What Is Cloud Governance And Why Does It Matter?

Cloud governance is the development of controls that manage access, compliance, and budget across the cloud and its workflows. It’s crucial to consider governance, as it is difficult to achieve the agility, cost savings, and speed that benefit your business without governance. It’s also important to think about a common approach to cloud governance across all of your private and public clouds to avoid risk and security gaps.  This article discusses the before and after of cloud governance and what makes it important for your organization.

Before you jump into cloud governance

To start developing cloud governance, you must have an understanding of the workloads that are deployed, and which users and groups should have access to which clouds. Other things to consider before starting with cloud governance are the security risks that exist, how people process, and clouds that work together. Also, think about governance for adjacent tools such as Ansible and Terraform to consider how cloud governance can help within them.  

Once you document the teams and associated policies for cloud governance and automation, you can establish hybrid cloud role-based access through the use of a cloud management platform (CMP) A hybrid approach to cloud governance with a platform like Morpheus provides visibility over multiple clouds and tools but also reduces expenses that come with siloed governance products like Ansible Tower or Terraform Enterprise. 

The next step to implement cloud governance is to determine the policies you want to apply. Lifecycle and budget policies help eliminate zombie VMs and keep developers under appropriate guardrails to reduce cloud costs. Cloud automation and application policies can assure golden images are always used, security rules are enforced, and DevSecOps processes are followed. Consider what policies your cloud governance will help to instill. 

Examples of policy objectives range from protecting your organization against infiltration and data breaches, your policies should ensure regulatory compliance, protect the privacy of your customer data, and oversee the application of access control, encryption key management, and security groups. Getting clear on policy objectives will help with your cloud governance framework. 

Cloud governance rules of the road

Cloud governance has an important set of rules that are necessary to monitor and change—it should have budgets, guidelines about software, applications, programs, and policies. Other areas require cloud governance rules, and these tend to emerge as you pull together your teams and examine application requirements. 

A flexible cloud governance framework is critical, but approval processes and change management for rule updates are also crucial.  

Monitoring compliance to cloud governance standards allows you to identify areas that you can adjust to improve cost and performance. You may need to alter some rules you have conceived to accommodate new products and services while remaining competitive within your industry. 

Organizations that have implemented cloud governance have a competitive advantage through these five disciplines:

  1. Cost management
  2. Security baseline
  3. Resource consistency
  4. Deployment acceleration
  5. Identity baseline

Why Does Cloud Governance Matter?

Cloud governance is important because it affects your cost savings, agility, and speed to streamline your organization. 

  • Easier to manage: Early in public cloud history, individual users and developers established unique cloud accounts, but at scale, those instances and accounts are impossible to manage. Centralized cloud governance strategies help organize accounts and instances to reduce the impact on IT operations.
  • Lower Cost: There is a risk of higher spending when an IT organization doesn’t know which systems are in use. Lack of visibility is a major concern for finance departments; cloud governance tools like Morpheus can ingest brownfield instances, recommend savings options and apply a framework to manage new resources. 
  • Reduced Risk: There are several risks associated with operating in the cloud—your data is exposed, there is possible non-compliance with regulations or policies, and there could be cost overrun. Cloud governance ensures that there is proper control to keep your cloud private, you limit and do not exceed spending, and that resources are compliant with regulations.
  • Agility Without Anarchy: While cloud governance is primarily focused on control and governance, if you do it right it can improve business agility. Legacy controls like approval policies are still in place at many organizations but building controls into automation frameworks such as Morpheus can assure cloud governance while also letting developers move fast without IT getting in the way.

Implementing Cloud Governance

Sometimes putting a control in place, such as using cloud governance, can raise the organizational antibodies. It’s important to do it right so all stakeholders feel like their needs are met. Here are some tips as you go through phases of cloud governance implementation.

  • Awareness: Some organizations just starting the hybrid cloud journey are still reliant on manual asset deployment and approval. Each public cloud has its own rules and private cloud hypervisors are in another silo. If you’re still in this stage you need to start with documenting the outcome and putting a framework in place to make cloud governance seamless.
  • Early Adoption: Here, organizations have policies that match their particular processes and are starting to realize that consolidated governance is needed. There is likely a cloud team, and they have scoped out architecture details and costs. They may have implemented a first-generation CMP like Flexera or Embotics to focus on control. Unfortunately, those platforms fall short when it comes to developer enablement. Using platforms like Morpheus early on will help organizations succeed with their processes.  Morpheus enables extensions to additional tools to further your cloud governance use. 
  • Cloud Competency: The final phase is where true cloud governance maturity comes in. Management is now automated, responsive, and agile across hybrid cloud endpoints. Developers are part of the framework and cloud governance is embedded into CI/CD processes.

Morpheus Data is a full hybrid cloud application orchestration platform, with robust features to apply to and build private clouds like VMware and Nutanix, public clouds like AWS, Azure, and Google, plus extends cloud governance to tools like ServiceNow, Ansible, and Terraform. It also can span application platforms so cloud governance is consistent across bare metal, virtualized, containerized apps, and public cloud PaaS services. This market is noisy and there are many ways to skin the proverbial cat; here are some additional considerations as you compare cloud tooling options.

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