How to convince your boss to adopt the cloud? Remind them a 'galactically large' gang of bad guys is out to get them, suggests Steven Sinofsky

By Peter Gothard
05 Sep 2014 View Comments
Steven Sinofsky was formerly president of Windows at Microsoft

Box adviser and ex-Windows president Steven Sinofsky suggests the best way for a CIO to convince senior executives to adopt cloud storage and collaboration is to argue that an on-premise business is "not equipped to do security battled with nation states", and to remind sceptics that "it's you against a galactically large international community of bad guys".

Sinofsky's advice came at a CIO discussion panel during Box's BoxWorks 2014 conference in San Francisco after a delegate raised the point that trying to convince C-level executives to take on services such as Box led to a conversation in which a CIO could enter "this paradox where you're undermining your own credibility" in suggesting that on-premise data centres are insecure.

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"It's okay to say, ‘The bad guys are really really bad, and I'm not equipped as a company to do security battles with nation states'," said Sinofsky.

"That's effectively what everyone is now up against. If you store credit card [details], it's you against a galactically large international community of bad guys."

Symantec CIO Sheila Jordan added that it would be better to "change the conversation".

"I wouldn't be arguing [against your current solution]. Cloud is not nirvana - let's be very clear about that," said Jordan.

"Business leaders want something - maybe it's a content system that works faster, and you could say, ‘Here's all the use cases we can deliver' - that's the argument. I'd take it out of comparing technologies, and talk about delivering a more secure, faster and cheaper solution."

US government General Services Administration CIO Sonny Hashmi agreed, stating:

"It's not a security issue, or a technology discussion. The argument I make is the world has moved beyond us. We've done a great job for the last 20 years, but now the world has moved way past us."

Hashmi raised the issue of consumerisation, suggesting that 10 years ago, when business IT was far superior to that available to an end user, the CIO could say: "This is as good as it gets."

"Now people know better - they have better iPhone apps than they have enterprise software," he said.

"So you can say, ‘Hey boss, we don't need to buy $20m of assets to enable us now'."

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