When it comes to cloud computing, Microsoft Azure is one of the most popular choices for organizations around the world. Offering unrivaled functionality, flexibility, security and reliability, there’s really only one option. And, depending on your organization, your cloud infrastructure can be vast—having so many features that can create issues for IT teams in charge of cloud governance.

Overspending, paying for unused features, disused storage, security blind spots and more – there are a whole host of problems and oversights that could be eating into your time and budget. To keep everything running smoothly, you need to consider your approach to Azure cloud governance.

What is Azure cloud governance?

Azure cloud governance refers to the management of your cloud environment, using Microsoft Azure as your primary platform. It helps you tackle key areas of cloud governance that may be troubling you, such as:

  • Controlling costs
  • Smoother compliance
  • Protecting customer data and reducing risk
  • Easier deployment and configuration
  • Monitoring performance and usage

Let’s take a look at each of these trouble areas in more detail to gain a better understanding of how each contributes to your cloud governance plan, and how Azure can improve the process.

Controlling costs  

It’s true that cloud services are cheaper to run than your own custom infrastructure would be. However, it is also easy for costs to begin to spiral if you let your company loose with no policies or restrictions.

To keep spending under control, we recommend limiting your data transfer. Many cloud providers can charge high fees for data transfer to or from a public cloud. Additionally, we recommend making careful assessments when you do transfer large amounts of data to ensure it’s really necessary.

There is no transfer cost for inbound data on Azure, and you can track spend via Inscape Multicloud Cost Management. You should also set up policies within your organization that automatically delete unused resources and old workflows as part of your Azure cloud governance plan. Over time, these cloud assets begin to pile up and can send your storage costs soaring.

Get comprehensive cost visibility, transparency, reporting and cost-saving recommendations across your Microsoft and AWS environment from a single platform. Request a demo of Inscape Multicloud Cost Management

Smoother compliance

Your existing security policy should extend into your cloud environment as though it’s still part of your legacy network. Azure features applications such as Microsoft Sentinel and Defender for Cloud, which make monitoring security and enacting security policy across your organization much easier.

When it comes to compliance, you can use Azure security and compliance blueprints to build out specific compliance protocols for your industry. Pre-made blueprints include compliance with certifications such as ISO:27001, PCI DSS, and more. You can also use Azure Policy to build out specific policies on your Azure usage across your company, and keep all employees fully compliant.

Protecting customer data and reducing risk

This is one of the most important parts of governance: ensuring customer data is being handled and stored properly. And with so much opportunity to collect data, the amount we now handle as businesses is at a record high. If it isn’t managed correctly, you may suffer security breaches, data loss and compliance fines.

To combat threats, Azure encrypts data in transit to keep it safe. There is also an option to encrypt at-rest, which we recommend as standard best practice. However, not all your data is private, not all of it is even useful. And expending cloud costs on encrypting useless, low-quality data is a big waste. As part of your cloud governance plan, we recommend you begin classifying your data so it can be categorized based on goals, confidentiality and quality.

Archiving data also helps to free up storage and prevents cloud sprawl. And different industries require different lifecycle management, which dictates how long you may need to keep data archived before deleting it. Managing this manually is slow work, and human error can jeopardize the privacy of this information.

Azure features a rule-based policy that can move data at the end of its lifecycle to blob file storage automatically – freeing up your storage without manual work. You can also use Azure Monitor and Monitor logs to help search and categorize large amounts of data more easily.

Easier deployment and configuration

Different users require different cloud environments to do their job effectively. And these need to be carefully managed to avoid big fee hikes. For example, if a developer needs a computer temporarily, but forgets to shut it down after using it, this could cause an increase in fees. Another example could be giving a user, who requires lower performance from a virtual desktop, an overpowered computer – again increasing fees.

This is a key element of your Azure cloud governance. You need to ensure that virtual machines are being configured, deployed, and terminated methodically, and with the correct assets to the job that is expected of them. You can standardize this by creating a policy that automatically refers certain environments to certain jobs – with a request system for one-off projects that require different setups.

Continue this standardization in the way your organization stores data. Create logical naming conventions to avoid confusion and even loss of data. We wrote about Azure resource naming conventions and why it’s important, read more about them here.

Monitoring performance and usage

You need to ensure you’re getting the performance you expect, and that there are no anomalies in your organization’s network. To do this in Azure, you can either use Azure Monitor or third-party tools. These will give you performance reports on your entire Azure infrastructure, as well as the number of users, files being accessed and transferred, etc.

Keeping tabs on the way your platform is being used helps security programs spot abnormal behavior too, which can help prevent security issues or system failures by spotting errors before they occur. You will also need to evaluate what you need visibility of to manage your Azure cloud governance plan before making the decision on whether Azure Monitor or a third-party application is the right tool for you.

Building a better cloud governance plan

If you’re looking to build your Azure cloud governance plan, but don’t know where to start, it can pay to get an expert on board from the beginning. With a little expertise, you can avoid the panic of the first sky-high Azure bill and create a robust governance strategy that scales with your business.

At MessageOps, we’ve helped thousands of businesses get their Azure cloud governance off the ground. With our GlidePath™ services, you’re in safe hands. Our tried and tested migration and consulting service allows you to transition to the cloud faster, more securely and in a more cost-effective manner.

To find out more about GlidePath and your seamless transition to Azure, get in touch with our team today.

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