Reducing Risk with Cloud Governance Framework

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More than 90 percent of businesses have adopted a multi-cloud strategy to support remote and hybrid work models, enhance collaboration and improve business resilience. However, some businesses are experiencing unexpected challenges as they move more workloads off-premises.

Budget overruns, manual processes, complex workflows, tool sprawl, configuration errors and heightened security risks are among the factors complicating cloud initiatives. In a 2021 survey of IT decision-makers in the U.S. and U.K., more than 70 percent said such challenges led them to move at least one workload or application back in-house.

Very often, problems stem from a poorly developed cloud strategy. Industry surveys find that only about a quarter of companies have a formal cloud strategy, and nearly half acquire cloud resources on an ad hoc basis. Such a piecemeal approach makes it nearly impossible for IT organizations to effectively track and manage cloud resources.

A cloud governance program can create the framework for effectively addressing these challenges. It establishes the rules, policies and processes that formalize how an organization will access, use and retire cloud resources. Such oversight is essential for managing risk, controlling costs and supporting business requirements.

There are several cloud governance frameworks that organizations can use to establish a structured approach to cloud. Microsoft’s Cloud Adoption Framework is a widely adopted approach. Here’s a summary of the framework’s five disciplines of cloud governance:

  1. Cost Management. Cloud comprises nearly half of the average company’s technology spend in 2022, but research suggests that a third of cloud spend is wasted on overprovisioning resources to ensure application availability. Organizations must develop processes for continuously evaluating cloud costs and utilization rates, as well as mitigation strategies to ensure they don’t exceed their spending targets.
  2. Security Baseline. Increased use of cloud applications and services can introduce new security risks. Identifying those risks and establishing processes and procedures for addressing them should be a top priority for any organization. To ensure consistent application of security controls, organizations should conduct quarterly reviews of security audit data and incident reports and update policies as necessary to address new threats.
  3. Identity Baseline. Poor visibility into sprawling multi-cloud environments increases the risk of data breaches and leaks. Identity management solutions provide greater control over who is accessing cloud resources by applying authentication and authorization criteria across the cloud environment. Violations of identity policy should trigger automated mitigation responses such as blocking access or disabling accounts.
  4. Resource Consistency. Cloud resources such as applications, servers, virtual machines (VMs), development tools and data storage must be configured, deployed and managed consistently to minimize risk. Users often introduce vulnerabilities by trying to personalize their cloud experience with plug-ins or setting changes that aren’t approved or tracked. Repeatable processes reduce that risk, while also ensuring that all resources are discoverable by IT operations and included in backup and recovery solutions.
  5. Deployment Acceleration. Closely related to resource consistency, deployment acceleration refers to the use of scripts, templates and other automation tools to enable fast, accurate and consistent configuration and deployment of cloud resources. Automation and orchestration tools allow IT teams to automate tasks such as sizing, provisioning and configuring VMs, load balancing VM clusters, identifying and shutting down unused instances, verifying the security of storage buckets, and performing regular backups.

There’s no denying the business benefits of a multi-cloud strategy, but those benefits can be difficult to achieve without a formal plan. Technologent’s cloud experts can help you minimize risk, reduce spending and create consistency with a formal cloud governance program for provisioning, configuring and accessing cloud resources. Contact us to learn more.

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