users without paying for more than you need.

Keep ahead of the curve

Business IT is forever changing. Given its correlation to business success today, you need to be deploying IT in the most efficient, adaptive way possible.

With compliance, data security risks and economic turbulence to battle, turn to the cloud and deploy virtual desktops for absolute agility without compromising security.

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