Reduce cloud complexity with a strategy that improves visibility

Anu Subramanian, CTO at CloudCheckr
Anu Subramanian, CTO at <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank' !important'>CloudCheckr</a>

Anu Subramanian, CTO at CloudCheckr

Nearly two-thirds of organizations anticipate a total migration to the public cloud in the next five years. While this trend has been in full swing for years, the global transition to remote and hybrid work accelerated the migration away from on-premise hardware and software, largely due to the flexibility and security of public cloud infrastructure and its accompanying services.

Public cloud continues to evolve how IT and development teams operate. But moving to the cloud — and the proactive management it takes to maintain it — presents challenges that are new for many organizations. To achieve the cost efficiencies and scalability that a public cloud infrastructure can provide, organizations need a cloud strategy with visibility at its core.

Common cloud challenges

Security concerns, compliance and a lack of application support are the top barriers to a rapid cloud migration. But organizations that are already in the cloud face myriad obstacles, too. For example, 93% of IT and business professionals encounter challenges with budgeting cloud costs. Data transfer, shadow IT and inaccurate forecasts can result in unexpected cloud costs, which crop up for 94% of organizations.

Visibility also remains a core issue in managing cloud infrastructure. Cloud visibility allows you to identify security gaps and provides a comprehensive view of resource utilization, yet many organizations lack full visibility. This oversight can lead to unnecessary cloud spend, significant security issues and even application performance issues.

Another factor contributing to cloud complexity is the organizational change it takes to migrate to and manage the cloud. As the cloud represents a larger portion of the IT environment, it’s becoming top of mind for more individuals in the organization. Decisions about who should have cloud access and who will be in charge of which functions can cause internal chaos if not dealt with upfront.

Cloud management best practices

In an IT landscape where organizations are flocking to the cloud, it’s critical to understand the nuances and complexities of managing cloud infrastructure. As you progress on your organization’s cloud journey, consider several tips for simplifying the complexities of cloud management:

• Create an internal cloud strategy. Migrating to the cloud is an ongoing process that requires a thorough strategy. You need to identify the various components of your strategy, both logistical and technical, and distribute responsibilities and tasks accordingly. Consider creating a cloud center of excellence (CCoE) — organizations with a CCoE team see better results than those with unorganized cloud expertise. Additionally, there are several questions you should ask to ensure alignment between your strategy and business goals: What business value are you expecting the cloud to unlock for your organization? What level of security do you need? What does success look like?

• Maintain visibility. Breaking down organizational silos is critical for more holistic governance and improved visibility. While individuals and teams require varying levels of visibility, the ability to seamlessly share information across teams is pivotal. For example, a security analyst needs access to the entire cloud, while a business executive might only need access to particular components relevant to their role. In addition, it’s important to have a centralized source of truth for cloud information so everyone is working off the same data with consistent metrics to measure results.

 Security concerns, compliance and a lack of application support are the top barriers to a rapid cloud migration 

Another crucial part of maintaining visibility involves the ability to visualize resource utilization and security checks. A lack of visibility into these areas can result in noncompliance and unexpected high costs that harm your bottom line. Working with a third-party cloud provider offers a centralized view of resource utilization, security information and applications.

• Optimize cloud usage and spend. There’s a major disconnect between IT and business professionals when it comes to how cloud costs are managed. Only 31% of IT and business stakeholders effectively monitor and optimize public cloud costs. It doesn’t have to be rocket science, but you do need a way to accurately track resource and security utilization — which is much easier to do with high levels of visibility.

One of the most effective ways to optimize cloud usage and spend is to allocate specific parts of the cloud build or governance strategy to the right teams. If you’re working with a cloud provider, you’ll want to find one that can help you optimize resource utilization. This is especially important with teams like DevOps or DevSecOps (e.g., if you identify a security issue, you need to designate the issue to the respective team for it to be resolved). By getting as specific as possible when allocating resources to teams, you can drive ownership and accountability because each team will know exactly which action items they’re responsible for — ultimately reducing costs.

Public cloud is quickly becoming a dominant player in the IT landscape. Across all industries, organizations using public cloud infrastructure are seeing cost reductions and the level of security needed in today’s digital landscape. But to get the most out of your cloud computing investments, you need to maintain visibility throughout each phase of your strategy.