Why governance is key to extracting the full value of cloud
5 mins read
Hyperscale public cloud providers have moved beyond infrastructure and invested in the platform-as-a-service layer.
This has made emerging digital technologies such as AI, machine learning, data analytics, RPA and IoT more accessible and cost effective than ever.
So what does this mean for organisations? Public sector as well as private organisations have the means to become more agile, productive and innovative with cloud – as they now have a host of the most advanced and intuitive technologies at their fingertips to enable and accelerate their digital strategies.
But there can be a downside if you are not careful. Without proper, centralised controls around cloud service consumption, this open access can lead to an unexpected increase in consumption. Before you know it, the increase in shadow or rogue IT spend can send costs soaring – leaving your CFO reeling in shock at the latest cloud bill.
In our survey of enterprise cloud migrations, over half of respondents (58%) felt they’d spent more in the cloud than originally planned. Gartner has been warning about this for some time. By the end of 2020, they’ve told us, 80% of organisations will overshoot their cloud budget by about 40% due to a lack of cloud optimisation processes[i].
Gartner more recently commented that, without proper controls around cloud resource consumption, the risk of cloud overspending will put some public cloud migration projects into question[ii].
Challenges – before migration
Building a solid business case for cloud is a time consuming effort as it involves calculating the cost implications of moving to the cloud which can be a struggle for many organisations. Many people are tempted to skip this step and go straight to cloud migration. The problem with this is you won’t have a clear view of your expected ROI, which means you are effectively walking in to the unknown and potentially opening yourself up to risk further down the road.
Traditional, heritage IT applications that need to be rehosted in the cloud often require optimisation to be become cost-effective. It will not always happen automatically if you simply adopt a lift-and-shift approach. It’s possible for applications to be less expensive in the cloud than on-premise, but only if organisations re-design those applications and business processes to work in the cloud in an optimised fashion, as well as selecting the right cloud payment plan for each application use case. This is not an easy task as there are typically hundreds of pay-per-usage and fixed payment plans to choose from so it’s important to select wisely.
Challenges – after migration
Cloud governance is not just a one-time event but an ongoing effort that requires continuous management. Once you’re in the cloud things are likely to change over time – whether that is modifications to existing configurations or new applications being deployed to production. You’ll need to continue your governance efforts via regular monitoring and taking appropriate remedial action to prevent overspend, reduce waste, close compliance gaps and address mis-configured security policies in the cloud.
An effective cloud governance approach will also help you keep up with market developments, enabling you to prepare to leverage any new pricing conditions and capabilities your public cloud providers introduce in the future.
Consider a partner for cloud governance
The problem is, providing governance in the cloud tends to be a lot more complex than on-premise.
Public cloud providers are continuing to improve their native cloud optimisation toolchains, offering customers better visibility into overspend and trending analyses than ever before. And new cloud management tools are gradually making it easier to manage your cost optimisation lifecycle process. But despite this progress, organisations still face something of an uphill challenge when it comes to cloud cost optimisation.
Keeping an eye on cloud governance can be complex and time-consuming if you don’t have the organisational processes, integration tools and governance expertise to match. You’ll need deep visibility of what is being consumed in the cloud and control who has access rights to procure resources – plus a team of people to hand with the right skills and expertise to identify and remediate any issues that arise.
That’s why many organisations now bring in a trusted third party such as a managed service provider (MSP).
Not all MSPs are best placed to help with cloud governance though, so it’s important to think carefully about who you partner with. The traditional MSP model has been focused mainly on operations – ensuring servers are up and running – and not extended to governance and optimisation in the cloud.
But when you do find the right partner – one who can help you tackle overspend with a pre-defined service for proactive, ongoing optimisation – life becomes a lot easier. Especially as your partner develops deeper insight into your organisational needs, goals and intended outcomes.
Cost-efficiencies and optimising cloud at the initial design stage and on a continuous basis are a central part of the Capita offering.
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Head of Product for Cloud, Capita Technology Solutions
Highly experienced IT product leader. Currently head of product for cloud and platform, also covering strategy and propositions. Subject matter expert in cloud, data centre, digital transformation and IT services markets. Track record of success stretching back more than 20 years at IT systems integrators, telcos and cloud-specialist managed services providers.