Cloud optimization is iterative. Cloud platforms evolve, business requirements and priorities change, decisions made for pragmatic reasons in the past may not be right for today. But how does a business know if its cloud infrastructure provides the best security, performance, reliability, and business continuity protection?
The best way is to periodically carry out an in-depth assessment of all the business’s cloud infrastructure and cloud-related processes. A checklist of areas for investigation provides a framework for assessment, a list of actionable optimizations, and a consistent metric so that the status of cloud infrastructure can be compared over time.
But what questions should businesses be asking of their cloud infrastructure?
Is sensitive data stored securely?
Amazon invests hundreds of millions of dollars to secure AWS, but they can’t account for every configuration mistake and breach of security best practices. It’s all too easy to misconfigure a database or make a network security error. Since the introduction of the GDPR, robust data security is even more vital.
Businesses should look closely at how data is stored in the cloud. Is it encrypted at rest and in transit? Are access permissions and authorization credentials properly configured?
Are you encrypting data properly?
Cloud platforms provide a wide variety of encryption and key management options. Inexperienced or time-pressured businesses can make mistakes that leave data vulnerable to theft. To take just one example, huge amounts of data have been leaked from improperly secured Amazon S3 buckets as the result of two mistakes: misconfiguring S3 bucket security and failing to encrypt the data stored in them.
Are you following industry best practices?
In the dozen years since the launch of AWS, businesses and industry bodies have worked to develop best practices for cloud security, utilization, availability, disaster recovery, and more. Businesses don’t have to start from scratch when migrating to the cloud; they can and should take advantage of industry best practices.
Are you using cloud automation?
Cloud platforms provide a variety of tools to automate provisioning, scaling, and the management of cloud workloads. Using these tools effectively can increase operational efficiency and reduce the cost of cloud infrastructure.
Are current policies and processes up-to-date?
Cloud platforms are enormously flexible and they evolve rapidly. Yesterday’s policies and processes may not be ideal for today’s cloud environment or for the requirements of the business.
The most successful cloud users make sure they are aware of changes in cloud platforms and business requirements, evolving their policies and processes to keep up with the changing environment.
Do you have recovery strategies in place?
A decade ago, comprehensive business continuity and disaster recovery was only available to the largest corporations with IT budgets capable of supporting redundant physical infrastructure in multiple locations.
Today, it is within reach of every business if they take advantage of the platforms and tools provided by the cloud. Businesses should ensure that they have developed and tested disaster recovery solutions and that they leverage cloud technology to provide a seamless restoration and recovery strategy in the event of a disaster.
In this article, we have looked at some of the high-level factors that businesses should keep in mind when assessing the effectiveness of their cloud infrastructure. For a comprehensive cloud assessment checklist, take a look at the Cloud Center of Excellence that NYI offers in partnership with Eplexity. The CCOE is an intuitive and effective way to assess and score your cloud environment.
Do you have other questions about cloud assessments?
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