Cloud Governance Made Easy with 4 Built-In Azure Tools
Cloud is no longer a new frontier as some 80% of organizations leverage one form of it or another according to ITPro Today and Dell EMC’s State of the Cloud study. Yet, that doesn’t mean life in the cloud, or the journey to it for that matter, is easy. Challenges remain and the way organizations respond to them can mean the difference between succeeding in the cloud and possibly facing the unenviable task of bringing workloads back on prem.
Among the top challenges in the ITPro Today and Dell EMC report are:
- Complexity around security – 57%
- Cost (TCO, ROI) – 45%
- Legacy infrastructure – 40%
- GRC (governance, risk, and compliance) – 39%
- Legacy applications or other services – 35%
- Data locality and other services – 32%
- Corporate or executive sponsorship – 14%
The top three challenges above probably don’t come as much of a surprise. Security is at or near the top of any list of challenges facing technology today. The same is true of cost as well as of the conflict between legacy and modern solutions. However, the fourth item on that list, challenges around governance, risk, and compliance, is one many organizations don’t consider before setting course for the cloud. Failing to do so can delay or even severely reduce cloud ROI.
Getting a handle on cloud governance strategies and solutions
Governance, risk, and compliance are three things that must be addressed prior to any type of cloud project. There’s a strategic component that must be worked out among internal stakeholders, IT resources, cloud partners, and so on. It must also be addressed from a technological perspective. Organizations leveraging Microsoft Azure have multiple native technologies they can roll out in order to turn that challenge into a strength.
Let’s review four resources included with Azure licenses that can do just that:
- Azure Policy collects all of an organization’s compliance data into a single location. It crosschecks new cloud workloads against that stored data to ensure conformity with applicable regulations and policies. These guardrails, as Microsoft refers to them, can continue to ensure compliance even as an organization scales up (or down) its cloud footprint. Recently, Microsoft integrated Azure Policy with Azure DevOPs to allow developers access to production environments while stopping non-compliant code from being inadvertently released company-wide.
- Azure Cost Management integrates with built-in Azure tools to help organizations get the greatest ROI from their cloud investments. For example, Azure Cost Management pairs with Azure Advisor to optimize costs by eliminating idle resources. It can also lean on Power BI to drive further cost-streamlining customizations. Recent enhancements to Azure Cost Management allow it to deliver real time cost analysis as well as budget thresholds. This latter innovation can help prevent sprawl, keeping organizations pointed squarely at the cloud goals they laid out for themselves.
- Azure Blueprints reduce the complexity of new large-scale Azure deployments by putting everything a cloud admin might need all in one package. Azure Blueprints ties templates, access controls, and tried-and-true policies together in a single architectural design. This blueprint is applicable to new Azure deployments, ensuring best practices and regulatory compliance. Additionally, these blueprints can help manage versioning and updating an environment over time while locking out potentially harmful changes.
- Azure Resource Graph gives admins a bird’s eye view of their cloud environment. They can clearly see and review the solutions and resources deployed throughout their Azure tenant. They’re also able to drill down to gain insights into the properties of these resources and how they interact, if at all, with each other. These can prevent issues with compatibility as well as clarify how a change to one resource could reverberate throughout the environment.
Next steps: Refine your cloud governance strategy with Azure
All you need to do is activate the above Azure resources in order for them to begin generating meaningful value for those already in the Microsoft cloud. For those only just embarking on their Azure journey, these solutions – and the tactical conversations around cloud governance, risk, and compliance – are an essential part of preparations.
Need a hand working with any of these resources? Or, would you like to bounce strategic ideas off someone who has been there before? Arraya’s Cloud and Workspace team is here to help. Head over to https://www.arrayasolutions.com/contact-us/ to start a dialogue with them today.
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