Cloud Governance: The Big Challenges and Best Practices
by Navdeep Singh Gill | 27 July 2020
What is Cloud Governance?
Cloud Governance is a set of rules. It applies specific policies or principles to the use of cloud computing services.This model aims to secure applications and data even if located distantly. The best Cloud Governance solutions include People, Processes, and Technology. It basically refers to the decision making processes, criteria, and policies involved in the planning, architecture, acquisition, deployment, operation, architecture, acquisition, implementation, operation, and management of a Cloud computing capability. Cloud Governance best practices help to optimize the organization's:
Operations: Doing it efficiently
Risk and compliance: Doing it securely
Financial: Doing more with less
Importance of Cloud Governance
1. Make it easier to manage cloud resources
Cloud service providers like AWS ( Amazon Web Services Solutions) and many others are now advising customers to move multiple-tenant workloads residing in a single cloud account or subscription into different accounts.Using various accounts will manage distinct cloud workloads, one of the best practices today to deliver precise access, control, and cost management. Moreover, using Cloud Governance best practices limit the security and financial blast radius in an issue. Using the correct Governance Model of Cloud Services helps organize the volume of accounts most organizations need and provide visibility around key cloud activities and trends.
2. Helps curb shadow IT
Risk and spend increase when you do not understand what systems are in use or where corporate data resides. Whenever a delay occurs in getting access to resources, employees turn to shadow IT. It is helpful as it places the required framework to request and access cloud resources quickly. It gives team members access to the breadth of allowed cloud resources among compliance and budget constraints.
3. Reduces labor
Instead of using spreadsheets or any other similar manual processes that track accounts, cost, and compliance, the other way is to set guardrails at the appropriate point in your organizational hierarchy: these guardrails control access, budget, and policy the required projects. In addition to this, complete Cloud Governance solutions offer enforcement actions that allow you to do away with necessary follow-up actions after receiving an alert. Following Cloud Governance, best practices save time and effort as it prevents non-compliant activities and budget overruns.
Governance policies contain a set of protocols of how things should be regulated on the cloud. So the Cloud Governance policies should be created and regularly reviewed by the business executives, managers, and IT experts.
Certain sensitive information and data should be restricted to all unauthorized users. Therefore, one should use proper authentication and permission level checks.
A Cloud Governance Model should be a proper roadmap for your cloud consumption, how do you plan a new deployment policy, how will you switch your application from one provider to another, what will be the deployment process, who will evaluate them.
This plan operates over four levels of Cloud Governance:-
Infrastructure or virtualization platform
Business/user activity on that platform
A firm policy will help you run the business well; otherwise, it will result in security loopholes, reduced performance, and permanent data loss. This is why choosing the best Cloud Governance solutions and following best practices is essential.
There are six governance principles for cloud-based solutions that are the basis for effective governance. Every organization varies in its governance necessities. Thus, it should be necessary to amend the policies listed below to match your specific circumstances.
1. Financial management
This point consists of budget policies and cost trend policies. Both of these policies are closely related as long as you need to be aware of cost trend influencers to determine whether budgets will meet or if you need to adjust them.
2. Cost optimization
A cost optimization policy reduces cost by keeping you up-to-date with opportunities to take advantage of committed use discounts and modifying you to occasions when committed use discounts are not being utilized fully.
3. Operational governance
The operational governance principle contains system testing, two cost-cutting measures - identifying and terminating unused ZOMBIE assets, and scheduling stop/start time for non-production instances used in the development, software testing, staging, and QA.
4. Performance management
A better model for governing cloud data relates to optimizing assets for their workloads. It consists of downgrading assets due to initial over-provisioning or a fall in demand - or upgrading them as demand will increase. Cloud Governance best practices also include ensuring that the stored data is in the most cost-effective location.
5. Asset & configuration management
Asset and configuration management consists of everything from consistent tagging for cost allocation to identifying non-conforming assets, like those who exceed the permitted capacity, incompatible with existing assets, or those who launched outside a U.S. region.
6. Security & Incident management
Best Cloud Governance solutions or services cover multiple cloud security components and may need to be subdivided into smaller principles to address issues. For example, Encryption, Access controls, Security groups, Audit trails, Application access rules.
Cloud Security Governance Challenges
Some of the challenges that Cloud Governance features help us in tackling are:-
1. Performance Management
When any business uses cloud services, it is the service provider's responsibility to supply proper services and enhance performance. If the service provider goes down, then the client's performance using the Cloud Governance services will also go down. To avoid such conditions, a proper Governance Cloud Model, a set of policies, and choosing one of the best Cloud Governance solutions can be helpful.
A proper set of policies and procedures helps to support your organizational strategies and business goals. It will enhance the business and will reduce the operational cost of the company.
3. Cost Management
Organizations using cloud services will be in profit as it is a very cost-effective approach. The policies are designed in such a way that, if followed, will result in high profit. A properly considered Cloud Governance Model optimizes cost by conducting better financial analytics and automating policies, or keeping management reporting practice will help provide cost management.
4. Security Issues
The security of the data is also one of the major concerns. It is so because the security lope holes can be avoided by using some strict rules, Cloud Governance best practices, and policies. A Governance Model should build proper authentication policies to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the information. As there are many security bug cases in cloud service providers like AWS are aware of a security issue (CVE-2019-11246) in the Kubernetes kubectl tool that can allow a malicious container to replace or to create files on a user's workstation.
Cloud governance's best practices vary for each business as per their objectives and level of the cloud journey. Also, today there are thousands of Cloud Governance solutions providers available in the online marketplace. One needs to analyse the business assets and performance and then build accordingly. Therefore with the total visibility of business resources, the policies are easily governed.
Concluding Cloud Governance
Adopting the Cloud Governance Strategy effectively starts with defining the team who will handling governance and audit related tasks, understanding how security policies will be impacting cloud governance adoption roadmap and establishing the best practices for building cloud governance framework.