Cloud is aiding more and more companies in digital transformation and illustrating good ROI. But all that can change if you have a messy, mismanaged, and disorganized cloud infrastructure which will increase expenses and hamper the ROI. Every business picks a different path when it comes to cloud adoption. Some are novices, learning the gears while some of them are at the advanced stage, utilizing the power of the cloud to the max. Businesses with more complex operations need a cloud governance framework to run their operations smoothly, avoiding technological hurdles.
Cloud governance framework is basically a set of protocols and guidelines that will ensure that your cloud functions are on track and are working competently, providing you with the maximum returns. It is the torch that will show you the way in the night’s dark. The framework can help align the organization’s activities with its goals and objectives and ensure that resources are used efficiently and effectively. They also help to establish a culture of compliance and accountability within the organization, which can help build trust with stakeholders and promote long-term sustainability.
Why do you need a Cloud Governance Framework?
A good structure of operations and guidance hurt no one, but a cloud governance framework is more than that. It’s a weapon that will allow you to take maximum advantage of the cloud, maintain security, reduce risks, make it functional, and set the right direction for something that doesn’t occupy physical space. A cloud governance framework will aid the management of resources and curb shadow IT by easing the process of accessing resources. Cloud sprawl is another problem solved by applying a cloud governance framework. Cloud sprawl can lead to redundant, underutilized, or unnecessary cloud resources, which can cause wasted costs, security and compliance risks, and management and operational inefficiencies. So, the framework will save you from a lot of unnecessary trouble, acting like a non-sentient robin to your batman.
Key Components of a Cloud Governance Framework
Since every company’s needs and requirements from the cloud differ, so does the governance framework. It’s not a one-fits-all formula but a pool of practices that will depend on how you use the cloud and what you wish to get out of it. To establish a cloud governance framework that is customized to your business and reflects your business objectives, make sure your Cloud Governance Framework covers the following aspects.
- Security and Compliance: Adding this aspect to your cloud governance framework will help mitigate risks by understanding the organization’s compliance requirements. This involves risk assessment, disaster recovery, application security, data management, and encryption, identity and access management, audit trails, and contingency planning. This will ensure that appropriate measures are in place to protect data and systems in the cloud. Compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, as well as internal policies and procedures, will also come under this category.
- Cost Optimization: Cloud is well known for reducing costs, but this requires robust cloud cost management, which comprises creating financial policies that define the use of the cloud and take business decisions. Budgets that clarify the allowances for different teams or cloud services are integral, but you also need to comprehend the total cloud cost based on your region and amount of services used. Budgets shouldn’t just be made like new year's resolutions but also tracked and revised. Cost reporting is a good idea to keep track of sudden charges and usual costs. You can also reduce costs by observing committed use discounts.
- Operations: One needs to optimize the deployment of cloud services. To manage your cloud operations, you need to create service-level agreements (SLAs) that simplify the expected goals and allocate resources. Monitoring the state of SLAs is also a part of operational excellence. Make sure you include system testing, scheduling start/stop time for non-production, staging, and quality assurance. Ensuring that protocols are in place to control how new applications are being run on the cloud should also be a part of your cloud governance framework.
- Data Management: Data is ubiquitous nowadays and hence difficult to manage. A precise strategy to take care of data at every step is imperative to your cloud governance framework. The first step is to classify data into different categories based on its value and need for security. Place policies of security control around confidential data. Data encryption should be the default state. Policies must be in place to protect sensitive data and make it accessible to authorized people. Cloud providers often give the option to use their data management tools, which can aid you in deleting outdated data and moving it to different storage systems.
- Performance: In this area of cloud governance, one needs to create a model to optimize infrastructure and applications to take paramount advantage of the cloud. You can create alerts to know when an application is dysfunctional and track Application Performance Metrics. The monitoring of infrastructure also aids in saving costs as you let go of resources that are not being used due to the fall in demand. One of the perks of the cloud is its capacity to scale up or scale down (in other words, elasticity) and reconfigure itself to the required workload, which can be done by auto-scaling, hence assigning the right resources dynamically and saving on unutilized assets.
- Asset and Configuration Management: No one can predict the future and hence it gets difficult to decide the right amount of resources needed in the future. An engineer can forget to shut down certain resources, leading to wastage. Using infrastructure as code is the best possible solution in this case, which additionally improves your operations. Infrastructure as code is a part of cloud-native mindset which facilitates specific and precise infrastructure while monitoring its health. Configuration management also includes consistent tagging for cost allocation and discovering assets that are non-conforming. Your cloud governance framework should cover all these points to maximize its impact.
- Innovation: With multiple policies and protocols in place through a governance model, there will be standardization which will lead to reduced risks. This will give your team the flexibility to explore and experiment more on the cloud, paving the way for ground-breaking innovation. This area would cover measuring the frequency of new features and discerning their success rate
Cloud Governance Challenges
A cloud governance framework isn’t a fixed formula or a standard created by someone. It’s an amalgamation of principles and guidelines that one needs to develop by understanding the complexity of their cloud operations and hence designing a comprehensive structure that addresses their company’s needs. It is rarely possible to develop a comprehensive framework in one go; it’s a process where you can start with little steps, deciding the sequence based on your priorities. For one, business cloud cost management could be an issue while some industries might need strict security and regular compliance. Here are some common Cloud Governance Challenges.
Lack of role clarity
Create org-wide structures, outlining roles & responsibilities
Balancing security, innovation, and cost
Break silos and create cross-functional teams; establish knowledge-sharing forums
Keeping up with the pace of change
Perform regular assessments of effectiveness and continuous monitoring
Lack of visibility
Employ automation for monitoring, tracking, and reporting
Bring in Change Management; integrate targeted engagement, training, and ongoing support
System and process integration
Standardize data formats, APIs, and process automation
Cloud governance is a gradual process that entails defining a framework through the perspective of people, processes, and technology. It starts with recognizing what a team needs to sustain a long-term successful governance model. Then comes defining processes and protocols around technical and non-technical aspects and ascertaining the metrics that need to be followed. The last component is technology which the cloud will introduce you to; the vendors of the cloud will act as your right hand when it comes to handling the technical side of the cloud. Keeping a bird’s-eye view of your organization’s nexus with the cloud will be of utmost importance as you develop an efficient cloud governance framework.
As a team who has successfully partnered with many global enterprises for their digital and cloud transformation projects, we understand the challenges as well as the opportunities that come with implementing a cloud governance framework.
Drop us an email at email@example.com and we can discuss your current cloud challenges.