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The cloud is here to stay.

It’s estimated that 90% of all businesses are using the cloud in some way, and over the next decade spending on the public cloud alone is expected to go up by as much as $500 billion. As a result, businesses are launching new cloud-based infrastructures and migrating vital data and applications at a frantic pace, and benefiting from decreased costs, increased agility, and faster product and service launch times.

Of course, moving parts of your operations to the cloud isn’t as simple as just moving files around. Without proper management and oversight, cloud projects can create a long list of serious issues such as cost overruns, data breaches, and regulatory fines. This is where governance becomes crucial. A solid governance plan can keep things running smoothly from day one, and keep your infrastructure at peak performance moving forward.

This approach to governance is what sets businesses that are cloud leaders apart from their fellow businesses. These are the businesses that are leveraging the cloud efficiently and effectively, and avoiding the pitfalls that can come from mismanaged assets and lax policies and protocols.

Growing your cloud environment alongside your business is often a tricky balancing act as you try to maintain both agility and control. Speed and flexibility are needed to stay competitive, but without processes in place to ensure the security of your IT resources, you’re not gaining the advantage you set out to achieve. Centralized governance is the best way to accomplish these goals.

These are the six steps businesses who’ve mastered cloud governance follow to keep their cloud-based operations functional, productive, and secure.

1) Place Someone In Charge Of Overseeing Governance

Typically referred to as your business’ Cloud Optimization Manager, Cloud Governance Manager, or Cloud Steward, this individual is responsible for keeping on top of how your cloud services are being used. Ideally, the individual chosen for this position is someone who:

  • Has a solid understanding of your operations from top to bottom
  • Has a good understanding of the role technology plays within your business

Part of their function within your business will be leading a team that defines best practices for building and managing cloud resources and assets. By having a Cloud Steward in charge of optimization and governance, your business can maintain better and more efficient control over your cloud environment.

2) Have A Clear Cost Management Strategy In Place

Keeping costs under control and minimizing any possible financial risks that stem from a cloud environment is extremely important, and somewhat complicated. There are multiple factors to take into consideration, and some of those factors can evolve and change. By putting a system in place to keep your business current with marketplace cost structures, you can better predict and control your costs.

Businesses that understand how cloud pricing structures work are much more successful at keeping costs down, and often have comprehensive strategies in place to manage the ongoing costs of cloud deployments.

3) Adopt A ‘Manage By Exception’ Approach

As with any other part of your IT environment, proactive monitoring and early warning measures are an ideal way to correct potential problems before they can cause disruptions, downtime, or other complications. Mitigating issues as quickly and efficiently as possible is the best way to keep your infrastructure operating at peak performance at all times.

4) Keep A Close Eye On Internal Usage

While monitoring your infrastructure for external threats is critical, it shouldn’t be the only area under constant scrutiny. A great way to keep costs down is monitoring your internal systems and users to catch improper usage of company resources or unexpected outages. Most large corporations have policies in place to keep staff from using company resources in ways that can create security concerns, and a number of smaller business have now started to do the same.

As cloud applications become more readily available, the strain on your IT department will increase. Clear practices that govern the use of your resources by dictating which employees or departments are allowed access to certain resources eliminates confusion, which in turn eliminates risks.

5) Implement A Standard Usage Architecture

Simply knowing what is and isn’t allowed where usage is concerned can stop your employees from relying on inefficient methods that drive up your monthly costs. Policies and guidelines can cover everything from the span of time your development team is permitted to run programs in the cloud to the maximum thresholds for memory. The goal should be to optimize efficiency while keeping costs under control. You’re not trying to limit your staff from using business resources, but rather use them in a way that benefits your business as a whole.

6) Make Governance An Ongoing Effort

It should come as no surprise that a tool as flexible and versatile as the cloud needs constant attention to run efficiently and effectively. Policies need to be updated regularly to keep up with changes to cost structures, services, and usage patterns. Cloud optimization is a process, not a one-time solution. Businesses that treat it as such will have a hard time finding real success with their cloud environment.

As cloud adoption continues to become more widespread, simply using the cloud is no longer enough to give your business an advantage. A successful business is one that uses the cloud wisely and continues to find ways to make big changes to the way they conduct business. Taking governance seriously will put your business on a path to long-term success.

Want to learn more about how the right cloud technology solutions can help your business succeed? Contact CPU Inc. at info@CPUonline.com or (419) 872-9119. We’re the trusted IT professionals for businesses nationwide.

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