September 30, 2020//Tony HowlettLast Updated: January 15, 2021
To cloud or not to cloud? That seems to be the question for every IT system these days and vendor management is no exception. The benefits of cloud which include cost savings, expensing IT versus capital expenditures and the scalability of cloud often make it highly attractive to IT managers and CFOs. However, there are some unique challenges to migrating a vendor access management system into the cloud. There may be physical connection requirements or regulatory pushback as well as the longer-term costs associated with cloud (a perpetual payment versus one and done with hardware). In this post, I’ll go over some of the conditions where a cloud deployment may make sense as well as some of the challenges or issues that may prevent it.
First of all, if most or all of the resources that third parties will be accessing are already in the public cloud, then a cloud deployment makes a lot of sense. Your vendor management appliance can be installed on the same cloud facilities that those servers use, making access times fast and configurations easy. Even if you have a hybrid cloud/on-premises architecture, it may still make sense since the cloud appliance can still manage all third-party connections with some onsite gatekeepers needed for accessing internal LANs. Housing your vendor management in the cloud can greatly simplify network configuration and locate it closer to where the servers being accessed are.
Another situation where a cloud deployment may make sense is if you have a widely distributed network with sites across the globe. Putting your vendor management system in the cloud may allow you to locate that system closer to the sites being accessed or even deploy multiple appliances to serve different regions. The public cloud offers a more economically feasible way of doing this rather than having to install physical servers in other countries.
Also, if you don’t have the staff to manage the hardware and operating system (OS) of a vendor management appliance or would just rather not have to allocate those resources, having a fully managed cloud vendor management system can lighten that load. This allows you to get the immediate benefits of the system for your vendor managers without having to deal with infrastructure which is kind of the concept of cloud computing in general.
Of course, there are plenty of scenarios where cloud doesn’t make sense for a vendor management system. One would be that you don’t have a significant cloud presence already. Adding cloud servers to your topology could be more complex than you need. You may also have sufficient or excess staff and data center capacity to host the server yourself. Such companies may want to take advantage of internal resources versus outsourcing management of that system.
Finally, if you have strict regulations or regulatory oversight, you may be limited in what kind of cloud facilities you can use and what you can deploy in the cloud. It doesn’t mean you should not consider a cloud for your vendor management system. Many highly regulated industries use cloud and there are compliant and secure ways to do it. But know that it may create additional compliance hoops you have to jump through.
Whether you decide to deploy your vendor management system on-prem or in the cloud, it’s important to choose the option that makes the most sense for you and your company. Make sure to talk about and walk through your different options before signing your name on the dotted line. To learn more about your options, check out our helpful blog that goes through the importance of choice as to how you deploy your vendor access management platform.