Cloud Governance Model: Adopting the Best Approach

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A lot of businesses have almost entirely embraced multi-cloud where 90% of enterprises on cloud contemplate cloud usage to surpass prior projections subject to COVID-19. Public cloud adoption is accelerating and evolving with 92% of businesses now having a multi-cloud strategy in place whereas 82% of them have adopted a hybrid cloud approach. However, organizations are struggling to keep up with increasing cloud expenditure.  

Some major concerns in cloud computing witnessed in 2021 are: 

  •  68% of companies citing misconfiguration as their biggest threat. 
  •  36% of enterprises spend more than $12 million per year on public clouds. 
  •  Increase in number of security breaches and compliance violations after cloud adoption.  

Some businesses are seeing an exponential rise in cloud expenditure and security exploits after migrating to cloud infrastructure. This has caused approximately 20% of businesses, to move back to the traditional infrastructure within a year of cloud adoption. While the loss of data is the most obvious consequence of a data breach, these occurrences also result in an avalanche of other challenges, such as unanticipated expenses to close control gaps and penalties paid to customers. 

Insider risks resulting from the misuse of privileged access, weak and stolen passwords, and unpatched programs are the three most typical causes of data breaches. To paraphrase it, the most common security threats are frequently the result of the organization’s own oversight or errors. 

One common factor that many businesses lack is an effective cloud governance framework. The decision-making processes, criteria, and policies involved in the design, architecture, purchase, implementation, operation, and management of the Cloud computing capacity are referred to as Cloud Governance. The use of cloud computing services is governed by certain policies or principles. 

Cloud Governance Element

The cloud journey is driven by a combination of people, procedures, and technologies. Effective Cloud Governance aids in the maintenance of organizational equilibrium. The Cloud Governance paradigm allows you to use the cloud to increase operational integrity, dependability, performance, and transparency. 

Cloud Governance Models 

According to Gartner, two main approaches are identified for cloud governance: 

Cloud Governance Models (Two Approaches)
  • “In the way” Governance: Central IT acts as a barrier between cloud consumers and cloud environments in this strategy. It serves as a proxy by collecting cloud service requests and performing firsthand provisioning procedures. Users’ native cloud interfaces are hidden from them, reducing their autonomy, and increasing centralized control. It enforces policies by simply rejecting requests that are not compliant. 
  •  In this model, cloud customers have direct access to native cloud interfaces. To apply guardrails and recommendations, central IT configures these interfaces with policies. Every provisioning request submitted using a cloud platform’s native interface is subject to the established policies. This strategy maximizes user autonomy while reducing central IT control. 

Cloud computing can only be used at scale by using an “on the side” governance model. Only this paradigm can capture the benefits of cloud technology, such as agility and speed, that most businesses aspire. If you are using cloud computing to expedite company innovation, you’ll need to opt for the “on the side” governance approach.  

“In the way” governance model worked well in traditional/ on-premise infrastructure as on-premise did not offer serverless architecture or on-the-fly resource provisioning. The resource allocation was completely controlled by a centralized IT team that mostly dealt with limited vertical scaling of resources. 

Thus, in the cloud computing scenario, the “In the way” approach has proven to be ineffective. Additionally, the centralized IT department is usually understaffed to respond to the increasing number of provisioning and change requests from different lines of businesses periodically. 

Organizations that implement “in the way” governance typically experience a higher degree of shadow IT. “On the side” governance strengthens different self-service approaches and minimizes the “idea to innovate” time for businesses. 

Challenges in implementing Cloud Governance  

  • The organization’s security is compromised by the shadow (duplicate) cloud. While it is the company’s policy to retain sensitive data on on-premise or private cloud-only, business units are unwittingly placing it on the public cloud. 
  •  misconfiguration. Also, we are looking into broader issues of lack of identity and access management to manage: 
  1. A sudden increase in the cost of cloud subscriptions with no way of determining the source. 
  2.  Unauthorized cloud activities put the organization at risk.  
  • One of the most difficult aspects of cloud governance is the sheer lot of services to manage. Every day, the alignment of cloud capabilities with business requirements improves. While the cloud offers dynamic flexibility and scale, it also necessitates enterprises to maximize information security in order to safeguard their brand name from unanticipated service disruptions. The threat of data vulnerability is also increased significantly when there is a lack of governance. The following are some of the difficulties that businesses will need to address and resolve at the earliest: 
  1. IT risk and compliance management 
  2.  Orchestration and provisioning  
  3.  Change management 
  4. IT, data, and information security technology control 
  5. Cost management, resource availability and optimization  
  6. Business resiliency 
  •  Without cloud governance in place, appropriate standards cannot be defined to navigate risks or ensure efficient procurement and operations of cloud services, resulting in organizations facing the following issues: 
  1. Misalignment with company goals  
  2.  Policy exception reviews on a regular basis 
  3.  Projects that have been stalled  
  4.  Compliance or regulatory penalties or failures 
  5.  Budget overruns  
  6.  Risk evaluations that aren’t complete 

Best Practices across five disciplines 

Cloud governance best practices depend upon the objectives and maturity of the cloud adoption of an enterprise. There are common governance disciplines that help create policies and align toolchains. These disciplines help in decision-making about the level of automation and enforcement of corporate policies across cloud platforms.

Cloud Governance Model – Corporate Policy and Governance Disciplines

 

  1. Cost Management: When it comes to cloud technology, cost management is a big worry for many clients. It can be difficult to strike a balance between performance requirements, adoption rates, and cloud service costs. It’s critical to create cost-control policies for all cloud platforms. This is especially true when implementing cloud technologies in big business transformations. 

  2. Security: Any IT implementation must include security, and the cloud adds new security problems. Making the right security choices is crucial to the success of your cloud deployments and your overall organization. When considering a cloud transition, many firms are subject to legal obligations that make protecting sensitive data a top organizational responsibility. 

    IT security or cybersecurity teams should ensure identifying possible security threats to the cloud environment and implementing policies and procedures for dealing with these threats is a top priority. As technological needs and security limitations mature, the Security Baseline discipline guarantees that they are consistently implemented to cloud systems. 

  3.  Identity: In the cloud, identity is becoming the key security perimeter, which is a departure from the conventional concentration on network security. Inconsistencies in how identity requirements are applied can raise the danger of a breach. Within IT environments, identity services provide the essential mechanisms for access control and organization. 

    By applying authentication and authorization criteria uniformly across cloud adoption activities, the Identity Baseline discipline compliments the Security Baseline discipline. All cloud resources should be subject to these policies. 

  4.  Resource Consistency: Resource consistency is concerned with the methods for developing policies for the operational management of an environment, an application, or a workload. Application, workload, and asset performances are frequently monitored by IT operations teams. This involves frequent scaling up, remediating performance service-level agreement (SLA) violations, and proactively avoiding performance SLA violations through automated remediation. 

    The Resource Consistency discipline is one of the Five Disciplines of Cloud Governance, and it guarantees that resources are consistently configured so that they can be discovered by IT operations, included in recovery solutions, and onboarded into repetitive operational processes. Resources can be configured uniformly to control risks associated with onboarding, drift, discoverability, and recovery by utilizing governance tooling. 

  5. Deployment Acceleration: The goal of deployment acceleration is to find ways to create directives that regulate asset setup and deployment. Governance processes are improved through centralization, standardization, and consistency in deployment and configuration approaches. Deployment, configuration alignment, and script reusability are all included in the Deployment Acceleration discipline of the Five Disciplines of Cloud Governance. This could be done manually or via a cloud-based governance solution to fully automate DevOps tasks. The policies would be substantially the same in either event. 


    Cloud Governance Maturity

    Cloud governance processes can be completely automated. Depending upon the level of cloud governance implementation the maturity to automate the process can be achieved using the steps below. 
Cloud Governance Maturity Model
  1. Getting Visibility of the cloud inventory and organizing data. 
  1. Optimizing governance by defining policies, prioritizing the findings and assigning ownership. 
  1. Resolving violation process analyzes risk, helps fix the findings and optimizes policies. 
  1. A stakeholder is defined at every stage who is responsible for effective governance. The Cloud Centre of Excellence team is responsible for company-wide security engagement. 

Conclusion 

Cloud governance is a combination of people, processes, and technologies that accelerate cloud adoption and increase agility without jeopardizing security. Enterprises have been able to reduce cloud spending by 20% after implementing effective governance. Also, organizations were able to minimize the detection and resolution time for security violations by shifting to automation with the Cloud Governance maturity model.  

Cloud Governance is not a “one-time” activity. Governance must be examined and updated to stay up with technological and business model advancements. CloudEnsure is one such fastest-growing Governance solution for multiple and hybrid cloud models offering 1500+ checks to align your cloud with business objectives. 

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