Cloud computing enables faster and more flexible responses to changing business needs than previous ways of providing IT services. Along with these and many other benefits, the cloud comes with a major risk: loss of control. This can lead to cost overruns, inefficient use of cloud resources, security breaches, data breaches and non-compliance with compliance obligations.
Good management practices can reduce these risks. A cloud governance framework defines how key management points in cloud operations are controlled. It also helps set boundaries between potentially competing interests in the organization.
What is cloud governance and why is it important?
Cloud governance is a set of practices that help ensure that users operate in the cloud as they want, that operations are efficient, and that users can monitor and adjust operations as needed. A cloud governance framework is not a new set of concepts or practices, but simply the application of existing governance practices to cloud operations.
What are the principles of cloud governance?
A cloud management strategy must encompass several key aspects of cloud governance. Consider these necessary to establish appropriate controls and optimize the use of cloud services:
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What is cloud management? everything you need to know
- It also includes:
- The importance of Cloud Capacity Management and how to do it
- Improve cloud performance with these 6 techniques
- Learn what to look for in a cloud management platform
- Financial management
- Operations management
- Security and Compliance Management
- performance management
- Asset and configuration management
However, these elements are not separate, isolated goals – they interact and in some cases even constrain each other. Data management and security are linked. Operations management and cost management overlap and influence each other, and operations management also helps shape how a company implementsData Lifecycle Managementpolicy. Developers and product managers can opt for a dedicated data loss protection service for added security, but this service can be prohibitively expensive at scale.
Let's look at each aspect of a cloud governance framework and how to implement them.
1. Security and compliance management
Cloud management involves the same security issues as any company's security efforts: risk assessment, identity and access management,Data encryption and key management, application security, contingency planning and many other areas. From a management perspective, the objectives of information security practices are determined by a combination of business objectives and regulations.
As you develop your information security practices, you need to understand the trade-offs you must make between business convenience and security risk. For example, you can try to eliminate all moderate and severe vulnerabilities in your application, but you will have to divert IT resources from developing new features to fixing code vulnerabilities. Balance product development and other business issues with government and security regulations that apply to your business.
Governance models should build on existing policies and governance frameworks, including cybersecurity, privacy and risk management. E.g,National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) CybersikherdsressourcerCheck the box for these three. Additionally, leverage the public cloud provider's professional security services to reduce the risk of data breaches, denial-of-service attacks, and other common threats.
2. Financial management
An unwanted rite of passage in corporate IT survives the first explosive bill of cloud computing. Cloud service providers and advocates rightly argue that cloud services make more economic sense than buying and managing your own infrastructure. In fact, as long as you are efficientControl your cloud costsThrough careful policy and reporting.
Financial management policies provide a framework for making business decisions about cloud resources. For example, organizations use managed services as much as possible to reduce operational costs. Another company defines a checklist of cost management steps to follow before implementing a new service somewhere.public cloud.
Budgeting is easy to understand, but estimating costs can be difficult because the details you need are often spread across multiple services. For example, a billing summary may contain a subset of object storage, but details about what is stored in those systems can only be found in the storage service itself. To calculate the total cost, companies may need to search across regions, accounts and different cloud services.
Create a plan to gather information to create and track a budget. Most cloud providers offercost reporting tool. If these don't meet your needs, you can turn to third-party services to fill the gap.
Create realistic cost notification policies. If your cloud environment exceeds 50% of your budget within a few days of the month, an alert is issued, giving you time to adjust your infrastructure and service usage. Many alerts reflect real-time usage and consumption, but others may come after you exceed consumption limits, so create budgets and policies that give you extra flexibility.
3. Operational management
Operations management focuses on controlling how cloud resources provide services. Consider the following action points:
- Define the rules and processes that govern how new applications or workloads are built to run in the cloud.
- Set service level agreements(SLA) resource allocation.
- Develop application code in various environments, especially production environments. and
- Monitor service status to ensure SLAs are met.
Perhaps a developer or product manager will ask, "How do we deliver this new application to the customer?" The answer should be found in a clearly defined business strategy and should include the following:
- How to coordinate with the business team.
- how to determineIdentity and access management requirements;
- howEstimate compute, storage and network requirements;and
- This fulfills the requirements for monitoring and recording.
In addition, clear, well-defined operational management practices are oneBetter ways to prevent Shadow ITPrevent infiltration of operations into your cloud environment. Good cost tracking and performance monitoring can also help identify when cloud resources are being deployed outside of normal business processes.
As the ability to collect, store and analyze data increases, so does the difficulty of managing it effectively. Your governance policies and practices should include clear guidelines for managing the entire data lifecycle in your organization.
start with oneClassification of datalevel. Not all data is equally valuable or requires a similar level of security. Sensitive and classified data need moresecure controlrather than public information. Best practices for data in the cloud areEncrypt all data in transit and at rest-- Consider this your default behavior. Other controls, such as who can access or update certain types of data, will vary depending on the functional requirements of the data classification and how the data is used.
Governance policies help data owners, product managers, and application developers understand how to protect data based on its classification. This includes guidance on how to manage the data lifecycle, such as how long to retain data and when to move data from high-performance (and expensive) storage systems toLower cost filing system. Manual data lifecycle management does not scale well and is prone to errors. Leverage your cloud provider's data management tools to automatically migrate data to another storage system or delete data that is no longer useful.
5. Performance management
Performance management in cloud computing focuses on monitoring application and infrastructure resources to ensure that you provide expected IT service levels and efficient use of cloud infrastructure.
Application performance metricsVaries by application. Some common ones include:
- Delays in retrieving data, loading web pages, or calling API functions.
- the number of database transactions per time period and
- The number of logged in users.
Additionally, create alerts to notify application managers and support teams when services are not performing as expected.
infrastructure monitoring forCheck cloud costs. A key benefit of the cloud is the ability to scale and adjust resources based on workload level - at any given time, you should have enough compute and storage resources to handle your existing workload and avoid excess unused resources. The cloud provider's monitoring tools and auto-scaling capabilities can help you allocate cloud resources dynamically and efficiently.
6. Management of assets and configurations
One of the challenges organizations face is maintaining a dynamic array of cloud infrastructure resources as they grow. Developers and cloud engineers can manually deploy virtual machines based on ad-hoc needs, but forget to disable them—and that's not a big problem. However, teams should rely on controlled processes to deploy large clusters or use high-cost cloud services.
One way to manage your infrastructure is to use infrastructure as code (IaC). Instead of cloud engineers starting and stopping resources, IaC determines what is running or deployed in your environment to support applications. The IaC application can then monitor the state of the infrastructure, which is different from the configured state. If it differs from the desired state, for example if some virtual machines fail, it can automatically restore your infrastructure to the desired state.
Configuration management can also help organizations control the use and storage of secrets such as credentials and encryption keys. Use a central repository to store secrets instead of using insecure practices such as login credentials in scripts or programs that can be seen by anyone with access to the script.
Cloud Governance Models and Standards
Several governance models and standards are related to cloud computing standards, but none are cloud specific. Management models and standards are less about specific technologies and more about people and processes.
- Corbettis a management standard created by the Information Systems Audit and Control Association to help businesses and other organizations manage IT operations. The model includes process and practice frameworks, process descriptions, control objectives, management guidelines and a maturity model. COBIT is a general management approach that works well with other standards such as ITIL.
- ITILis a framework with detailed process descriptions that helps organizations standardize how they select, deliver, and maintain IT services and strategically plan new technology initiatives.
- ISO/IEC 38500is an international standard for corporate IT management covering processes, communication and decision making. The standard addresses how to define responsibilities, support IT operations, technology and related acquisitions, monitor performance and adhere to policies. It can also help companies understand how users interact with applications and systems and avoid encouraging users to circumvent policies and procedures.
What are the challenges of cloud management?
A major challenge in cloud management is the range of issues that need to be addressed. It is more practical to gradually introduce a comprehensive governance framework than to do it all at once. Start with your organization's highest priority work – in a highly regulated industry, compliance and security are top priorities. If your cloud spending is excessive and unsustainable, focus on cost management early in the process.
Automation is critical to governance. Cloud environments are dynamic and scalable to a large number of resources, components and services. Leveraging governable cloud service capabilities, such as data lifecycle management policies, can help ensure that data is stored in the appropriate storage service and purged on a set schedule. Use a third-party tool, such as a vulnerability scanner, to inspect the contents of the code repository and identify vulnerabilities in your application.
Ultimately, governance is an ongoing endeavor involving multiple processes. Governance frameworks such as NIST are useful starting points to help guide an organization's management practices.