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Cloud Governance Explained: How To Create An Effective Governance Strategy

Understand the concept of cloud governance and how to implement governance solutions that work for your business.

Is your current cloud cost tool giving you the cost intelligence you need?  Most tools are manual, clunky, and inexact. Discover how CloudZero takes a new  approach to organizing your cloud spend.Click here to learn more.

One of the biggest benefits of the cloud is that it gives engineering teams the freedom to deploy and iterate applications quickly.

Unlike traditional IT environments where engineers require a series of approvals before embarking on projects, in the cloud, engineers can choose from several managed services and deploy them at the click of a button. This means your team can innovate faster and respond quickly to market demands.

But this advantage also presents unique challenges because, without the right tools in place, you could have a potentially chaotic cloud environment.

When you have hundreds of engineers developing, deploying, and building software as well as other groups working and interacting in the same cloud environment, things could quickly spiral out of control if you do not have any guardrails in place.

This is where cloud governance comes in. In this article, we’ll look at the definition of cloud governance and how you can implement solutions that ensure order in your cloud environment.

What Is Cloud Governance?

Cloud governance refers to the specific rules, regulations, or controls that guide the use of cloud services. Cloud governance focuses on the areas that could become problematic in the cloud if not properly managed, such as security risks, and defines actual controls to prevent negative outcomes.

Cloud governance balances freedom with control by defining and creating policies that mitigate risks and improve efficiency. In cloud governance, defining the rules is only part of the equation; enforcing the rules and ensuring that everyone working in the cloud environment adheres to them is equally important.

Cloud governance often focuses on the following areas:

  • Security - Implementing identity and access management policies ensures your cloud environment is properly configured at all times. The goal is to ensure that you’re not putting your customer’s data at risk or exposing your systems to hackers or other security dangers.
  • Costs - Creating tagging policies helps you keep track of your cloud assets, expenses, and budgets. When you implement an effective cloud governance strategy, you have a better understanding of how your costs map/relate to your business requirements, teams, features, and products, and the value that you're delivering. Out-of-control cloud costs are usually an indication of an ineffective cloud governance approach.
  • Operations - Having monitoring and tracking policies helps you stay informed when things go wrong. You need data to understand your cloud activities so you can troubleshoot problems when they occur. This area of cloud governance also involves checking the growth expectations you have for your team.

Choosing Cloud Governance Solutions: Key Points To Keep In Mind

The above are the most common areas of focus for cloud governance solutions. However, there are also solutions that try to do a little bit of everything — an approach that usually proves to be less efficient and effective.

Below are two important points to consider when choosing your cloud governance solutions.

1. Choose specialized tools

When implementing a cloud governance strategy or choosing cloud governance solutions, consider choosing a solution for a specific problem.

For example, if your goal is to monitor and control cloud costs, a general solution that tries to do it all may not have robust functionalities for managing your costs. Consider the best-of-breed solutions rather than a generalized solution. It’s also important to choose a tool that integrates with your software development process.

2. Leverage your cloud provider’s existing capabilities

A lot of cloud governance solutions offer capabilities that can now be replaced by those of the cloud provider, so you can get the same functionality at almost no cost.

Five years ago, when a lot of these solutions were created, that wasn’t always true. Today, however, most modern cloud providers have governance capabilities you should consider using.

When you need more advanced controls, you can then consider specialized tools.

Using Cost Control As A Cloud Governance Strategy

Cost is an important aspect of a lot of cloud computing activities. Cost data can help you identify significant issues in your cloud environment.

For example, in operations, mistakes can trigger a spike in costs, such as when assets or applications are not correctly configured. If you have cost anomaly detection in place, like the cost alerts sent via Slack by CloudZero, you can quickly detect when something goes wrong and fix it immediately.

Cost can also lead to security discoveries. For example, it is very common for hackers to set up coin mining operations in a compromised cloud environment. Mining activities cost a lot of money and can very quickly exceed your cloud budget if not detected. If you are monitoring costs, however, you can proactively detect these kinds of incidents.

Without cost insight, it’s difficult to make cost-effective decisions. Using cost as a cloud governance strategy can help you save hundreds or thousands of dollars over the life of a project. CloudZero’s cost intelligence solution empowers you with the insight you need to manage and stay in control of your cloud costs.

Schedule a demo today to learn more about how CloudZero helps you understand your cloud costs and improve your cloud governance strategy.

Erik Peterson

Author: Erik Peterson

Erik Peterson is the co-founder and CTO of CloudZero, is a software startup veteran, and has been building and securing cloud software for over a decade. Erik is a frequent speaker on FinOps, cloud economics, DevOps, and security.


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