Jan 09 2023

Why Businesses Need Solid Cloud Governance — and How to Get It

Proper data governance is critical in the cloud. A public cloud governance workshop is designed to help businesses get there.

More than 60 percent of corporate data is now stored in the cloud, and 73 percent of businesses are migrating their strategic workloads to cloud-based services.

All this movement, however, has created the need for solid cloud governance: practices and policies that help control costs, minimize security risks, improve efficiency and accelerate deployment. Without effective governance, companies can end up with a kind of “Frankencloud” — a mix of cobbled-together parts that are complicated to manage, difficult to secure and almost impossible to navigate. This leaves companies without the visibility they need to drive cloud value.

The Benefits of Cloud Governance

Effective cloud governance offers several benefits for organizations, including:

  • Cost control. When businesses understand what they have, where it is and how often it’s used, they can better estimate their total cloud costs. This is an essential aspect of cloud governance, as businesses pay for the resources they use. Instances left running or Software as a Service applications that organizations bought but never used can add tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars to cloud bills each year.
  • Visibility. With policies in place around the implementation and oversight of new cloud instances or services, enterprises can ensure that growing clouds don’t lead to poor visibility. Not having these policies creates a siloed environment that makes it almost impossible for IT teams to manage clouds at scale.
  • Security. If companies don’t have clear processes for how users are authenticated, what services they can access in the cloud and how data is transferred and monitored, they could find themselves struggling to keep information safe and potentially violate compliance regulations

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The Challenges in Creating Effective Cloud Governance

Effective cloud governance offers key benefits, but getting there is not easy. Indeed, several challenges are common:

  • Lack of knowledge. For companies just getting started in the cloud, insufficient knowledge and skills can make it difficult to pinpoint best practices and create policies that reflect company goals.
  • Abundance of access. Legacy systems often include broad access models, which may be manageable, given their small footprint. In the cloud, however, it’s critical to create access models that consistently provide the right access to the right people at the right time.
  • Lack of controls. Not having embedded security controls can lead to issues with configuration or service deployments that introduce unintended risks.
  • Too many applications. The average company uses 254 Software as a Service apps, but just half of these see regular use. Cloud application sprawl creates visibility and security challenges for companies, especially if they can’t easily see all of the applications on their network.
  • Too few metrics. To know if cloud governance is effective, companies need ways to measure it. These include the number of endpoint devices added over a set period, the scope and severity of potential security vulnerabilities, and the volume of attacks (both successful and unsuccessful) across cloud environments. In many cases, however, companies lack the analytic frameworks necessary to assess their cloud programs.

EXPLORE: How small businesses can improve productivity in the cloud.

What Is a Cloud Governance Workshop?

It’s one thing to understand the need for cloud governance; it’s another to create governance frameworks that deliver on expectations. This is especially true for organizations taking their first steps away from legacy tools, and for those already facing significant sprawl in the cloud and unsure of how to manage disparate resources.

A public cloud governance workshop can help. These four- to six-week engagements are tailored to a business’s unique cloud needs. Whether your company is using a Google, Azure or Amazon Web Services environment, or a combination — or if it’s just preparing to set foot into the cloud — a cloud governance workshop can help pinpoint best practices that drive effective policies and processes.

At a high level, CDW’s cloud governance workshops follow a three-step process. First is a needs assessment, because every business is different. Where are your pain points? What are your goals? Next, our cloud architects draft a statement of work and determine the length of your engagement. Finally, our experts create a playbook for your organization that offers guidelines and guardrails for your cloud adoption, deployment or migration.

The goal of cloud governance workshops is to transfer knowledge across a broad array of data governance topics. A customized workshop focused on the cloud-related challenges and opportunities unique to the business helps companies get off on the right foot in the cloud, optimize what they already have or prepare for a new deployment.

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At the end of the workshops, IT teams walk away with more than just suggestions on how to approach cloud migration or implement cloud tools. They are equipped with a custom-built strategy to help streamline the creation of cloud governance frameworks.

Solid cloud governance is critical to ensure security, usability and visibility. A customized public cloud governance workshop meets the business where it is, and helps it get where it’s going.

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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