Six Pillars to Optimise Your Cloud
Going beyond cost optimisation
With digital transformation remaining a top priority for organisations across industries, business and IT leaders around the world continue to work toward optimising their value extraction of cloud-based technologies and infrastructure. While the myriad operational benefits may be well known, many businesses are learning that cloud optimisation is a process of maturation that occurs over time. Organisations should expect to encounter five common challenges. And they should focus on six pillars to drive optimisation successfully.
Cloud optimisation is the process of continuously maturing cloud-related processes within the enterprise, which drives accelerated business outcomes, thereby maximising the organisation’s value derived from its cloud investments.
In our work with IT leaders, we have identified the following five challenges as being the most common, and perhaps the most difficult, for businesses to navigate during the cloud optimisation initiative:
Security – In theory, cloud environments should improve security, but due largely to the persistence of human error (misconfiguration, insecure code, phishing, etc.), many businesses are finding themselves increasingly vulnerable to cyber threats. In fact, Kaspersky Lab reports that nearly 90% of cloud breaches are the result of human error.
Compliance – Industry-specific and constantly evolving regulations surrounding digital technology are becoming increasingly difficult to navigate. This challenge grows with the introduction of multicloud and hybrid-cloud systems, often leading to an inefficient state with inefficient processes.
Governance – Even though cloud optimisation requires a multidisciplinary approach spanning multiple components and focus areas across an organisation, many businesses have poorly defined governance processes or lack them entirely. In the absence of clearly established ownership related to each component, organisations face ongoing operational inefficiencies, as well as resilience and control effectiveness concerns, ultimately preventing the true value of the cloud from being realised.
Talent – Various factors have caused organisations to rush into digital transformations without the necessary upskilling or cross-skilling efforts. As a result, many still lack the talent to manage optimisation effectively, particularly amid ongoing challenges to recruit and retain qualified technology professionals.
Cost – Many organisations view cloud optimisation primarily as a vehicle for cutting costs; thus, they naturally become frustrated when the need to address any of the above challenges results in increased spending. By limiting their focus to becoming cost-effective, businesses lose sight of the cloud’s true value opportunities. In other words, businesses are missing the forest for the trees.
The only proven way to overcome these common challenges is to look beyond cost optimisation and toward an optimised implementation of cloud technology and infrastructure.
Various factors have caused organisations to rush into digital transformations without the necessary upskilling or cross-skilling efforts.
Six pillars for cloud optimisation success
The first step to maximising value through cloud optimisation is learning to see beyond the perceived cost savings. Cost optimisation will happen over time, but only as the result of a focused and strategic build-out and implementation of the cloud environment.
Following are six pillars of success to help businesses hone a strategy that suits their individual operations and infrastructure and, most importantly, prioritises effective cloud optimisation.
Efficiency – Well-designed processes are critical to optimising the value extraction from cloud services, specifically those avoiding increased spend related to recurring bottlenecks throughout implementation. Operational efficiency should be assessed regularly to identify and mitigate underconsumption or performance issues. Additionally, businesses should have clearly defined principles surrounding interoperability and sustainability, as this will pave the way to a seamless utilisation of the cloud across multiple segments of the organisation.
Security – A strong and reliable security posture is one that leans into automation and minimises human intervention. To combat security threats effectively, existing control measures should be evaluated to determine which processes may need to be improved or replaced. Businesses should also strongly consider integrating zero trust architecture or tools like continuous verification of configurations and permissions.
Transparency – When it comes to cloud optimisation, creating an environment of transparency throughout the organisation is essential as it works to eliminate the frequent missteps that result from siloed operations. To unify optimisation efforts, businesses should implement a centralised governance strategy to increase visibility and enforce leading practices. Additionally, establishing specific cloud success metrics will help guide operations and provide a more in-depth overview of how each separate initiative is progressing.
Culture – Building an effective culture means organising teams and departments around the shared objective of cloud optimisation. As the business migrates to the cloud, communication is key to ensuring everyone is on the same page and working efficiently toward that collective goal. In practice, this might mean establishing a cloud center of excellence or a team of specialists that can manage capabilities and improve the adoption of leading practices across the organisation. On the security side, businesses should optimise their development, security and operations (DevSecOps) efforts to the point that they become a way of life.
Enhancement – The optimisation process should enhance existing capabilities. Otherwise, the overall value of optimising the cloud is diminished. If existing capabilities are not enhanced and the organisation is encountering unforeseen complications during each phase, the organisation may need to reevaluate its approach and begin leveraging new tools. For example, deploying machine learning and artificial intelligence tools enable businesses to continually enhance processes through automation. Similarly, businesses should implement a data mobility strategy to complement their operations, which is a way to ensure that data not only is accessed and shared, but also produces positive impacts as efficiently as possible.
Innovation – Embracing innovative practices is one of the biggest drivers behind cloud migration and optimisation. A migration to the cloud can lead to other innovations as well. Simply put, the cloud has become one of the key mechanisms to adopt leading-edge technologies, such as quantum computing, artificial intelligence and edge computing. Innovation also proves to be the key to realising the “value beyond cost” proposition. When the cloud environment is optimised, it can be leveraged to develop new revenue models, simplify processes, and enhance experiences both inside and outside of the organisation. Perhaps more than anything, the cloud is a vehicle for growth and evolution. It allows a traditional financial services company, for example, to become an innovator in the fintech space, or a healthcare organisation to emerge as a leader in the burgeoning health-tech industry.
Call to action
Businesses today can maximise their investments into the cloud by optimising both planning and deployment, while also realising that there are some intangible aspects to the savings that can be realised.
As the business migrates to the cloud, communication is key to ensuring everyone is on the same page and working efficiently toward that collective goal.
When the cloud environment is optimised, it can be leveraged to develop new revenue models, simplify processes, and enhance experiences both inside and outside of the organisation.
Determining whether your cloud is truly optimised can be incredibly difficult without a clear assessment of current efforts, as well as a comprehensive roadmap for improvement. Through the utilisation of our six pillars for success, Protiviti’s Cloud Solutions practice offers ongoing assessments of cloud optimisation strategies and implementations, providing the feedback, tools and leading practices necessary to overcome common challenges and maximise the value of ongoing digital transformations. Our experts will help you assess your situation, develop a plan and implement a solution to extend the value of the cloud and drive cloud optimisation.
Regardless of where you are on your cloud journey, Protiviti can help. Our experts have a wide range of experience in everything from accelerating deployments and integrating comprehensive cloud governance strategies to improving security postures and simplifying the accessibility of thousands of previously isolated resources.
Our cloud services include:
- Advisory: Define the strategy for governing and managing cloud operations.
- Security: Protect your most valuable data and successfully operate your business in the cloud through policy controls, architecture and automation.
- Transformation: Enable cloud solutions that fit the needs of cloud adoption teams, employee awareness of leading practices, and a thoughtful approach toward cloud transformation.
- Management: Ensure resource consistency, deployment acceleration, security and identity baselines, cost and performance optimisation.
- Innovation: Encourage and identify opportunities for leading cloud practices, continual learning, growth, and use of the cloud and emerging technologies to drive organisational growth.
To learn more about Protiviti’s cloud solutions and how to realise the true value of digital transformation, contact us at [email protected].
1. “Understanding Security of the Cloud: From Adoption Benefits to Threats and Concerns,” Kaspersky Lab, www.kaspersky.com/blog/understanding-security-of-the-cloud/.