Five questions to ask about cloud governance

ISACA, a nonprofit, independent association of more than 100,000 governance, risk, security and assurance professionals worldwide, has issued new guidance outlining key questions for boards of directors to ask to ensure their enterprise’s cloud initiative is in line with business objectives and the organisation’s risk tolerance.

“Board members need a clear understanding of cloud computing benefits and how to maximise them through effective governance practices,” said Marc Vael, CISA, CISM, CGEIT, CISSP, an ISACA board member and chief IT audit executive at Smals.“This requires the board to see cloud computing not as an IT project, but rather as a business strategy.”

 According to ISACA’s Cloud Governance:  Questions Boards of Directors Need to Ask, boards should address the following five questions to determine the strategic value that cloud services are expected to provide and the impact that the cloud may have on resources and controls:

1.       Do management teams have a plan for cloud computing? Have they weighed the value and opportunity costs?

2.       How do current cloud plans support the enterprise’s mission?

3.       Have executive teams systematically evaluated organisational readiness? For example, are the right skills available? Do cloud processes conflict with other established processes? Do cloud plans conflict with enterprise culture?

4.       Have management teams considered what existing investments might be lost in their cloud planning? Does the adoption of a cloud service nullify already-made technology investments that have not reached their planned end date, and is that noted and approved?

5.       Do management teams have strategies for measuring and tracking the value of cloud return vs. risk?

“The answers to these questions will help determine the enterprise’s readiness to adopt cloud computing and also help ensure that the necessary governance is in place,” said Vael. “The COBIT 5 framework for governance and management of IT can also help enterprises manage investments such as cloud services. COBIT 5 helps ensure consistent practices to maximise value and manage risk.”

 ISACA’s white paper, “Cloud Governance:  Questions Boards of Directors Need to Ask,” is available as a free download at The COBIT 5 framework is a free download at

This topic will also be discussed at ISACA’s upcoming Oceania CACS2013 conference. Held at the Adelaide Convention Centre from 23-25 September 2013, the conference will feature industry experts from Australia, New Zealand and around the world who will present their latest thinking, research and practical experience in topical presentations and workshops.

For more information on the Oceania CACS2013 conference, including registration details, please visit: For more information about ISACA, please visit