Understand Why Cloud Governance is So Important

Today we all know that cloud is the way to go for many businesses around the globe. As more and more enterprises are adopting cloud services, it is becoming increasingly challenging for IT to have visibility of each of these different cloud services and on top be able to provide a governance model to ensure they protect the intellectual property of the enterprise, have policies in place to ensure appropriate access.

Cloud readiness assessment and cloud economics are the two aspects that organizations execute before migrating to the cloud. Just lifting and shifting the workloads from on-premises to cloud isn’t enough for successful cloud adoption. Today we will discuss the importance of a governance model which have to be in place after migrating to cloud. When organizations operate through cloud, there must be a few set of rules that they have to comply with. These rules vary as per the industry type, but general rules are based on the data security and personal privacy. Typically these rules are nothing new and are common in an on-premises environment too.

In a cloud environment, organizations do not have an idea where their servers are placed, they can be installed anywhere in the world. That is why organizations must understand what Cloud Governance is and why it is so important. In an on-premises IT infrastructure, organizations will have a clear idea of their capital costs and have a track of their monthly operational costs. They also have control on which applications, software, and programs must be accessed by which department.  In case of the cloud, with just a click of the mouse various departments can deploy assets at any point in time. Though there is no worry about the capital costs, organizations might quickly lose their control over the operational costs if there is no proper governance in place.

Losing control over operations costs not only creates issues in terms of efficiency but also raises security concerns. Though cloud services assure security, poor control over application access may trigger vulnerabilities. This is where a need for “Cloud Governance” comes in the picture. To handle the efficiency and cost issues, organizations need to produce a set of rules.

What is cloud governance?

In simple terms “Cloud Governance” is a cautiously curated protocol and set of rules brought together by business leaders and IT staff to enhance data security, manage risks, and keep things running smoothly in a cloud environment.

Cloud governance guarantees that all the systems interactions to asset deployments to data security is accurately measured, inspected, and managed. Migrating from on-premise to the cloud brings in layers of complexity to an organization's system architecture, people from the organization may also impact the architecture.

There are various types of cloud management software’s available, which facilitates organizations to monitor these rules. If businesses are in multi-cloud or hybrid cloud environments, then a third party cloud management solution will be a good option rather than looking for software that is provided by the cloud service providers. This will give a 360-degree visibility of all the business’s cloud activity.

In order to patch the security loopholes, strong governance policies have to be enforced. Organizations cannot avail the possible benefits of the cloud, without rethinking their governance processes. Following are the five best practices for implementing a cloud governance policy.

Aligning cloud governance policy based on the organization's business objectives.

  • Strong access management must be a key aspect of cloud governance.
  • Audit and Compliance must be considered
  • Integrating Automation for processes that make sense
  • Governance rules must be customized as per the organizations data

Key benefits of a cloud governance framework

Developing and integrating a top-notch cloud governance framework is not an easy task, it takes a lot of time and effort. It is not something that is done just in time, rather it takes a lot of escalations, thoughts, and collaboration among business leaders and teams to achieve an actionable set of compliance. Organizations can achieve immediate and long-term benefits through a well-deployed governance framework.

Access Control

As discussed earlier, a cloud governance framework will limit the access of cloud assets by clearly defining the authorized users or departments of the organization to access a particular set of data or applications. By this, organizations can restrict the tampering of sensitive architecture and can enhance reliability.

Enhanced compliance readiness

Regular audits and compliance assessments are something that every organization has to surpass, regardless of the industry vertical. For many information security frameworks and regulations, like HIPAA, PCI compliance, or SOC 2 requirements, a cloud governance framework can help organizations to easily demonstrate and prepare for these compliances. Building a cloud governance program in line with the organizations compliance requirements will let them build compliance review and standards in each and every processes and architecture. As cloud governance provide archive of the entire system history, it is very easy for them to document the compliance.

Reduced security risks

Once an organizations has decided to move to the cloud, they will need todevelop new security measures to protect their workloads on cloud. When compared to On-Premise, storing data in cloud and running application through cloud is much more convenient, it also increases the risk for unauthorized attempts to access data and data breaches. A good governance plan will help organizations to help identify vulnerabilities in the system, develop plans to avoid risks and to create metrics to measure the effectiveness of the security measures taken

Lowered costs

Through cloud governance workflows are shifted from analog to automated. Today automation is key for many processes as it makes tasks simpler and drastically reduces the execution time. In a manual-based process tracking the system, activity is very complicated everything is maintained in a spreadsheet, and is a tedious process to analyze these spreadsheets. The Cloud governance model helps organizations build in guardrails that will automate the management of each and every aspect from budgets to policies. On each and every cloud activity, automatic responses will be triggered, and this helps IT, staff, in reducing the burden of pulling analytics. This indeed is a cost-saving for the organizations as the manpower is drastically reduced.

Mounika Raghavarapu

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