Creating Value with Effective Cloud Governance in 7 Steps

It is no secret — organizations are looking to gain a competitive advantage and grow their businesses by leveraging the cloud. The value proposition is obvious: infrastructure and services on-demand, scalability, improved security, pay-as-you-go pricing, and access to an ever-growing number of resources that provide a multitude of functionalities and features that help drive innovation, revenue, and ultimately, the realization of strategic goals.

Consider this: Gartner predicts that by 2026 “public cloud spending will exceed 45% of all enterprise IT spending.” This year Gartner predicts cloud consumers will spend ~$495B on cloud computing; next year, they expect that number will grow to $600B.

If those seem like large numbers, it’s because they are, in fact, very large numbers… much larger than the estimated $6B in Cloud Spending in 2008 (the same year Google released its App Engine and two years following Amazon’s release of Elastic Compute Cloud, the first modern cloud infrastructure service), but not quite as large as the more than $1T in value that McKinsey estimates cloud consumers are deriving in benefits.

With the tremendous growth and great benefits, organizations should be accelerating their adoption of cloud computing, right? Well, maybe.

Cloud adoption requires an appropriate strategy and management, and that is where Cloud Governance comes into play. In a nutshell, good Cloud Governance is just an extension of corporate risk governance, which seeks to create value for shareholders and stakeholders while protecting the value they’ve already created. In geek-speak, we call value creation the ‘Performance’ factor of Governance, and the value protection factor of governance is called ‘Conformance.’

So how do we create good cloud governance that simultaneously creates and protects business value? From our experience, there are numerous factors to consider. Here are our top 7:

    1. Approach cloud adoption and operations based upon defined business drivers and create a specific, data-driven cloud adoption strategy that makes cloud security a priority throughout all stages of cloud adoption and beyond.
    2. Practice security from day one by making cloud security a central focus point for all technical and business level strategic decisions while also ensuring that the developers are included in these decisions.
    3. Establish a Cloud Center of Enablement comprised of a strong executive presence and cloud subject matter experts who can evangelize and energize your cloud journey by providing an adoption framework, best practices, and training support.
    4. Dedicate expert resources to support the various key aspects of cloud governance: risk management, issue management, security controls management, financial operations, project management support, and company-wide cloud training.
    5. Assess regulatory applicability to ensure you are aware of and can comply with rules and regulations around consumer privacy, data security, and financial reporting.
    6. Develop policy, standards, and procedures that clearly define how you will adhere to rules and regulations while running your business from the Cloud.
    7. Design and implement controls that detail how your organization will 1) adhere to the rules and requirements documented in your standards, 2) monitor controls for deviations, and 3) address deviations from the requirements.

The Cloud can transform your business – it can drive faster time to market, cost savings, more robust security, and the realization of countless other strategic benefits. Still, it can’t do it without appropriate governance.

Organizations that are currently leveraging the Cloud or plan to need to ensure the following: 1) Senior leadership – to include engaging their Board in the cloud adoption strategy 2) Cloud adoption strategy clearly ties to their strategic business goals, and 3) that they have guardrails in place to protect that strategy.

Infinitive’s cloud experts can help your organization create a unique competitive advantage and protect your business value by implementing a cloud governance framework. For more information on how to stay secure, efficient, and cost-effective during your cloud migration journey, contact us today!