Cloud Governance Strategy
With 80 percent of all IT budgets committed to cloud solutions and 73 percent of organizations planning to move to a fully software-defined data center, according to the Building Trust in a Cloudy Sky report published by McAfee, cloud computing has grown from a buzzword into one of the most transformative business and IT models.
Cloud computing enables organizations to embrace complex business models that significantly lower information technology costs, increase operational agility, and support long-term growth, helping organizations compete in the global market.
But all the benefits of cloud computing can be fully captured only when the adoption of cloud solutions is governed by a comprehensive cloud governance model that integrates it with the organization’s existing operating model, instead of allowing cloud solutions to be bolted on without any rhyme or reason.
The Need for Cloud Governance
Modern cloud solutions are just a few clicks away. Virtually anyone within the organization can take advantage of a new cloud solution with nothing but a credit card and a few minutes on the web. With the proliferation of the bring your own device policy, many employees routinely migrate data back and forth between the organization’s private infrastructure and public servers.
All this unmonitored activity leads to a growth of shadow IT, a term often used to describe information-technology systems and solutions used inside organizations without explicit organizational approval. Without alignment with the overall IT operating structure, the various units of the organization are likely to adopt multiple functionally identical solutions to solve the same problem. What’s more, the increased complexity caused by the unmanaged use of bolt-on cloud solutions may lead to confusion, loss of productivity, and increase of security incidents.
Cloud governance considers the most effective way how cloud solutions can be used in the context of the overall IT operating structure. Only when IT and the business collaborate and define a sound strategy for procurement, configuration, and management of cloud services it becomes possible to turn the cloud into an advantage rather than a liability.
Cloud Computing Pitfalls
Let’s explore some of the most important reasons why organizations need cloud governance:
Aligning agility with security: Individual users are personally familiar with how easy it is to acquire new cloud solutions. Most tech-savvy employees pay for a personal cloud data storage solution or for a cloud-based application they use for personal or professional reasons.
When the same employees go through the official channels to obtain a new cloud solution only to be met with a lack of flexibility, they quickly get tired of waiting for the organization to provide with the same service they could obtain themselves in a matter of minutes. However, in doing so, they put the whole organization at risk of security incidents, compliance problems, and information technology chaos.
Cloud governance strives to align the speed of adoption of new cloud solutions with strict security, privacy, and regulatory requirements to stop shadow IT from growing to unmanageable proportions.
Efficient use of cloud services: When small groups of users or individual departments adopt cloud solutions on their own behalf, they often put themselves under pressure to think locally, leading to operational inefficiency and duplication of capabilities.
Cloud governance helps IT units learn from these cloud pockets and use them as blueprints for an organization-wide cloud adoption. When a common problem shared by many departments is solved in a centralized manner, the organization can greatly reduce its IT costs and increase its efficiency.
Financial and legal concerns: In complex, unmanaged cloud computing scenarios, financial and legal concerns become more pressing. Organizations are put at the risk of not reading between the lines when signing legal contracts or not accounting for possible fees associated with wrong billing, among many other dangers.
A haphazard adoption of a cloud solution without a robust cloud governance strategy in place can quickly turn what would otherwise be an asset into a costly burden. It takes just a single missed payment to prompt a software audit, which may uncover serious compliance issues, sending the organization into a downward spiral with a tragic end.
Cloud Governance in Practice
A typical cloud governance strategy includes the following:
The appointment of a cloud finance professional to manage the shortened financial and business planning cycle and provide cost transparency.
The establishment of a framework by which cloud solutions are acquired, integrated, and managed.
The implementation of a comprehensive set of governance procedures for evaluating risks and opportunities of existing and newly-acquired cloud solutions.
The alignment of cloud solutions with the overall enterprise architecture.
The involvement of all cloud users in an organization-wide training program intended to promote efficient use of available cloud resources.
The continuous assessment and monitoring of cloud services.
Cloud Management Versus Cloud Governance
Cloud management promotes cloud adoption by providing the ability to provision and manages resources through a self-service portal for end users that makes it easier to handle security, resource allocation, tracking, and billing. By virtualizing a pool of computing resources, end users don’t need to concern themselves with the intricate technical details behind the cloud solution.
On the other hand, cloud governance shifts the focus from resource management to the operations and security. Cloud governance orchestrates resources, users, and services to prevent such risks as shadow IT, duplication of capacities, and security threats.
It’s in the best interest of all organizations to adopt a cloud governance model that results in a development of a cloud-first culture, which embraces cloud solutions in a way that aligns with the overall IT strategy and fosters long-term growth.
We at iLynx help clients understand the complexities of cloud adoption. With our help, organizations have adopted effective cloud governance strategies and realized their goals and ambitions.
Contact us to discover why iLynx is the right partner for navigating the cloud market.