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  • Chris L. Bennett

Moderating Your Business Use of Cloud Services: Essential Techniques

Updated: Dec 4, 2023

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The cloud has revolutionized how businesses operate, offering agility, scalability, and cost-saving benefits. However, unchecked or unmoderated use can lead to cost overruns, security vulnerabilities, and inefficiencies. For businesses to leverage cloud services optimally, it's crucial to adopt moderation techniques.

Here are some essential techniques to help moderate your business use of cloud services:

  1. Establish a Cloud Governance Framework:

    1. Policies and Procedures: Define and enforce policies about what can be deployed, by whom, and how.

    2. Cloud Budgeting: Allocate specific budgets for different departments or projects.

    3. Audit Trails: Monitor who did what and when, ensuring accountability.

  2. Cost Management and Optimization:

    1. Rightsize Resources: Ensure that you’re using the correct instance type and size for your needs.

    2. Leverage Reserved Instances: If you’re sure about the long-term usage, reserve instances to save money.

    3. Monitor Unused Resources: Regularly check for and terminate zombie instances, unattached volumes, and other wasteful resources.

    4. Set Budget Alerts: Use cloud provider’s budgeting tools to notify you when spending exceeds predetermined thresholds.

  3. Implement Identity and Access Management (IAM):

    1. User Roles and Permissions: Assign permissions based on roles, ensuring users only have access to what they need.

    2. Multi-Factor Authentication: Always use MFA for enhanced security.

    3. Regular Audits: Periodically review and prune access rights.

  4. Automate Whenever Possible:

    1. Infrastructure as Code (IAC): Use tools like Terraform or AWS CloudFormation to automate the deployment of resources.

    2. Automate Backups: Ensure your data is backed up regularly without human intervention.

    3. Scheduled Scaling: Use auto-scaling to handle traffic peaks and troughs without manual intervention.

  5. Regularly Review and Optimize Architectures:

    1. Decommission Legacy Systems: As more modern and efficient solutions become available, retire older ones.

    2. Serverless Architectures: Consider using serverless components which can be more cost-effective and scale with usage.

    3. Continuous Performance Testing: Regularly test and optimize the performance of your applications to ensure you’re not over-provisioning resources.

  6. Invest in Monitoring and Reporting:

    1. Real-time Monitoring: Use cloud-native or third-party tools to monitor resource utilization, application performance, and security threats.

    2. Regular Reporting: Generate monthly or quarterly reports to review costs, resource utilization, and security posture.

  7. Stay Updated with Best Practices:

    1. Cloud Provider's Training and Certifications: Most cloud providers offer training and certification programs. Encourage your team to participate.

    2. Join Cloud Community Groups: Engage with other cloud professionals to exchange tips, experiences, and best practices.

  8. Implement Data Management Policies:

    1. Data Retention: Define how long specific types of data should be kept.

    2. Data Archiving: Use cheaper storage solutions for archival data that's accessed infrequently.

    3. Data Classification: Clearly label data based on sensitivity to ensure it's stored and handled appropriately.

  9. Plan for Downtimes and Outages:

    1. Regular Backups: Besides automated backups, conduct regular manual backups before major changes.

    2. Disaster Recovery (DR) Plan: Have a clear DR plan and conduct periodic drills to ensure it works.

  10. Promote Cloud Awareness and Training:

    1. Educate Staff: The more your staff understands the cloud, the better they can use it responsibly.

    2. Conduct Workshops: Regularly offer workshops to keep the team updated on the latest cloud features and best practices.

In conclusion, while the cloud offers immense benefits, unmoderated use can lead to inefficiencies and inflated costs. By implementing these moderation techniques, businesses can ensure they're making the most of their cloud investments without unwanted surprises.

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