The Top 5 Challenges of Cloud IT Governance (And How You Can Solve Them)

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As cloud computing becomes an ever-growing part of business operations, cloud IT governance presents a major challenge. Cloud IT governance is the process of ensuring that cloud-based services and data are managed, monitored, and secured effectively and consistently. Businesses need to have a solid cloud governance strategy in place to ensure that their data and applications are secure, compliant with regulations, and cost-effective. However, implementing a robust cloud governance framework that enables you to keep your cloud infrastructure in check can be challenging. This blog post discusses the top 5 challenges of cloud governance you need to know and how to address them.

Top 5 Challenges of Cloud IT Governance

Challenge 1: Lack of Centralized Control

When using cloud services, you may often struggle with the lack of centralized control over the infrastructure. For one thing, traditional data centers are easier to manage and maintain consistency across the entire system. In the cloud, however, each service provider has its own set of controls and it can be difficult to manage them all in an organized manner. As a result, you may end up with multiple versions of the same application running on different platforms, making it difficult to maintain consistency.

Solution 1: How to Ensure Centralized Control in Your Cloud Infrastructure

To ensure centralized control, you may want to use a cloud management platform that provides unified visibility and control across all cloud services. This platform should include features such as automated provisioning, configuration management, and user authentication.

Additionally, you should consider implementing a governance framework that outlines how your organization will manage its cloud resources. This framework should include processes for provisioning, deploying, and managing applications, as well as for enforcing compliance and security policies.

Finally, ensure that all members of your team have access to the necessary tools and resources to properly manage your organization’s cloud environment.

By taking these steps, you can ensure that your organization has full visibility and control over its cloud infrastructure.

Problem 2: Difficulty Enforcing Compliance 

Ensuring that cloud infrastructure is compliant with various regulations and standards is a common challenge for businesses today. Many organizations are required to meet certain standards to remain compliant, such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), HIPAA, and the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Enforcing compliance can be difficult due to the dynamic nature of the cloud environment. As users add and delete resources, compliance can quickly become out of date. It can also be difficult to ensure that all users are adhering to the same policies.

Solution 2: How to Facilitate Your Compliance Enforcement

To help mitigate this challenge, consider using automated tools such as Infrastructure as Code (IaC) to manage your organization’s cloud environment. IaC is a system of using software codes for resource provisioning. It eradicates the need for manual configuration tools and allows you to enforce compliance by automatically applying rules and configurations across an entire infrastructure. This ensures that your resources remain compliant even when they are added or removed.

Also, look into software tools that provide automated compliance checks. Automated compliance check software provides a good measure of compliance workflow capabilities such as self-assessment, corrective action planning, and control analysis and testing, which can help them monitor their cloud environments for any potential compliance issues with less effort. Automated compliance checks simply can provide alerts when any policy violations are detected.

You should establish clear policies and procedures for how your organization’s cloud environments should be configured and managed. This will help ensure that everyone involved in managing the cloud environment is aware of the compliance requirements.

Challenge 3: Lack of Visibility Into Who Has Access to What

Another pressing challenge that you can face when dealing with cloud governance is the lack of visibility into who has access to their cloud infrastructure. Without knowing who can access your data, how they’re using it, and what actions they’re taking, you’re unable to secure your data properly and ensure compliance with data privacy regulations.

Solution 3: How to Monitor Access to Your Cloud Resources

To help address this challenge, many organizations are turning to identity and access management (IAM) solutions. These solutions allow you to centrally manage user access rights and privileges across your organization’s cloud infrastructure, as well as monitor user activity in real time. This can help you ensure that only authorized users have access to the resources they need and that those users are not misusing the data or taking unauthorized actions. With the IAM model, admins can designate a single digital identity to every user, authenticate them when they sign in, allow them to access certain resources, and manage the identities from the start to the end of their validity. With the IAM model, your organization can manage in-house employees’ access as well as that of those external to it but essential to its value chain and supply chain like contractors, partners, and customers. Operating an IAM model is an ideal way to reinforce high-level emerging models like zero-trust network security.

To better control cloud infrastructure access, it is as well essential to employ the zero-trust network security model. Zero-trust technology is built on the principle of zero-trust which implies that, unlike earlier security models like perimeter security, the system requires identity authentication and authorization upon any attempt to access cloud resources, regardless of how familiar the system is with the user. This will help ensure that only those users with legitimate access to the data can access it and that any suspicious activity is quickly identified and blocked.

By implementing a comprehensive IAM solution and adopting a zero-trust approach to security, your organization can gain visibility into who has access to its cloud infrastructure, allowing your team to better protect its data in the cloud and stay compliant with cloud data privacy regulations.

Challenge 4: Difficulty Managing Costs

One of the most common challenges associated with cloud governance is difficulty managing costs. With cloud-based resources, it can be difficult to predict how much money you’ll need to spend monthly, as you don’t know what kind of traffic your applications will receive or how much storage you’ll need. Additionally, cloud services often come with hidden fees that can quickly add up if not monitored.

Solution 4: How to Manage Your Costs in the Cloud

The key to managing costs is to stay organized and make sure that you have a clear understanding of what resources you are using and how much they cost. To do this, it is important to track usage patterns, set up budget thresholds, and allocate resources for specific applications in advance. Automated cost optimization tools can also help to ensure that you are only paying for the services that you need. Also important to consider are cost management best practices to enable maximum enforcement of automated cost optimization tools. This involves recurrently monitoring performance, scaling resources as needed, and ensuring a safe termination of unused resources. Also, you should identify nonproduction costs and constrain them through set policies. By ensuring that you are aware of how much you are spending through cost analysis parameters, you can better manage costs and make sure that your cloud operations remain within your budget without compromising the efficacy and security of your cloud infrastructure.

Challenge 5: Security Concerns

When using cloud services, you need to be aware of the potential security risks involved. Cloud computing can open up organizations to data breaches, malware attacks, and malicious actors. Thus, to protect its data in the cloud, your organization must implement strong security measures.

Solution 5: How to Reinforce Your Cloud Security

Without proper authentication, anyone with a username and password could potentially gain access to confidential data stored on the cloud. To mitigate this risk, ensure to use multi-factor authentication and require users to reset their passwords periodically. Also, subject your organization’s systems to regular monitoring for suspicious activity.

Extensive security measures to be taken to ensure multi-factor authentication are modern security models like the zero-trust security earlier discussed and secure access service edge (SASE), which is a cloud-based model designed to offer wide area network (WAN) and network security as a collective solution to support the smooth operation of enterprises in the cloud within the scope of robust cloud security.

Furthermore, consider using encryption technology to better protect your organization’s data. Encryption makes it more difficult for unauthorized users to gain access to sensitive information. Using a virtual private network (VPN) when accessing the cloud can be just another way to ensure that your organization’s traffic is secure.

Conclusion

Running your organization’s operations in the cloud at all times requires more than simply setting operational policies for your workforce. However, while guaranteeing your cloud governance can, in practice, be daunting, frequently observing the paradigms that reflect the status of your cloud infrastructure such as how your computing tools function over time, how users access your organization’s resources, in terms of frequency and navigation behavior, can help you identify the challenges stated in this article for which you can employ the recommended solutions. In all, staying up-to-date with the latest cloud-related trends is one crucial ritual to adopt to remain aware of how to keep your cloud IT governance advanced, dynamic, and robust. By knowing what defines the status quo of the modern cloud, you can take proactive steps to scale your organization’s cloud IT governance.

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