It seems that everyone is moving to the cloud these days, and there’s a good reason for it. There are many cloud migration benefits in today’s environment. They range from saving money to greater security. However, businesses that move to the cloud need to use cloud management best practices to ensure that they have control over the complexity of the cloud environment.
The Importance of Cloud Management Policies
Moving to the cloud doesn’t mean you can simply turn over all responsibility to your cloud provider. If you do, you may find that you never receive the benefits the cloud can provide. You need to establish the right policies and procedures to leverage the potential the cloud offers for increased productivity and reduced costs. Understanding what you can expect from your cloud provider will determine how you manage your cloud applications. These are some of the key issues you need to address:
How will different cloud systems work together?
It’s not unusual for a business to use more than one cloud provider, or to have a hybrid system where some applications run in the cloud and some on-premises. You need to make sure that the various systems will work well together before you make commitments.
What are the cloud vendor’s responsibilities?
It’s important that you understand what the cloud provider takes responsibility for and what your responsibilities are. Make sure to set your organization’s expectations correctly in case a disruption or disaster occurs.
How does your cloud provider support and access your data?
Your cloud provider will naturally need to use various tools to maintain your services. Find out how much access you will have to understand the tools they use and how they use the data they need to access.1
How much access will you have to your provider’s security environment?
Security in the cloud is critical. You need a level of understanding about a cloud provider’s security works to assure yourself you’re getting the security you need.2
Cloud Management Best Practices
Once you’ve chosen the cloud vendors who can best meet your requirements, you can turn your attention to the structure you need for cloud management. These cloud management best practices will help you reach your goals.
1. Change Your Mindset
Your IT department understands how to manage on-premise systems. You recognize that when you move to the cloud, those responsibilities will change. Don’t neglect to educate your IT staff on their new roles in managing the cloud.
2. Study the Contracts
Contracts for cloud services can be complex, and they usually contain a lot of boilerplate and small print. Use your legal advisors to review the contracts before you make a commitment. And make sure you understand exactly how responsibilities are divided between you and the cloud provider. For example, a contract using a shared-responsibility model3 clearly states that the customer is responsible for securing data in the cloud.
3. Set and Enforce Your Own Security Policies
It’s true that the cloud provides better security than you can probably achieve on your own, but it works differently. In the cloud, you lose the perimeter, and developers have enough freedom to create vulnerabilities that aren’t possible on-premises. It’s your responsibility to mitigate cloud security risks. Create policies and use automation to make sure security measures are working in all clouds and workloads.
4. Migrate to the Cloud in Steps
If you migrate all of your applications at the same time, you’re just asking for trouble. It’s much more effective to migrate one step at a time. This gives you the opportunity to test and resolve any issues with the first step before moving to the next. Some legacy applications may not work as well in the cloud, and you need to know that sooner rather than later.
5. Establish Conservative Access Controls
Your default permissions should be set conservatively. For example, not everyone in the finance department needs access to sensitive information. It’s also critical to establish strong validations for identifying users and use audits to ensure that all users who have access to the cloud are assigned the proper permissions.
Office 365 Needs Special Management in the Cloud
Office 365 is a very common cloud application that requires special attention. Almost everyone in your business needs access to Office 365 to do their work. In addition, there is a large amount of data stored in Office 365 that you need to protect. There are many benefits to using Office 365, but you must use cloud management best practices to keep it safe and operating at peak efficiency.
Expert Office 365 support from Enterprise Visions will give you peace of mind because your installation will be properly configured and provide you with the competitive advantage it offers.