Top Five Tips for Tuning-Up Your Cloud Strategy and Environment
Check out these tops tips for cleaning up your cloud infrastructure
In the spirit of “spring cleaning”, it’s a great time to offer five tips for tuning-up your cloud technology environment.
Here are practical and meaningful tips that will pay dividends to you and your organization.
Tip 1: Audit and Reconcile Cloud Licenses
Most cloud offerings bill on a monthly or annual licensing subscription model. And with the daily demands assigned to the IT team, ad-hoc changes can add up quickly. It is a great practice to audit the licenses purchased and reconcile how they are allocated across your team. You may find that Beth in accounting, who couldn’t live without a Power BI subscription last year, hasn’t used the product in over 8 months. It’s also a good idea to review the upgrades and changes to the cloud licensing models. You may find there are better packages out there that you should leverage and migrate to. Quick hint: Document the annual cost savings you identify and remediate each licensing audit session and be sure to include that bottom line dollar amount in your upcoming employee review!
Tip 2: Analyze Trends and Usage
While performance and uptime are often monitored in real-time through management software, a cloud infrastructure presents a slightly different challenge and opportunity. In most cloud models, the consumption of technology resources is a variable utility cost that can greatly impact your IT budget. As such, it is important to perform a historical trend assessment and review of items such as memory, CPU, IOPS, and data growth. All these items could be costing you money simply because of erroneous data and/or processes consuming resources. Take the time to review what data is being used, what processes are needed, and tune up the requirements and utilization of your cloud footprint. Just because you have it, doesn’t mean you need it.
Tip 3: Audit Cloud User Access
Security is top of mind for all IT professionals. It’s important to get on a recurring schedule to audit the account access into your cloud environment. We face requirements to allow internal IT staff and 3rd party vendor access to cloud resources to collaborate on specific projects or initiatives. A breach doesn’t have to occur from within your environment, it can start with those who have administrative keys to the kingdom of your cloud platform. Document the need – and duration – of access and ensure your security policies and best practices like multi-factor authentication (MFA) apply to all accounts that have administrative rights to your cloud resources. If possible, configure your cloud design in such a way to compartmentalize access on an as-required basis. Failed-closed is a good practice to adopt!
Tip 4: Research New Releases or Key Features
Allocate time out of your busy schedule to review new cloud features. Read through the specifics and review how they apply to your organization. You may find your current cloud provider has introduced valuable enhancements that way your organization can leverage. Staying abreast of the technology tidal wave is tough, but it can pay huge dividends in the long run. Assign ownership across team members to develop leadership skills and accountability. Take the opportunity to comb over the vast end user forums available for not only the solutions you currently employ but also visit the neighborhood up the street. You may find inspiration and learn best practices from peers facing similar challenges.
Tip 5: Automate and Self-Heal
Many of the duties recommended above should be done on a frequent basis. The challenge is that with all the pressure IT teams are under, it is hard to carve out the time. Initiatives like CRM implementations, Business Intelligence, and security enhancements often crowd out key activities needed to keep your environment healthy. At Logically, we believe that automation is essential to keep your “IT house” clean year-round. OpLogicTM is a cloud-based automation system that enables IT environments to self-heal, increasing uptime and reducing security risks. It automates many routine IT tasks like patch management, and enables self-healing when problems inevitably occur.
The Cloud can be a wonderful thing, but it needs to be treated and handled with care and as a strategic initiative. I hope these recommendations provide some practical next steps for getting the most out of your cloud initiatives.