Cloud 101: Navigating the Top 5 Cloud Management Challenges

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Cloud management is a critical topic that organizations are looking at to simplify operations, increase IT efficiency, and reduce costs. Although cloud adoption has risen in the past few years, some organizations aren’t seeing the results they’d envisioned. That’s why we’re sharing a few of the top cloud management challenges enterprises need to be cautious of and how to overcome them.

Cloud Management Challenge #1: Security

Given the overall trend toward migrating resources to the cloud, a rise in security threats shouldn’t be surprising. Per our latest Cloud Risk and Adoption Report, the average enterprise organization experiences 31.3 cloud related security threats each month—a 27.7% increase over the same period last year. Broken down by category, these include insider threats (both accidental and malicious), privileged user threats, and threats arising from potentially compromised accounts.

To mitigate these types of cloud threats and risks, we have a few recommendations to better protect your business. Start with auditing your Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, or other IaaS/PaaS configurations to get ahead of misconfigurations before they open a hole in the integrity of your security posture. Second, it’s important to understand which cloud services hold most of your sensitive data. Once that’s determined, extend data loss prevention (DLP) policies to those services, or build them in the cloud if you don’t already have a DLP practice. Right along with controlling the data itself goes controlling who the data can go to, so lock down sharing where your sensitive data lives.

Cloud Management Challenge #2: Governance

Many companies deploy cloud systems without an adequate governance plan, which increases the risk of security breaches and inefficiency. Lack of data governance may result in a serious financial loss, and failing to protect sensitive data could result in a data breach.

Cloud management and cloud governance are often interlinked. Keeping track of your cloud infrastructure is essential. Governance and infrastructure planning can help mitigate certain infrastructure risks, therefore, automated cloud discovery and governance tools will help your business safeguard operations.

Cloud Management Challenge #3: Proficiency

You may also be faced with the challenge of ensuring that IT employees have the proper expertise to manage their services in a cloud environment. You may need to decide to either hire a new team that is already familiar with cloud environments or train your existing staff.

In the end, training your existing staff is less expensive, scalable, and faster. Knowledge is key when transforming your business and shifting your operational model to the cloud. Accept the challenge and train your employees, give them hands-on time, and get them properly certified. For security professionals, the Cloud Security Alliance is a great place to start for training programs.

Cloud Management Challenge #4: Performance

Enterprises are continually looking for ways to improve their application performance, and internal/external SLAs. However, even in the cloud, they may not immediately achieve these benefits. Cloud performance is complex and if you’re having performance issues it’s important to look at a variety of issues that could be occurring in your environment.

How should you approach finding and fixing the root causes of cloud performance issues? Check your infrastructure and the applications themselves. Examine the applications you ported over from on-premises data centers, and evaluate whether newer, cloud technologies such as containers or serverless computing could replace some of your application components and improve performance. Also, evaluate multiple cloud providers for your application or infrastructure needs, as each have their own offerings and geographic distribution.

Cloud Management Challenge #5: Cost

Managing cloud costs can be a challenge, but in general, migrating to the cloud offers companies enormous savings. We see organizations investing more dollars in the cloud to bring greater flexibility to their enterprise, allowing them to quickly and efficiently react to the changing market conditions. Organizations are moving more of their services to the cloud, which is resulting in higher spend with cloud service providers.

Shifting IT cost from on-premises to the cloud on its own is not the challenge – it is the unmonitored sprawl of cloud resources that typically spikes cost for organizations. Managing your cloud costs can be simple if you effectively monitor use. With visibility into unsanctioned, “Shadow” cloud use, your organization can find the areas where there is unnecessary waste of resources. By auditing your cloud usage, you may even determine new ways to manage cost, such as re-architecting your workloads using a PaaS architecture, which may be more cost-effective.

Final Thoughts

Migrating to the cloud is a challenge but can bring a wide range of benefits to your organization with a reduction in costs, unlimited scalability, improved security, and overall a faster business model. These days, everyone is in the cloud but that doesn’t mean your business’s success should be hindered by the common challenges of cloud management.

For more on how to secure your cloud environment, check out McAfee MVISION Cloud, a cloud access security broker (CASB) that protects data where it lives with a solution that was built natively in the cloud, for the cloud.

 

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