Governing the Cloud: What is the best way to maintain control?

Across the globe, seamless Cloud Migration and digital transformation is becoming a top priority across businesses. But with this change, a top priority for CIOs, IT and CISOs is the question of how to mitigate the myriad of security concerns that arise before, through and after the process of migration.

Organizations across the world are now employing a specific individual – a CISO or Chief Information Security Officer – to ensure that security issues are addressed before problems arise. Such is the urgency of Cloud Governance and Control challenges.

Why Cloud Governance?
The cloud is a decentralized, rapidly growing virtual server – which makes control and security a constant concern.

Cloud governance is the development and implementation of those very controls to manage access, budget, and compliance across workloads in the cloud. It sounds a lot like IT Governance, but cloud governance processes need to be considered separately.

Reinventing and Restructuring Governance is Imperative

Streamlining access for users and rules establishes, verifies, and enforces budget and policy compliance. This translates to agility, speed, and cost savings benefits. Automation may be the key to reinventing governance and control in the cloud, but below are four key reasons that lend credence to why it should be done right!

1) For Easier Cloud Resource Management
as companies straddle multiple private and public cloud environments.

Cloud Governance

  • helps organize the large account volumes
  • provides visibility around key cloud activities and trends

2) To Curb Shadow IT

as employees may turn to using personal cloud accounts for convenience when stalled.

Cloud Governance

  • establishes an easily navigable request & access framework
  • facilitates usage across cloud resources within compliance & budget constraints
  • decreases employee frustration; increasing confidence in using the cloud

3) To Mitigate Risk

from exposed data and non-compliance with policies or regulations to cost overruns.

Cloud Governance

  • ensures that S3 buckets have proper controls to keep them private,
  • enforces compliance regulations such as HIPAA/FedRAMP
  • controls spend limits so that they are not exceeded

4) To Reduce Labor
evolving from manual tasks such as using spreadsheets, tracking accounts & compliance.

Cloud Governance

  • controls access, budget to prevent budget overruns
  • provides for enforcement actions

saves time & effort by guard railing non-compliant activities

Governance@scale: The formula for effectiveness

Cloud governance demands a greater focus on business architecture, in the same way that successful cloud adoption is dependent on close alignment with business goals and strategy.

Effective cloud governance is crafted when this approach straddles 3 pillars:

Pillar 1: Account Management
Cloud best practice recommends moving multiple-tenant workloads from a single cloud account or subscription into a  distinct account to keep systems compliant and safeguard critical data. Thus, cloud environments require smarter and more automated systems in order to detect changes and adapt to proper policy enforcement. Authentication, Data Protection, and Security Event Management accelerate returns on technology investment while maintaining appropriate security controls and posture.

Pillar 2: Budget Enforcement
Cloud resources must be ready and waiting for new requests to come in. Hence, with IT now buying services, hardware, and software in advance, proper monitoring, projecting and accounting becomes essential. Closely accounting for what is being purchased — and by whom — provides financial transparency and fiscal control estimate and manage organization budgets.

Pillar 3: Compliance
A security assessment helps to gain an understanding of the security posture of virtualized infrastructure, enabling businesses to adhere to policy or compliance objectives. To this end, automation is important — as well as closed-loop compliance on both configuration and regulatory policies. Regardless of the industry, organizations must ensure that their IT meets the regulatory, operational, and security gold standards established for compliance in their industry.

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