business woman reviewing cloud cost management reportsMicrosoft Azure provides everything organizations need to operate in the cloud. With unprecedented control and customization, businesses are able to manage costs as they scale up or down, and adapt to an unpredictable world post-pandemic. However, hidden costs may catch you by surprise—no matter how well you have your cloud costs covered, there are common threats can still infiltrate your environment.

Many factors can contribute to cost escalations in the public cloud, and predicting and identifying anomalies in your Azure (and AWS) environments faster can help you avoid unnecessary spend. Fortunately, there are also a few ways that every business can cross the t’s and dot the i’s of a successful cloud cost management strategy to prevent unexpected cost anomalies.

In this post we explore how to identify and manage the hidden costs of cloud computing, highlight three causes of unexpected cloud costs, and provide what we think is the best way to stay on top of your cloud spend.

Cloud cost management: virtue or vice?

Virtue, vice, or just a victim of its own success? Take a step back to consider that only five years ago the cloud was viewed by some businesses with suspicion, as an unnecessary risk. It took years of successful migrations to show that the cloud was the secure, cost-effective, and powerful alternative to on-premises IT that was promised. The complete shutdown of the world’s workplaces during the pandemic has also been a significant factor in the growth of the cloud.

It’s fair to say that the benefits of the cloud are not only understood and embraced, but it’s now more a case of how could we ever live without it? And the ability to control costs and scale up and down to meet the fluctuations of running a business post-pandemic is perhaps its greatest virtue.

Yet, at the same time, cloud cost management can quickly become a headache. In part this is down to its success. As organizations modernize and migrate more of their infrastructure to the cloud, it becomes harder to manage. From cloud sprawl to managing licenses, there are many ways that costs can mount up and catch you out if you’re not keeping an eye out.

Today, the cloud is a business imperative, so there’s no escaping this challenge. But with a few easy steps you can optimize Azure cloud cost management. Forget virtue or vice, it virtually looks after itself.

Get free Azure cost anomaly detection and alerting with Inscape Anomaly. Learn more

Hidden costs of cloud computing

There are three key threats that contribute to unexpected cloud costs. And no matter how well you set up your cloud infrastructure (right-sizing your virtual machines, optimizing unused/idle services, managing power schedules by turning on/off your servers, etc.), how well you train your staff, or how well you manage your cloud costs, it is still not enough to protect you from cloud sticker-shock. These three things can still cause spikes in your Azure bill:

  1. Code anomalies– Runaway code queries, rogue processes, and development bugs can consume compute without anyone knowing. A needle in a haystack, code anomalies will most likely remain undetected until you see an unexpected rise in your cloud spend.
  2. Human error – A spike in cloud spend may also be due to human error. Whether it’s a mistake in the code, or simply because someone forgot to turn a program off and it runs for a month in the background—human error is an inevitable part of life.
  3. Malicious actors– The third most common cause of unexpected cloud costs is an unsavoury one. There’s always the risk of malicious actors or malicious code triggering activity out of view. And the growing risk of the cybersecurity threats are well known, but the threat of malicious actors from inside your organization—perhaps disgruntled employees—is greater than you might think.

Cloud Cost Management Threats Infographic

Previously, the only way to discover these anomalies was when your bill arrived…but that’s not the case anymore.

Azure cloud cost management with Inscape™

When you partner with MessageOps, you get access to Inscape™, a suite of tools that helps make managing every aspect of Microsoft Azure easier than ever, including cloud cost management.

Inscape™ Anomaly monitors activity across your systems, detecting and reporting any anomalies that result in the most common hidden costs of cloud computing. Anomalies are flagged so you can stop them from spiraling out of control, before you receive the bill. With Inscape™ Anomaly, you get a set of X-ray goggles that monitor everything that contributes to Azure cloud cost management. Using Machine Learning algorithms, Inscape Anomaly alerts you of any cost anomalies by monitoring your Azure consumption patterns daily.

Inscape™ Multicloud Cost Management & Visibility gives you a financial snapshot of all cloud spend across your Microsoft tech stack. With a couple of clicks you can see how much you are spending in Microsoft 365, Azure, Azure reservation, and more. This provides comprehensive cost visibility, transparency, and reporting across your Microsoft environment. And it also caters for multi-cloud setups too.

And that’s just cloud cost management. Inscape™ has a lot more to offer, and can help you streamline and optimize every aspect of your Azure cloud environments.

Free Cost Anomaly Detection & Alerting

Do you currently get alerted if there is a cost anomaly in your Azure environment? Have you ever been surprised by unexpected spikes in your Azure bill? Start using Inscape Anomaly for FREE.

Experience and expertise in everything cloud

MessageOps, a division of Sirius (a CDW company), helps to provide the solutions and services to help you optimize Azure cloud cost management.

To learn more about Azure cloud cost management and how our cloud experts can help you achieve your goals, schedule a free consultation with MessageOps today.

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