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March 31, 2023 | 2 min read
Cloud Governance: How Cloud Frameworks help Drive Business Objectives
Kane Daniel

Kane Daniel

Head of Savings

Kane Daniel is the Head of Savings at Usage AI, a cloud cost savings company based out of New York.
Cloud Governance

Cloud governance refers to the set of policies and procedures that an organization puts in place to oversee its cloud operations. Aimed to ensure compliance, security, performance, and cost expectations are consistently satisfied, you can consider cloud governance as a homeostatic level of how your cloud organization should be performing in any given moment. 

Organizations typically construct a cloud governance framework by incorporating their existing IT practices. However, some organizations may opt to create a completely new set of rules and policies that are specifically tailored to the cloud. Having a framework in place is crucial for improving oversight and control over various aspects of cloud operations, including data management, data security, risk management, legal procedures, cost management, and more. As organizations move more workloads to the cloud, a systemized approach to cost management is essential to align teams on cost-savings goals across a decentralized cloud environment.

Think of it as a series of guardrails. This involves creating and enforcing guidelines that dictate how users interact with cloud environments, ensuring that cloud services and systems are consistently performing as expected. The process of cloud governance encompasses defining, implementing, and monitoring these policies to maintain effective cloud management.

The Wild West

The Wild West days of the cloud are in their twilight. Using unapproved 3rd party services, ignoring security protocols, failing to document changes, overprovisioning resources, creating monolithic applications, and failing to monitor resources are all but a few examples of cloud-related behaviors that cloud governance frameworks are being established to contain. 

Cloud governance is the new sheriff in town, and they’re bringing the law. 

However, the law is only effective insofar as it is followed. How do you bridge the gap between intention and practice?

Whatever the answer may be, establishing a FinOps culture is a great start.

What is FinOps?

A FinOps culture is essential to ensuring that an organization's cloud goals are met and business value is consistently derived from cloud technologies. FinOps involves a set of practices, tools, and people to help you understand and monitor your cloud costs. Within a FinOps framework, companies can reduce waste, allocate resources more efficiently, and ensure their cloud costs are consistently within expected margins. 

Bearing in mind that FinOps is an organizational shift with regards to how to provision cloud resources, it’s important to understand that simply hiring FinOps personnel is not a panacea - maintaining a FinOps culture requires buy-in from many internal stakeholders. 

To establish a FinOps culture, the best steps your organization can make today are to:

  1. Establish a FinOps team that comprises representatives from finance, IT, and business units, and empower them to make decisions regarding cloud spending. The team's primary responsibility is to encourage and promote a FinOps culture within the organization.
  2. Develop a framework for cloud financial management that establishes unambiguous guidelines and policies for cloud spending, including budgeting, forecasting, and cost optimization. It should also identify roles and responsibilities for managing cloud costs and provide direction on tools and procedures for monitoring and tracking cloud spending.
  3. Encourage collaboration between finance, IT, and business units to ensure that cloud spending aligns with business objectives. This can be accomplished through regular meetings, joint planning sessions, and open communication channels.
  4. Ensure accountability by holding each team responsible for managing their cloud spending and staying within budget. Regular reporting, reviews, and audits of cloud spending can help achieve this goal.
  5. Offer training and educational resources to ensure that everyone in the organization understands the FinOps culture and their role in managing cloud spending. Workshops, webinars, and other resources that promote best practices in cloud financial management can be used.
  6. Use available tools and automation solutions to manage cloud spending more efficiently. Organizations can track costs, identify cost-saving opportunities, and optimize their cloud spending by using these tools.

It takes a village to keep cloud costs low and governance top of mind but it is very doable provided the steps listed above are routinely monitored and adhered to!

Kane Daniel

Kane Daniel

Head of Savings

Kane Daniel is the Head of Savings at Usage AI, a cloud cost savings company based out of New York.
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