Many businesses use automation and orchestration in their daily operations in order to better control deployments in the cloud, accelerate responses, and streamline processes. But did you know it is also possible to automate cloud policy governance to reduce the complexity of keeping your network secure?
No matter what level of presence your business has in the cloud, governing the environment is complex. Not only do you have to keep ahead of the game in terms of security, but there can be financial, operational, and performance implications for the policies you implement to keep the network secure.
In order to keep financial, operational, and performance targets on track, you need to have a deep understanding of how elements of your IT infrastructure work together and implement cloud policies that drive targets forward without compromising security. This only adds to the complexities of governing the environment and addressing policy violations when they occur.
The solution to the growing complexity of cloud policy governance is automation. In much the same way as automation and orchestration can better control deployments, accelerate responses, and streamline processes, automated cloud policy governance can better control the environment, accelerate responses to policy violations, and streamline the processes for how policy violations are addressed.
How Automated Cloud Policy Governance Works
The concept is quite simple. You upload your cloud policies to a cloud management platform with automation capabilities. The platform monitors activity in the cloud and, if a policy is violated or an action requires approval before it is allowed, the platform addresses the violation/approval request in one of the following ways:
- Notifies you (or other designated person) of the violation by email.
- Suspends an action until the approval workflow process is completed.
- Executes a function to terminate a non-conforming activity.
- Executes a function to revoke access to misconfigured or suspicious accounts.
Examples of how automated cloud policy governance works include applying a policy to advise you when costs are projected to exceed a monthly budget, to suspend the launch of a Virtual Machine if its CPU capacity exceeds a certain level, to terminate a Virtual Machine with unauthorized open ports, and to revoke access to an account logged into from a non-conforming IP address.
The automation of cloud policy governance means you only have to govern by exception—i.e. when non-conforming activities need to be addressed, or when policies need to be amended to account for an expansion of your cloud presence. In the same way as automation and orchestration frees IT personnel to focus on more profitable activities, automated cloud policy governance can create more time for business-critical decision making.
Further Benefits of Automated Cloud Policy Governance
The examples provided above are not the limits to how automated cloud policy governance can be applied. The same platform that notifies you of a policy violation can be configured to schedule on/off times for non-production assets, switch Reserved Instances between Regional and Availability Zone scopes, or alert you to data in frequent access storage volumes that have not been accessed recently.
The list of potential benefits varies according to the industry your business operates in, but generally includes optimized security management, optimized financial management, optimized operational management, and optimized performance management—driving targets forward without compromising security or adding to the complexity of governing the environment.