Hyperscalers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and Alibaba offer a compelling package for scalable data hosting. But migrating your business’s data to a hyperscaler is more than a mere technical exercise, since binding contractual obligations and data protection requirements provide legal constraints that must be dealt with.
A people, process, and technology challenge
Your Chief Technology Officer (CTO) may see data migration as a mainly technical exercise. They may start with people: creating a project team comprising Operations, IT/Security, Compliance, Finance, Tax etc., assigning a dedicated project manager to help keep track of milestones and dependencies, and coordinate the project. The project team will then create a plan, listing all the processes and dependencies, and then look for the appropriate collaboration, workflow and reporting technology to facilitate the project. All of these are valid, and necessary, but if the team does not involve the legal department from the start, they may face unexpected roadblocks along the way, resulting in unnecessary delays.
A legal perspective
There are several considerations when the legal team starts planning the project. One of the first questions they will have is about how the data migration to a hyperscaler relates to the company’s legal and contractual obligations with their business partners, such as customers or suppliers. In other words: Can you just “go for it” or will a smooth and legally safe migration depend on you informing – or even obtaining prior consent from – the business partners? Two key considerations are contractual obligations and data protection.
Migration will typically require the review, and potential amendment, of contracts with business partners. Depending on your business model, the number of contracts to be reviewed can be substantial. The categories of People – Process – Technology will help structure your thinking: