Building An Effective Cloud Cost Governance Strategy: CloudLIVE Recap

Building An Effective Cloud Cost Governance Strategy: CloudLIVE Recap

Author:
Emma Toole Cloud Tech Journalist
Published: June 30, 2020
4 Min Read

CloudHealth recently held its first virtual conference, CloudLIVE. The day-long event was a huge success and was packed with customer-led sessions, keynotes, and even a great Cloud Debate!  

One of the sessions led by Onica, a Rackspace company, focused on how to develop an effective cloud cost governance strategy. The session was led by Sean Anderson, Senior Cloud Business Consultant, and Eric Driscoll, Cloud Business Consultant. Here’s what the two had to say about building an effective cost governance strategy of your own:

What is cost governance? 

Cost governance is all about making sure your cloud resources are in line with your organization’s overall business—and more specifically financial—objectives. But what does that mean? First, your organization needs to define its business goals and strategies, which will then help you develop your cost governance strategy. Cloud cost governance can be broken down into policies, automation, reporting, and oversight. These elements are all interconnected and can help your governance strategy. 

There is no one size fits all for cost governance. Every company is unique and has different requirements and processes when it comes to production cycles, so governance policies should be adapted to reflect this. 

Different ways you can approach cost governance 

There are multiple strategies and ways to build an effective cost governance strategy. To start, be sure to set technical and financial objectives based on desired business priorities to avoid creating governance policies that could be in conflict with the organization’s broader business goals. This alignment might be challenging, so it might be beneficial if teams with expertise in cost optimization efficiency and cloud governance are in collaboration with your organization’s executives.

Another strategy is to start by looking at your reports and dashboards to get a holistic view of your cloud environment. Regularly tracking and reporting on cost metrics and KPIs can help your team notice when and where things are going wrong. For example, forgetting to turn off an instance could waste thousands of dollars in the cloud, so understanding where in your environment spend can be reduced can inform you of where to start building cost governance policies first. 

Creating a clean and organized tagging strategy can help make things more clear. Everything launched in the cloud is attached to a specific account and tagged appropriately. With the right tagging strategy in place, your resources and instances can easily be associated with specific accounts to help maintain organization. Accounts can then be used to delineate larger topics like clients, applications, dev teams, environments, and more. Your tagging strategy has downstream consequences on reporting—which ultimately affects the level of insight and transparency you receive—and inaccurate reporting can skew how you think about building impactful cost governance policies.  

What about automation?

The goal of standardization is to solve common, undifferentiated problems in efficient ways. With standardization, it’s easy to include cost-efficiency best practices into your organization’s deployment cycles to ensure proper usage by all lines of business. 

That being said, your team will need to find the balance between what problems to solve and standardize through policies, and which ones to avoid. With standardization, there is no one-size-fits-all approach—some applications can be negatively impacted and workflows slowed down by standard policies that don’t take their unique requirements into consideration. Making sure there are guardrails in place for governing usage and spend is important, but so is being flexible. Work with developers to make sure they are educated on the new governance policies, and allow them to provide feedback on how these new policies are affecting their projects.  

Enforcement of rules in the pipeline starts with governance policies, but long-term success and governance comes from automating these policies. Create alerts to notify stakeholders when a policy has been violated, and build automated workflows to take remediating action on your behalf. 

How can CloudHealth help you achieve cloud cost governance? 

CloudHealth has the ability to create budgets, implement policies and alerts, create reporting dashboards, organize perspectives and tags, and automate actions—all of which can all help streamline your cost governance strategy. 

“CloudHealth is the tool that we use here at Onica not only internally to service ourselves, but also to service and support our clients."

—Eric Driscoll
Cloud Business Consultant, Onica

If you want to learn more about creating a cloud cost governance strategy of your own, be sure to check out our eBook “6 Policy Types for Governing Your AWS Environment”. 

To watch Onica’s full CloudLIVE session, click here

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Emma Toole
Emma Toole, Cloud Tech Journalist

Emma Toole is the current Digital Content Marketing Co-op at CloudHealth and spends her time writing blogs about cloud industry news and best practices. Outside of CloudHealth, Emma is a student at Northeastern University pursuing a Business Administration degree with concentrations in Marketing and Supply Chain along with her minor in Sustainable Business Practices. In her free time, Emma enjoys creating videos with the only film club on campus, Northeastern Television (NUTV).

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