Mar 16 2021

What Small Businesses Need to Know About Cloud Governance

Setting up a cloud environment isn’t enough. SMBs must also set the right policies to protect it.

Cloud presence has never been more significant than it is right now. The need to support a distributed workforce has led businesses across industries to either adopt cloud services for the first time or expand their existing environments. Small businesses stand to gain the most from using the cloud in this new era, as they are often hamstrung by budget constraints or small IT staffs. 

But all too often, these advantages lead smaller organizations to jump into the cloud without taking the appropriate steps. The cloud is not a set-it-and-forget-it solution just because it can be simpler and more flexible. It is still an infrastructure, meaning it needs to be managed. And at a time when so many employees are working remotely, that management becomes even more crucial to ensuring smooth operations.

Governance is key to realizing all that the cloud can offer. Having the right policies and practices in place is often the difference between a successful cloud experience and an IT headache. It can save small businesses time and money, and allow workers to continue to produce regardless of circumstances. 

Why Governance Is Crucial in the Cloud Era

There is often conversation about cloud management when small businesses discuss their cloud plans. Organizations know that they need to set a strategy to achieve their business objectives in the most effective way, including the steps they will take to ensure data and applications are secure.

Governance is a critical part of achieving that security. Large enterprises are well versed in governance out of necessity because there are so many employees working in the environment at any given time. But it’s no less critical for small businesses, which may not have the resources to accommodate a large-scale failure or long downtime. Their systems need to be protected just as much as, if not more than, those of a larger organization. 

Cost is a driving force of governance in other ways as well. While the scalability and flexibility of the cloud is a primary draw for growing organizations, that scalability can lead to unexpected spikes in costs if cloud use isn’t monitored properly. Incremental increases can add up fast, so setting the right parameters can keep the bills from growing without IT or management knowing.

At a time when so many employees are working remotely, governance can give business leaders and IT departments the visibility they need into their cloud environments.  

MORE FROM BIZTECH: Learn how the right infrastructure can drive business outcomes?

The Practices and Policies That Can Protect Small Businesses

There are a few areas where governance should be used for small businesses. First, building the right policies and standards into the infrastructure can protect critical applications and processes from being accessed by those who don’t need it. This can protect the organization not only from outside intruders, but also from well-meaning employees who may accidently do something that harms the environment.

Having those policies and standards in place can also empower those same workers to move through the environment without the risk of doing harm. That can bring peace of mind to both managers and IT departments, allowing them to be more hands-off with workers. Multiple teams can work in the same place without risking the work of others who are using the same applications. All of this serves to streamline operations and build confidence in the infrastructure, particularly as so many employees are accessing the cloud from home.

Governance can also play a key role for organizations that need to account for compliance. Businesses can put parameters in place to protect certain customer data or other processes, ensuring that industry regulations are met. At a time when most employees aren’t working in the office, it’s critical to have these tools built in.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that the cloud journey requires a continuous-improvement approach. Once adopted, businesses need to make sure that their policies and standards are keeping up, both in terms of technology and with the processes being implemented by the organization. By setting governance standards that can be continuously adapted, small businesses set themselves up to be protected long term.

This article is part of BizTech's AgilITy blog series. Please join the discussion on Twitter by using the #SmallBizIT hashtag.


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