With the past year defined by remote workforces, virtual collaboration, and unprecedented change, it’s not surprising that more companies are finally making the move to public clouds to improve efficiencies and accelerate digital transformation.
But, in the rush to capitalize on cloud computing, it’s important to identify best practices in order to avoid unexpected costs and complexities that can limit success and future workload expansion.
What areas should organizations review to avoid missteps? The following are five core components companies should prioritize to ensure they optimize outcomes.
1. Security and compliance
No company wants to be named in the next headline about a security breach. However, in the rush to “get apps out to the market,” it’s tempting to overlook important aspects of the cloud foundation.
Making security the top priority is an important first step. Partner with a cloud provider that offers access to tools that allow for comprehensive visibility across the landscape and next-gen capabilities to streamline threat detection and response.
Tools and technology are only part of the solution, however. You also need the right people. Start by including the security team up front for valuable insights and perspectives to ensure alignment with your company’s overall security and compliance goals. That said, some may not be fully cloud-aware yet, so you’ll also want to partner with experts to translate on-premises strategies to the cloud to minimize risk and maximize results at every stage of the cloud journey.
2. Platform governance
A governance framework lets you define who has access to what, where, when, and how within the cloud landscape while also instituting cost guardrails to ensure consumption doesn’t exceed defined thresholds or quotas. Many companies put it off due to limited resources and time or lack of in-house expertise. But, neglecting it can quickly result in the wild, Wild West — with computing environments lacking clear standards, consistency, and cost control.
From naming conventions to tagging resources and defining role-based access to resources, companies need to make governance a priority to ensure proper implementation from the first application they stand up. A good partner can help to put the right standards in place and establish effective guardrails to alert your IT staff to potential issues before they occur. Having a framework in place also provides a clear blueprint for future app deployments and workload expansions based on consistent standards.
3. Network and interconnectivity
While a mature network landscape isn’t required when it comes to deploying applications in the cloud, it can help fend off connectivity risks while providing a more consistent, low-latency experience for end users. Despite these advantages, cloud networking can be murky territory for on-premises networking experts. As a result, many companies miss out on opportunities to fully optimize security and application performance by expanding and integrating their networks into the cloud.
Designing and integrating an effective cloud network can often be best achieved through partnerships. A partner that understands “gotchas” and lessons learned of cloud networking can help to apply best practices to lower connectivity risk, isolate and lower application risk, and minimize app latency. The right partner can also help to integrate different networking technologies, such as platform-as-a-service.
4. Identity and access management
Although it’s often lumped into the main security bucket, identity and access management (IAM) is a distinct pillar within the cloud foundation focused on validating user access and authentication. When implemented properly, it casts a wide net of integrated “security gates,” such as multi-factor authentication, across data and applications in the cloud and on-premises. Many companies miss the need to integrate these tools with their overall identity and security strategy.
5. Monitoring and management
This pillar is about operationalizing and providing visibility into cloud environments to ensure workloads run properly. Achieving the quintessential “single pane of glass” to seamlessly monitor and manage the entire environment is no easy task when it comes to the cloud. Companies need to know their options so they can effectively leverage existing resources more strategically and cost-effectively.
With the right partner, companies can outsource management of the cloud or secure a hybrid approach that shares responsibilities upfront but also positions them to more fully engage the partner as their needs grow. Both of these approaches can accelerate growth and success while freeing critical in-house resources for strategic initiatives.
No matter where you are in your cloud migration or digital transformation journey, effective planning and examination of key areas, such as these, can help to capitalize on the value of the public cloud and extend properly for the best outcomes in the future.