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Overview of Microservices Architecture

By | Powerlearnings | No Comments

Compiled by Kiran Kumar, Business analyst at Powerup Cloud Technologies

Contributor Agnel Bankien, Head – Marketing at Powerup Cloud Technologies

Summary

Microservices architecture is majorly favored for distributed systems. Microservices are successors to a monolithic architecture where applications are loosely incorporated and are fragmented into smaller components that run on individual processes. 

Businesses that grow with time are obligated to revamp their framework that caters to frequent code change, application updates, facilitating real-time communication and managing rising network traffic to name some.

The challenges and benefits of building microservices architecture along with how it can actually impact business is what we will explore in this blog. 

Index

1. What is Microservices Architecture?

2. Why Microservices Architecture?

3. Evolution of Microservices Architecture 

4. Fundamentals to a successful Microservices Design      

4.2 Cohesion and Coupling

4.3 Unique Means of Identification

4.4 API Integration

4.5 Data Storage Segregation

4.6 Traffic Management

4.7 Automating Processes

4.8 Isolated Database Tables

4.9 Constant Monitoring

5. Key Challenges in Microservices

    5.1 Being Equipped for Speedy Provisioning and Deployment

    5.2 Execute Powerful Monitoring Controls

    5.3 Incorporate DevOps Culture

    5.4 Provision Accurate Testing Capabilities

    5.5 Design for Failure

6. Benefits of Microservices Architecture 

      6.1 Increased Elasticity

      6.2 Better Scalability

      6.3 Right Tools for the Right Task

      6.4 Faster Time to Market

      6.5 Easy Maintenance

      6.6 Improved ROI and Reduced TCO

      6.7 Continuous Delivery

7. Building Microservices Architecture

8. Microservices Best Practices

9. How can Microservices add Value to Organizations?

10. Conclusion 

1. What is Microservices Architecture?

Microservices or microservices architecture is a service-oriented architecture built from a collection of divergent smaller services that run independent of each other. Here applications are loosely incorporated and have fragmented components running in individual processes. Each independent service can be updated, scaled up or taken down without interrupting other services in the application.

Microservices makes applications highly maintainable, testable, and transformable, generating a scalable and distributed framework that can be built to boost business capabilities. It comprises fine-grained services with ethereal protocols that increase flexibility and modernize the business technology stack.

Microservices enable speedy, reliable and continuous deployment and delivery of huge complex applications.

2. Why Microservices Architecture?

Updating or reconfiguring traditional monolithic applications involve expensive, time-consuming and inconvenient processes. With microservices architecture, it is simpler to work with independent applications that can run on its own in different programming languages and on multiple platforms. Once executed or updated, these minute components could be grouped together and delivered as a complete monolithic app.

Thus, teams could function in smaller, independent and agile groups instead of being a part of larger impenetrable projects. One microservices can communicate with other available microservices uninterruptedly even when failures occur.

Any enterprise that uses applications needing repeated updates, faces dynamic traffic on their network or requires near real-time information exchange can benefit from adapting to microservices architecture. For instance, social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram, retailers like Amazon, media platforms like Netflix, and services like Uber use microservices, setting new standards for container technology.

3. Evolution of Microservices Architecture 

Monolithic

Initially, monolithic applications consisted of the presentation, application and database layers that were built and located on a solo data center. Users would talk to the presentation layer that in turn interacted with the business logic layer and database layers, after which information would travel back up the stack to the end user. 

However, this structured process did generate multiple single points of failure, long outages due to system failures or crashes and did not accommodate auto-fixing of errors and scaling on existing setup.

SOA

A few years down the line, architectural changes gave birth to service-oriented architecture (SOA) where a service is independently made available to other application modules via a network protocol. The approach enabled shorter autonomous development cycles via APIs but overcoming the complexity of testing integrated services along with too many failed and expensive implementations gave it a substandard reputation.

Microservices

Today, cloud microservices have the ability to further decompose the SOA strategy facilitating speedy code updates for a single function that is part of a larger service or application, such as data search or logging function. This technique enables making changes or updates without affecting the rest of the microservices, thus increasing flexibility, providing automated self-healing capabilities, minimizing failure points and creating a more stable application architecture. 

As per latest reports, 58% of enterprises run or plan to run between 10-49 microservices in production, and 15% run or plan to run more than 100.

Microservices architectures use Docker containers that are a grouping construct, more efficient that VMs. They allow the code and its required libraries to be deployed on any operating systems and can be launched or redeployed instantly on any cloud platforms. Many organizations are mirroring their systems as that on cloud microservices to enable unique development operations across any location or cloud-native setup.

4. Fundamentals to a Successful Microservice Design 

For microservices to fit into well-defined distributed application architecture, it is vital that the following elements are taken into consideration first.

4.1 Right Scoping the Functionality

Microservices enable a functionality to be partitioned into smaller micro services attributing it as an independent software component. Over-segregating the functionality would lead to excess microservices and hence it is imperative to identify which functionalities on the monolithic app are frequently called for by multiple functions. Once identified, that function can be broken down into its own service to serve diverse situations without overloads. 

Mirroring an entire module if it is not dependent on other modules within the application is also another method of scoping functionality. For example, authentication groups that manage user identity and authorization can be scoped and built as a microservice.

While defining the scope, it is best to limit the size of microservices to the lines of code (LOC) that can be re-implemented on a periodic basis in order to avoid overloads and bloating of services.

4.2 Cohesion and Coupling

A loosely coupled system has low interdependence and therefore enables deployment, edit or update of a new service without disturbing other existing services present. 

It is also vital to combine related code or homogeneous functions while partitioning a monolithic architecture into smaller services also known as cohesion. Higher cohesions mean greater autonomy leading to better microservices architecture. 

4.3 Unique Means of Identification

In a microservice design, any one particular service needs to act as a unique source of identification for the remaining parts of the system. For instance, once we place an order on flipkart, a unique order ID is generated and as a microservice, this order ID is the only source of information that provides all the details about the order placed. 

4.4 API Integration

For the broken down micro services to communicate, relate and work together it is fundamental to use appropriate APIs that enable convenient communication between the service and the client calls aiding transition and execution of functions.

Defining the business domain while creating an API will ease the process of singularizing the functionality. However as individual services evolve, richer APIs may have to be created with additional functionalities that need to be revealed alongside the old API. API changes must be fully incorporated to ensure the service behind the API is expatiated and it is able to manage the calls from multiple client types.  

4.5 Data Storage Segregation

Data stored and accessed for a service should be owned by that service and can be shared only through an API ensuring minimized dependency and access among services. Data classification should be based on the users, which can be achieved through the Command and Query Responsibility Segregation (CQRS).

4.6 Traffic Management

Once services are able to call each other via APIs, it is necessary to gauge the traffic to different services. It may vary due to slow movement or overload of calls to a service that may even cause a system crash. To manage and smoothen traffic flows, auto scaling must be implemented. It has the ability to terminate instances that cause delays or affect performance; it can track services continually and furnishes incomplete data in case of broken call or unresponsive services. 

4.7 Automating Processes

Independently designed microservices function by themselves and automation would further allow sustained self-deployment. Functional services progress to become more adaptable and cloud-native with the competence to be deployed in any environment and DevOps plays a major role in the evolution of such services.

4.8 Isolated Database Tables

Designing a microservice must cater to business functions rather than the database and its working as accessing and fetching data from a full fledged database is time consuming and unnecessary. Therefore, a microservice design should have a minimum number of tables with a focus only around business.

4.9 Constant Monitoring

The smaller components of microservices architecture with its data layers and caching may enhance performance of an application but monitoring all the changes in such a setup becomes challenging. It is vital to establish intent monitoring of data via microservice monitoring tools that will track individual services and eventually combine data to store it in a central location. Thus, any changes can be reflected without affecting the performance of the system. 

Processes must also be defined to monitor API performance to ensure the functionality meets the standards of speed, responsiveness and overall performance.

Most of all, building a well-designed secure software code and architecture from the inception phase ensures accountability, validation, data integrity, and privacy as well as safe accessibility to sturdy and protected systems.

The patterns to secure microservices architecture are:

  • Introduce security into software design from the start
  • Scan all the dependencies
  • Use HTTPS even for static sites to ensure data privacy and integrity
  • Authorize identity of users via access tokens for a secure server-to-server communication
  • Use encryption
  • Monitor systems especially while executing CI/CD pipelines through DevSecOps initiatives
  • Implement strategies in the code to limit network traffic and consecutively delay or avert attackers
  • Tool Docker Rootless Mode to safeguard sensitive data
  • As docker containers are integral to microservices, scan them for vulnerabilities 
  • Use time-based security through multi-factor authentication and network traffic controllers
  • Know the 4C’s of cloud-native security – code, container, cluster, and cloud.

5. Key Challenges in Microservices

Microservices are favorable but not every business is capable of adapting to it. Some organizational reservations are:

5.1 Being Equipped for Speedy Provisioning and Deployment

Microservices demand instant server provisioning and new application and service deployments. Organizations need to keep pace and be well furnished with high-speed development and delivery mechanisms. 

5.2 Execute Powerful Monitoring Controls

With microservices functioning independently, enterprises need to administer efficient monitoring of various teams working concurrently on different microservices as well as the infrastructure to keep track of failures and down time.

5.3 Incorporate DevOps Culture

Unlike the traditional setup, DevOps ensures everyone is responsible for everything. The cross-functional teams need to collaboratively work towards developing functionalities, provisioning services, managing operations and remediating failures. 

5.4 Provision Accurate Testing Capabilities

Since each service has its own dependencies and as new features get added, new dependencies arise making it difficult to keep a check on the changes. The complexity increases also with the rise in the number of services. Implementing flexible and penetrative tests to detect database errors, network latency, caching issues or service unavailability on microservices is a must. 

5.5 Design for Failure

Designing for system downtime, slow service and unexpected responses is essential. Being prepared for load balancing, setting up back up plans and ensuring failures do not bring the entire system to a halt helps businesses handle failures or issues better. 

6. Benefits of Microservices Architecture 

6.1 Increased Elasticity

Due to the distributed and granular structure of services, a minimal impact is experienced even in case of failures using microservices. The entire application is disseminated and even when multiple services are grounded for maintenance, the end-users would not be affected. 

6.2 Better Scalability

Scaling up a single function or service that is crucial to business without disturbing the application as a whole increases availability and performance.

 6.3 Right Tools for the Right Task

With microservices there is flexibility in terms of services using its own language and framework without being confined to a specific vendor. The freedom of being able to choose the right tool for the right task that smoothens communication with other services is a significant gain. 

6.4 Faster Time to Market

As microservices have loosely coupled services, code development or modification can be constricted to relevant services instead of rewriting the code for the entire application. Therefore, working in smaller independent increments leads to swifter testing and deployment, enabling services to reach the markets faster.

 6.5 Easy Maintenance

Debugging, testing and maintaining applications are easier with microservices. With smaller modules being continuously tested and delivered, the services become more enhanced and error-free. 

 6.6 Improved ROI and Reduced TCO

Microservices allows optimization of resources as multiple teams work on independent services, enabling quicker deployment, code reuse and reduction in development time. Decoupling cuts down on infrastructure costs and minimizes downtime resulting in improved ROI.

 6.7 Continuous Delivery

Code can be modified, updated, tested and deployed at any given point in time and released as small packets of code using continuous integration / continuous delivery (CI/CD).

After adopting microservices architecture, organizations have reported a 64% improvement in the scalability of applications, experienced 60% faster time to market, increased application flexibility by almost 50% and given their development teams 54% more autonomy.

7. Building Microservices Architecture

Step 1:

Monolith architecture is the traditional method of building and deploying software applications. As businesses grow, the list of key business capabilities to be provided by existing systems also expands.

Microservices work best if the roles of different services required by the system are correctly identified without which redefining service interactions, APIs and data structures in microservices proves costly. Adopting microservices after business has matured and gained sufficient feedback from customers is the best-case scenario.

However, it is advisable to switch to microservices before the code gets too complicated on the monolithic setup. It is important to determine and break the services into smaller pieces, separate the code from the web UI ensuring it interacts with the database via APIs. This warrants smooth transition to microservices especially when organizations would look at moving more API resources to different services in the future.

Step 2:

Microservices is not just about splitting the code, accommodating for failures, recovering from network issues or dealing with service load monitoring. It is equally crucial to reorganize teams, preferably in small numbers who have the required competency to develop and maintain microservices architecture.

Werner Vogels, CTO at Amazon quotes, “you build it, you run it” implying that developers can analyze the impact of their code in production, work on reducing risks and eventually deliver better releases. Also, multiple teams can work collaboratively on code upgrades and automation of deployment pipeline.                                                                                         

Step 3:

Once the service boundaries and teams are established, the traditional architecture can be broken to create microservices. Communication between services must be via simple APIs to avoid the components from being tightly integrated. Using basic message queuing services and transmitting messages over the network without much complexity works best in microservices.

Moreover, it is suitable to divide data in dissociated services as each service can have its own data store to carry on with what it needs. Example; suppose a user accesses customer information from the “order” table, which is also used by the billing system to generate invoice details. With microservices, invoices can still be accessed even if the ordering system is down as it allows streamlining of invoice tables that is independent of others. 

However, to eliminate duplicate data in different databases, businesses can adopt an event-driven architecture to help data syncing across multiple services. For instance; when a customer updates his personal information, an event is triggered by the account service to update billing and delivery tracking services as well.

While transitioning from the monolithic architecture, ensure designs are built for failure right from the beginning. As the system is now distributed, multiple points of failure can arise and microservices needs to address and remediate not just individual service related issues but also system failures and slower network responses if any.

Since microservices are distributed by nature, it is challenging to monitor or log individual services. Centralized logging service that adds logs from each service instance can be accessed through available standard tools right from the beginning. Likewise, CPU and memory usage can also be collated and stored centrally.

With an increasing number of services getting deployed multiple times, it is most advantageous to regulate continuous delivery. Practicing continuous integration and delivery will assure that each service has passed the acceptance tests, there is minimal risk of failure and a robust system with superior quality of releases is being built with time. 

8. Microservices Best Practices

  • Microservices should have a single-responsibility principle, which states that every service module must have responsibility for a single part of that functionality.
  • Customize the database storage and infrastructure exclusively for microservices needs and other microservices can call for the same data through APIs.
  • Use asynchronous communication or events between microservices to avoid building tightly coupled components. 
  • Employ circuit breakers to achieve fault tolerance, speed up responses, and timeout external calls when delayed. It helps isolate the failing services keeping microservices in good health.
  • Proxy microservices requests through an API Gateway instead of directly calling for the service. This enables more layers of protection, traffic control, and rejection of unauthorized requests to microservices.
  • Ensure your API changes are backward compatible by conducting contract testing for APIs on behalf of end-users, which allows applications to get into production at a faster rate. 
  • Version your microservices with each change and customers can choose to use the new version as per their convenience. Support for older versions of microservices would continue for a limited timeframe.
  • While hosting microservices, create a dedicated infrastructure by setting apart the microservices infrastructure from other components to achieve error isolation and enhanced performance.
  • Microservices must have their own separate release detached from other components.
  • Build standards within the organization for multiple teams to develop and release microservices on the same lines. Create enterprise solutions for API security; log aggregation, monitoring, API documentation, secrets management, config management, and distributed tracing. 

9. How can Microservices add Value to Organizations? 

Advancing user preferences are driving organizations to adapt to digital agility.

A survey on digital transformation by Bernd Rücker revealed that 63% of the 354 questioned enterprises were looking into microservices because they wanted to improve employee efficiency, customer experience and optimize tools and infrastructure costs. 

Netflix was one of the pioneers of microservices almost a decade ago with other companies like Amazon, Uber and eBay joining the trend. Former CTO of eBay, Steve Fisher, stated that as of today, eBay utilizes more than 1000 services that include front-end services to send API calls and back-end services to execute tasks. 

It is easier for business capabilities to get aligned with the fragmented parts of microservices as it facilitates application development to align directly with functionalities prioritized by business value. This ensures businesses are highly available, become more resilient and structured. 

Businesses can look towards scalability of applications backed by a team of experts and advanced technology, deployment becomes easier due to independent manageability and enterprises become better equipped to handle dynamic market conditions as well as meet growing customer needs. The business value proposition must be the key drivers to embracing microservices architecture.

10. Conclusion

Microservices are beneficial not just technically for code development process but also strategic to overall business maturity. Despite being considered complex, microservices provide businesses the capability and flexibility to cater to frequent functional and operational changes making them the most sought-after architectures of today.  

Its granular approach assists business communication and efficiency. Microservices are a novel concept but seem promising for the areas of application development. 

Organizations can consider microservices architecture, if best suited, to digitally transform their businesses to become more dynamic and competitive.

AI : Cloud :: Intelligence : Muscle

By | Powerlearnings | No Comments

Written by Vinit Balani, Senior Specialist – Cloud Services and Software

Just like social distancing went on to become the new normal during and post the pandemic in the physical world, the cloud is slowly becoming (if not already) the new normal in the enterprise world. With remote working and a serious push to digitization, it has become inevitable for enterprises to continue delivering products and services to their end-users. COVID-19 has been a major driver in cloud adoption for many enterprises across the globe.

Worldwide revenues for the artificial intelligence (AI) market, are forecasted to grow 16.4% Y-o-Y in 2021 to $327.5 billion, according to the latest release of the IDC Worldwide Semiannual AI Tracker.  By 2024, the market is expected to break the $500 billion mark with a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.5% and total revenues reaching an impressive $554.3 billion.

If we look at India, India Inc.’s AI spending is expected to grow at a CAGR of 30.8% to touch USD 880.5 million in 2023 as per the IDC report. AI is now being used by enterprises to get a competitive advantage with BFSI and manufacturing verticals leading the race in terms of AI spending.

So, why is AI becoming mainstream across industries and has picked up drastically over the last decade? One of the major reasons behind this is ‘Cloud’. I would like to draw an analogy of AI and Cloud with a human body. If AI is the intelligence that resides in the brain, Cloud is the muscle that it needs to execute any action or any algorithm in this case. The advantage of AI on the cloud against doing it locally using on-premise infrastructure is that the more the data you train, the cost does not grow proportionately due to the economies of scale it provides. In fact in the world of cloud computing, more is better. This is also one of the biggest reasons for the increase in AI adoption by enterprises post cloud adoption.

Below are some of the areas which I believe will see major developments in the coming 5 years –

Niche AI services

With the democratization of data, we can already see AI services being developed for different industries and in many cases also specific use cases. Enterprises are looking for automation within their domains and AI (in some cases along with RPA) is playing a major role to address business challenges. The growth of industry-focused (retail, manufacturing, healthcare & more) and in certain cases even going one level deep into the AI category within industries (i.e. conversational AI, computer vision, etc.) has been phenomenal. With on-demand compute available at a click, entrepreneurs are picking up focused challenges that can be addressed with AI and build products/services around it.

Accurate AI models

Due to the massive boost to digitization post-COVID-19, a massive amount of digital data is being generated in multiple formats. Thanks to cloud storage, all of it is being stored in raw format by different enterprises. Bias is one of the most important factors in the accuracy of AI models. Bias in AI is also one of the factors that can hamper its update and application within enterprises. However, with most of the data moving to digital form and the high volume of this data getting generated (and now being available to train), the existing AI models are bound to get more accurate and reliable. With much happening in data quality space as well, we can expect the AI models or services to get smarter and more accurate by the day.

AI Governance

While there have been talks on using AI responsibly, there has not much been done in this space. The regulatory and policy landscape for AI is an emerging issue in jurisdictions globally. There have been certain initiatives and papers written in this space by national, regional, and international authorities, but we still see a lack of governance framework to regulate the use of AI. With the growing adoption, we can expect the frameworks and governance to be established and play a major role in the driving development of responsible AI.

Cloud AIOps

There are interesting trends already seen on automating cloud environments using Artificial Intelligence. With enterprises migrating their workloads to the cloud, there is going to be an incredible amount of telemetry data and metrics being generated by these applications and the underlying infrastructure. All of this data can be used to train AI initially to pinpoint the issue, further to provide the resolution, and slowly automate fixing such issues without human intervention. However, it will be interesting to see if any of the hyperscalers (i.e. AWS, Azure, GCP) can build that intelligence from telemetry data of their client’s environment and create service for this automation.

AI@Edge

With the adoption of IoT (Internet-of-Things) across industries like manufacturing, retail, health care, energy, financial services, logistics, and agriculture, more data is being generated by the devices with a need of analysis and processing near the device.

According to Gartner, companies generated just 10% of their data outside of the data center or cloud in 2019; this amount is expected to grow up to 75% by 2025.

As a result of this; IDC predicts that in the next 3 years, 45% of the data will be stored, analyzed, processed, and acted upon close to the devices. We already see our smartphones carrying chips to process AI. However, this growing IoT adoption will lead to AI models being deployed onto more edge devices across domains.

Self-service AI

While enterprises are looking to create a self-service experience in different domains, on the other hand, the cloud service providers are building products to create self-service platforms for these enterprises to reach to market faster.

As per Gartner, 65% of the app development work will be done using low or no-code platforms and a big chunk of this is going to be platforms to build and train AI.

Hyperscalers have been putting their best efforts to create no or low code platforms for non-techies to be able to create and train their models on the cloud. From chatbots, computer vision to creating custom ML models, enterprises are making use of these platforms to create their offerings with on-demand resources on the cloud instead of re-inventing the wheel.

These are some of the areas where I believe we will see advancements in AI. It would be great to hear some thoughts on what you folks think about the trends in AI. 

At LTI, we aspire to create the data-to-decision ecosystem to enable organizations to take quantum leaps in business transformation with AI. LTI’s Mosaic ecosystem has been created to provide enterprises with a competitive edge using its transformative products. While Mosaic AI simplifies designing, development, and deployment of AI/ML at enterprise scale, Mosaic AIOps infuses AI in IT operations to enable pro-active operational intelligence with real-time processing of events. With data being at the center of AI, Mosaic Decisions ensures ingestion, integrity, storage, and governance aspects with Mosaic Catalog ensuring ease of discovering enterprise data.

Mosaic Agnitio’s in-built deep learning enables enterprises to extract insights from data and automate business processes, while Mosaic Lens’s augmented analytics capabilities help uncover hidden insights within the data using AI. 

To know more details on LTI’s Mosaic ecosystem, you can visit – https://www.lntinfotech.com/digital-platforms/mosaic/ 

Cloud Governance with ‘x’Ops -Part 3

By | Powerlearnings | No Comments

Compiled by Kiran Kumar, Business analyst at Powerup Cloud Technologies

Contributor Agnel Bankien, Head – Marketing at Powerup Cloud Technologies

Summary:

The xOps umbrella consists of four major ops functions broadly categorized under cloud management and cloud governance. In our previous blogs, we had a detailed look at how IT Ops could be built effectively and by what means DevOps and CloudOps play a major role in cloud management functions. In this concluding blog of the xOps series, we will have a close look at the financial and security operations on cloud and its significance in cloud governance that has paved the way to a more integrated and automated approach to cloud practices.

Index

1. Introduction

2. What is FinOps?

3. FinOps Team

4. Capabilities Architecture

4.1 FinOps Lifecycle

4.1.1 Inform

4.1.2 Optimize

4.1.3 Operate

5. Benefits of FinOps

6. What is SecOps?

7. SOC & the SecOps team

8. How SecOps works?

9. Benefits of SecOps

10. Conclusion

Optimizing cloud governance through FinOps and SecOps

1. Introduction        

According to Gartner, the market for public cloud services will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 16.6% by 2022. A surge in the usage of the cloud has determined organizations to not only upscale their capabilities to be more reliable, compliant, flexible, and collaborative but also equip themselves to handle their cloud finances and security more effectively.

Financial operations, widely known as finOps has led businesses to become vigilant and conscious about their financial strategies and analytics to plan, budget and predict their required cloud expenses better, helping gain more flexibility and agility in time.  

In today’s technology-driven business environments, data is the biggest asset and securing our data, applications, and infrastructure on cloud is a massive concern with growing cloud practices. 69% of executives surveyed by Accenture Security’s 2020 State of Cyber Resilience state that staying ahead of attackers is a constant battle and the cost is unsustainable. With the global IT spends close to $4 trillion, modernized security strategies combined with business operations need to be implemented right from the beginning of the software development lifecycle.

In the first two parts of the ‘x’Ops series, we saw how IT Ops could be built productively by focusing more on DevOps and CloudOps.

The xOps umbrella consists of four major ops functions broadly categorized under cloud management and cloud governance and in this conclusive blog of the xOps series, we will have a close look at cloud governance through FinOps and SecOps practices.

2. What is FinOps?

FinOps is short for Cloud Financial Management and is the concurrence of finance and operations on cloud. 

The traditional setup of IT was unaware of the inefficiency and roadblocks that occur due to the silo work culture, limitations in infrastructure adaptability with regards to business requirements and the absence of technology-led cloud initiatives.

With the onset of FinOps, the people, process and technology framework was brought together to manage operating expenses as well as impose financial accountability to the variable spend on cloud.

Organizations needed to establish efficient cost control mechanisms in order to enable easy access to cloud spend and devise steady FinOps practices.

3. FinOps Team

Workforces from every level and area of business would have unique individual roles to play in the FinOps practices.

Executive heads like VP of Infrastructure, Head of Cloud Center of Excellence, CTO or CIO would be responsible for driving teams to be efficient and accountable while also building transparency and controls.

FinOps practitioners would be focused on forecasting; allocating and budgeting cloud spends to designated teams. FinOps experts would typically include FinOps Analyst, Director of Cloud Optimization, Manager of Cloud Operations, or Cost Optimization Data Analyst to name a few.

Engineering and operations departments comprising of Lead Software Engineer, Principal Systems Engineer, Cloud Architect, Service Delivery Manager, Engineering Manager or Director of Platform Engineering, would focus on building and supporting services for the organization.

Technology Procurement Manager, Financial Planning and Analyst Manager and Financial Business Advisor would form the finance and procurement team to use FinOps team’s historical records for future requirements and forecasts. They would work closely with FinOps to understand existing billing data and rate negotiation techniques to construct enhanced cost models for future capacity and resource planning.

Thus for organizations operating on the FinOps model, a cross-functional team known as a Cloud Cost Center of Excellence would be set up to strategize, manage and govern cloud cost policies and operations as well as implement best practices to optimize and stir up the enterprise cloud businesses.

4. Capabilities Architecture

Organizations adapting to FinOps practices, need to primarily inculcate a cultural change, to begin with.

Cloud cost forms a significant part of performance metrics and can be tracked and monitored to determine the right team size as per workload specifications, allocate container costs, identify and compute unused storage and highlight inconsistency if any, in the expected cloud spends. 

FinOps is a trusted operating model for teams to manage all of the above. Technology teams can collaborate with business and finance teams to shape informed decisions, drive continuous optimization and gain faster financial and operational control.

4.1 FinOps Lifecycle

The FinOps journey on cloud consists of three iterative stages – Inform, Optimize, and Operate. 

4.1.1 Inform

Provides a detailed assessment of cloud assets for better visibility, understanding, budget allocations, and benchmarking industry standards to detect and optimize areas of improvement.

Considering the dynamic nature of the cloud, stakeholders are compelled to customize pricing and discounts, ensure accurate allocation of cloud spends based on business mapping, and ascertain ROIs are driven in view of the set budgets and forecasts.

4.1.2 Optimize

Once organizations and teams are commissioned, it is time to optimize their cloud footprint.

This phase helps set alerts and measures to identify areas that need to spend and redistribute resources.

It generates real-time decision-making capacity regarding timely and consistent spends and recommends application or architecture changes where necessary. For instance, to increase usage commitments, cloud providers often strategize to offer lucrative discounts on reserved instances in order to increase usage commitment levels. Also,     cloud environments can be optimized by rightsizing and automation to curb any wasteful use of resources.

4.1.3 Operate

Helps to align plans and evaluate business objectives through metrics on a continuous basis.

Optimizes costs by instilling proactive cost control measures at the resource level.It enables distributed teams to drive the business by following speed, cost, and quality. This phase provides flexibility in operations, creates financial accountability to the variable cloud spends, and helps understand the cloud finances better.

5. Benefits of FinOps

  • The shift to FinOps empowers teams to build a robust cloud cost and ROI framework.
  • Enables organizations to estimate, forecast, and optimize cloud spends.
  • Improves the decision-making process of enterprises and provides traceability to the decisions made.
  • Helps in financial, procurement, demand, and operational management on cloud.
  • Increases cost efficiency, helps teams attain clear visibility to make their own financial choices with regards to cloud operations.
  • Creates a finance model that conforms to the dynamics of the cloud business.

 6. What is SecOps?

As per the latest studies, 54% of security leaders state that they communicate effectively with IT professionals to which only 45% of IT professionals agree. As IT operations stress upon rapid innovation and push new products to market, security teams are weighed down with identifying security vulnerabilities and compliance issues. This has created a huge mismatch between the IT and security teams that needs to be jointly addressed and resolved effectively.

SecOps is the integration of IT security and operations teams that combine technology and processes to reduce the risk and impact on business, keep data and infrastructure safe, and develop a culture of continuous improvement to eventually enhance business agility. SecOps ensures data protection is given priority over innovation, speed to market, and costs at all times.

7. SOC & the SecOps team

SecOps teams are anticipated to interact with cross-functional teams and work 24/7 to record all tasks and mitigate risks. For this purpose, a Security Operations Center (SOC) is established that commands and overlooks all security-related activities on the cloud.

The Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) are primarily responsible for assembling a synergetic SecOps team that defines clear roles and responsibilities and devises strategies to restrict security threats and cyber-attacks. Every SecOps team will comprise of:

  • An incident responder, who identifies, classifies and prioritizes threats and configures as well as monitors security tools.
  • Security investigator that identifies affected devices, evaluates running and terminated processes, carries out threat analysis and drafts the mitigation strategies.
  • An advanced security analyst is responsible for recognizing hidden flaws, reviews and assesses threats, vendor and product health; recommends process or tool changes if any. 
  • SOC manager manages the entire SOC team, communicates with the CISO and business heads and oversees the entire people and crisis management activities.
  • Security Engineer or architect who evaluates vendor tools takes care of the security architecture and ensures it is part of the development cycle as well as compliant to industry standards.
  • SecOps has lately seen many new cybersecurity roles unfold. Cloud security specialists, third-party risk specialists, and digital ethics professionals to name some. These roles essentially highlight the vulnerabilities in supply chain processes, privacy concerns, and the impact of cloud computing on IT businesses.

8. How SecOps works?

Gartner states that through 2020, “99% of vulnerabilities exploited will continue to be the ones known by security and IT professionals for at least one year.”

Therefore, the most important aspect is to establish security guardrails and monitor the security spectrum on the cloud continuously.

Dave Shackleford, principal consultant at Voodoo Security stated that for a SOC monitored cloud, SecOps teams must:

  • Establish a discrete cloud account for themselves to ensure entire security controls lie solely with them,
  • Administer multifactor authentication for all cloud accounts while also creating a few least privilege accounts to perform specific cloud functions as and when required and
  • Enable write-once storage for all logs and evidence.

Moreover, the SecOps team must ensure to be primarily responsible and accountable towards security incidents with proactive and reactive monitoring of the entire security scope of the organization’s cloud ecosystem.

According to Forrester Research, “Today’s security initiatives are impossible to execute manually. As infrastructure-as-a-code, edge computing, and internet-of-things solutions proliferate, organizations must leverage automation to protect their business technology strategies.”

Additionally, firewalls and VPNs are no longer considered competent enough to combat the present day’s advanced security threats.

Therefore, it is believed that enterprises that automate core security functions such as vulnerability remediation and compliance enforcement are five times more likely to be sure of their teams communicating effectively. 

Businesses need to implement SecOps practices:

  • That can apply checks on their cloud environment concerning security benchmarks and guidelines as per industry standards.
  • Use vulnerability management tools to scan, analyze and detect potential security-related risks and threats.
  • Assure access authorization and employ frameworks that automate user behavior, profiling, and control.
  • Conduct recurrent audits as preventive measures to keep a check on cloud health and status
  • Use AI to automate SecOps that encapsulate incident detection, response, and analysis, help categorize, prioritize and mitigate threats, recommend remediation, detect unused resources and assign risk scores.
  • Dispense SecOps software that caters to DNS, network, and anti-phishing security along with the application of advanced analytics like data discovery.
  • Implement cloud orchestrations to coordinate automated tasks and consolidate cloud processes and workflows for a more sophisticated and proactive defense.
  • Last but not the least, implement best practices to ensure continuous monitoring and structuring of cloud security operations.

9. Benefits of SecOps

Security and operations together provide:

– Continuous protection of data, applications, and infrastructure on cloud

– Prevention and mitigation of risks and threats

– Speedy and effective response time

– Adherence to compliance standards

– Cost savings from optimizing security measures

– Building security expertise and

– Instilling flexibility and high availability while eliminating redundancy in business operations.

10. Conclusion

With the onset of development, security, finance, and cloud operations coming together under one umbrella, IT operations have gained immense competency in cloud-based services.

The current trend facilitates Dev+Sec+Ops teams to collaborate and incorporate security-related strategies, processes, and policies from the inception phase of the

SDLC. The idea is for everyone to be responsible for security by strategically placing security checkpoints at different stages of the SDLC.

Moving forward, the future of SecOps will be relying more on AI and machine learning tools to construct powerful, intelligent, and dynamic SecOps strategies.

83 % of the organizations admit that with stronger security operations on cloud, their business productivity has appreciably risen. Their security risks have significantly decreased by 56 % while overall costs have come down by almost 50 % improving the ability to be more agile and innovative.

Cloud Landing Zone Guide

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Written by Aparna M, Associate Solutions Architect at Powerupcloud Technologies

The Cloud is the backbone and foundation of digital transformation in its many forms. When planning a cloud migration and an adoption strategy, it is important to create an effective operational and governance model that is connected to business goals and objectives. At this point, building an efficient cloud landing zone plays a big role. In this article, we will take a deeper look into why having a cloud landing zone is a key foundation block in the cloud adoption journey.

What is Cloud Landing Zone?

Landing Zone is defined as, ‘A configured environment with a standard set of secured cloud infrastructure, policies, best practices, guidelines, and centrally managed services.’. This helps customers to quickly set up a secure, multi-account Cloud environment based on industry best practices. With a large number of design choices, setting up a multi-account environment can take a significant amount of time, involving the configuration of multiple accounts and services, which requires a deep understanding of cloud provider services(AWS/GCP/Google).

This solution can help to save time by automating the set-up of an environment for running secure and scalable workloads while implementing an initial security baseline through the creation of core accounts and resources.

Why a Landing Zone?

As large customers are moving towards cloud one of the main concern is on the security, time constraints and the cost. AWS Landing Zone is a service that helps in setting up a secure and multi-account AWS environment maintaining the best practices. Having many design choices, it’s good to start without wasting your time for configuration with minimal costs. It helps you save time by automating the setup of an environment to run secure and scalable workloads.

Fundamentals of the Landing Zone when Migrating to the Cloud:

Before you even deciding on which Cloud provider to use (like AWS, GCP, Azure Cloud) it’s important to assess certain basic considerations like:

1. Security & Compliance

A landing zone allows you to enforce security at the global and account level. Security baseline with preventative and detective control. Company-wide compliance and data residency policies can be implemented with landing zones. As part of this process, consistent architecture is deployed for concerns such as Edge Security, Threat Management, Vulnerability Management, Transmission Security, and others.

2. Standardized Tenancy

Landing Zone provides a framework for creating and baselining a multi-account. Automated environment for the multi-account helps to save the time for setup, while also implementing that initial security baseline for any digital environment you are going to use. The automated multi-account structure includes security, audit, and shared service requirements. Enforce tagging policies across multiple cloud tenants and provide standardized tenants for different security profiles (dev/staging/prod).

3. Identity and Access Management

Implementing the principle of least privilege by defining roles and access policies. Implement the principle of least privilege by defining roles and access policies. Implementing SSO for Cloud logins.

4. Networking

Designing and implementing cloud networking capabilities is a critical part of your cloud adoption efforts. Networking is composed of multiple products and services that provide different networking capabilities. Network Implementation measures to ensure the network is highly available, resilient, and scalable.

5. Operations

Centralized logging from various accounts leveraging different services from the cloud provider. Configuring automate backup and setting up DR using various cloud native tools. Configuring monitoring and alerts for cost management, reactive scalability, and reliability. Automated regular patching of servers.

Benefits of the Cloud Landing Zone:

  • Automated environment setup
  • Speed and scalability and governance in a multi-account environment 
  • Security and compliance
  • Flexibility
  • Reduced operational costs
  • Automated environment setup
  • Speed and scalability and governance in a multi-account environment 
  • Security and compliance
  • Flexibility
  • Reduced operational costs

Best Practices of the Cloud Landing Zone

  • Organizations Master Account: It is the root account that provisions and manages member accounts at the organization level under Organizations Services.
  • Core Accounts in an Organizational Unit: This provides essential functions that are common to all the accounts under the Organization, such as log archive, security management, and shared services like the directory service.
  • Team/Group Accounts in Organizational Units: Teams and groups are logically grouped under Teams. These are designated for individual business units at the granularity of the team or group level. For example, a set of Team accounts may consist of the team’s shared services account, development account, pre-production account, and production account.
  • Developer Accounts: Enterprises should have separate “sandboxes” or developer accounts for individual learning and experimentation, as a best practice.
  • Billing: An account is the only way to separate items at a billing level. The multi-account strategy helps create separate billable items across business units, functional teams, or individual users.
  • Quota Allocation: Service provider quotas are set up on a per-account basis. Separating workloads into different accounts gives each account (such as a project) a well-defined, individual quota.
  • Multiple Organizational Units (OUs): These are designated for individual business units at the granularity of the team or group level. For example, a set of Team accounts may consist of the team’s Shared Services account, Development account, Pre-Production account, and Production account.
  • Connectivity: You can also choose the type of connection you want to use. By setting up networking patterns and combining it with external data centers, you can create a hybrid system or a multi-cloud-driven adoption.
  • Security Baseline:
    •  All accounts sending logs to a centrally managed log archival account.
    • Central VPC for all the account and using peering when applicable
    • Configuring password policy
    • Cross account access with limited permissions
    • Alarms/ events configured to send notification on root account login, api authentication failures
  • Automation: Automation ensures that your infrastructure is set up in a way that is repeatable and can evolve as your use is refined and demands grow.
  • Tagging:  Tagging resources can help the customer in many ways for example: cost analysis, optimization etc.

Cloud Landing Zone Life Cycle

let’s talk about the different phases of a landing zones lifecycle!

  • Design
  • Deploy
  • Operate

In software development you often hear the terms

“Day 0/Day 1/Day 2”

Those refer to different phases in the life of a software: From specifications and design (Day 0) to development and deployment (Day 1) to operations (Day 2). For this blog post, we’re going to use this terminology to describe the phases of the landing zone lifecycle.

Designing a Landing Zone (Day 0)

Regardless of the deployment option, you should carefully consider each design area. Your decisions affect the platform foundation on which each landing zone depends. 4 aspects a well-designed landing zone should take care of in the cloud:

  1. Security and Compliance
  2. Standardized tenancy
  3. Identity and access management
  4. Networking

Deploying a Landing Zone (Day 1)

When it comes to customizing and deploying a landing zone according to the design and specifications determined during the design phase, the implementation of the landing zone concept is handled differently by every public cloud service provider.

Amazon Web services: The solution provided by AWS is called the AWS Landing Zone. This solution helps customers more quickly set up a multi-account architecture, with an initial security baseline, identity and access management, governance, data security, network design, and logging. AWS has three options for creating your landing zone: a service-based landing zone using AWS Control Tower, a CloudFormation solution, and a customized landing zone that you can build. 

Microsoft Azure: The solution provided by Azure is called as the Cloud Adoption Framework. A major tool is Azure blueprints: You can choose and configure migration, landing zone blueprints within Azure to set up your cloud environments. As an alternative, you can use third-party services like terraform.

Google Cloud Platform: The solution provided by the google cloud is called as Google Deployment Manager. You can use a declarative format utilizing Yaml – or Python and Jinja2 templates – to configure your deployments.

Operations (Day 2):

It’s an ongoing effort onto how you manage and operate using landing zones. The objective of the operations workstream is to review your current operational model and develop an operations integration approach to support future-state operating models as you migrate to Cloud. Infrastructure-as-Code is used to ensure that your configurations are managed in a repeatable way, evolving via DevOps disciplines and tooling. And leveraging various logging solutions like Splunk, Sumo Logic, ELK, etc. Implementing various backup and patching using Cloud provider services or tools. Planning and designing disaster recovery plays a very important role to ensure high availability of the infrastructure.

Our Experience with Cloud Landing Zone:

We at Powerup ensure seamless Migration to the cloud used trusted and best cloud migration tools, and integration of existing operational capabilities, and leverage the most powerful and best-integrated tooling available for each platform.

Many of our customers use the Landing Zone concept, once such example is where customers wanted to set up separate AWS accounts so they can meet the different needs of their organization. Although multiple organizations have simplified the operational issues and provide isolation based on the functionality, it takes manual efforts to configure the baseline security practices. To save time and effort in creating the new account, we use “Account Vending Machine”. The Account Vending Machine (AVM) is an AWS Landing Zone key component. The AVM is provided as an AWS Service Catalog product, which allows customers to create new AWS accounts pre-configured with an account security baseline. Monitoring, logging, security, and compliance will be pre-configured during account setup. This helps the customs to reduce costs in Infra setup and Operations cost, takes minimum effort to set up the infrastructure.

Cloud Management with ‘x’Ops – Part 2

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Compiled by Kiran Kumar, Business analyst at Powerup Cloud Technologies

Contributor Agnel Bankien, Head – Marketing at Powerup Cloud Technologies

Summary:

After comprehending the term xOps in our preceding blog, let us move on to carry out an exhaustive synopsis of DevOps and CloudOps in this 2nd in the series blog. DevOps is a framework that contributes to the modernization of cloud business operations. Its objective is to unite IT development and operations to strengthen communications and build effective automation techniques via continuous agile methods in order to scale up businesses. CloudOps is an extension of DevOps and IT that looks to enhance business processes and systematize best practices for cloud operations. This blog covers the what, who and how of cloud management practices.

Index

1. Introduction

2. What is DevOps?

3. Stakeholders & DevOps Team

4. DevOps architecture – How it works?

4.1 Continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD)

4.2 Continuous Development 

4.3 Continuous Testing 

4.4 Continuous Feedback

4.5 Continuous Monitoring

4.6 Continuous Deployment

4.7 Continuous Operations

5. Benefits of DevOps

6. What is CloudOps?

7. Building a CloudOps team

8. How CloudOps fits into DevOps?

9. Benefits of CloudOps 

10. Conclusion

Synergizing DevOps and CloudOps practices

1. Introduction

With the rapid emergence of cloud collaborated infrastructure and tools and a significant hike in the technology spend, the global cloud computing market is expected to grow exponentially at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.5% by 2025. A surge in the registration and usage of cloud users has led to an upward and emerging cloud trend in the IT sector. 

Organizations that upscale their capabilities and look at continual modernization of software delivery are better equipped to release new features at high-speed, gain more flexibility and agility, comply with regulations and accelerate time to market. 

In the first part of the ‘x’Ops series, we saw how business operations and customer experiences can be enhanced by collaborating the teams to strengthen communications while inducing automation techniques to build an effective IT Ops. 

The development, security, network and cloud teams need to work jointly with IT operations to ensure reliability, security, and increased productivity giving rise to the term xOps. 

The xOps umbrella consists of four major ops functions broadly categorized under cloud management and cloud governance that help run efficient cloud operations. 

In this blog, the 2nd in the series, we will have a detailed look at the cloud management section that comprises of DevOps and CloudOps practices.

2. What is DevOps?

DevOps is a model that enables IT development and operations to work concurrently across the complete software development life cycle (SDLC). Prior to DevOps, discrete teams worked on requirements gathering, coding, network, database, testing and deployment of the software. Each team worked independently, unaware of the inefficiency and roadblocks that occurred due to the silos approach.

DevOps is combining development and operations to soothe the application development process on cloud while ensuring scalability, continuous and high-quality software delivery. It aims to build an agile environment of communication, collaboration, and trust among and between IT teams and application owners bringing in a significant cultural shift to the traditional IT methods.

3. Stakeholders & DevOps Team 

Christophe Capel, Principal Product Manager at Jira Service Management states, “DevOps isn’t any single person’s job. It’s everyone’s job”.

DevOps team comprises of all resources representing the development and operations team. People directly involved in the development of software products and services such as architects, product owners, project managers, quality analysts, testing team and customers form a part of the development team whereas operations team include people who deliver and manage these products and services. For example; system engineers, system administrators, IT operations, database administrators, network engineers, support team and third party vendors.

Some of the new roles emerging for DevOps are:

  • DevOps Engineer
  • DevOps Architect
  • DevOps Developer
  • DevOps Consultant
  • DevOps Test Analyst
  • DevOps Manager

4. DevOps architecture – How it works?

DevOps helps modernize existing cloud practices by implementing specific tools throughout the application lifecycle to accelerate, automate and enhance seamless processes that in turn improve productivity.

DevOps architecture enables collaborative cross-functional teams to be structured and tightly integrated to design, integrate, test, deploy, deliver and maintain continuous software services using agile methodologies to cater to large distributed applications on cloud. 

The DevOps components comprise of –

4.1 Continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD)

The most crucial DevOps practice is to conduct small yet frequent release updates. With continuous integration, the developers are able to merge frequent code changes into the main code while continuous delivery enables automated deployment of new application versions into production. CI/CD facilitates full automation of the software lifecycle that involves building code, testing and faster deployment to production with least or no human errors allowing teams to become more agile and productive.

4.2. Continuous Development 

The process of maintaining the code is called Source Code Management (SCM), where distributed version control tools are preferred and used to manage different code versions. Tools like Git establish reliable communication among teams, enable writing as well as tracking changes in the code, provides notifications about changes, helps revert back to the original code if necessary and stores codes in files and folders for reuse making the entire process more flexible and foolproof. 

4.3. Continuous Testing 

A test environment is simulated with the use of Docker containers and automation test scripts are run on a continuous basis throughout the DevOps lifecycle. Reports generated improve the test evaluation process, helps analyze defects, saves testing time and effort and enables the resultant test-suite and UAT process to be accurate and user-friendly. TestNG, Selenium and JUnit are some of the DevOps tools used for automated testing. 

4.4. Continuous Feedback

Continuous tests and integration ensure consistent improvements in the application code and continuous feedback helps analyze these improvements. Feedbacks act as a steeping stone to make changes in the application development process leading to newer and improved versions of the software applications. 

4.5. Continuous Monitoring

Monitoring the performance of an application and its functionalities is the key to resolve and eliminate common system errors. Continuous monitoring helps in sustaining the availability of services in the application, detects threats, determines root cause of recurring errors and enables auto-resolution of security issues.

Sensu, ELK Stack, NewRelic, Splunk and Nagios are the key DevOps tools used to increase application reliability and productivity.

4.6. Continuous Deployment

Most systems support automated and consistent deployment of code releases, scheduled updates and configuration management on all servers. A cloud management platform enables users to capture accurate insights and view the optimization scenario, analytics on trends by the deployment of dashboards.

Ansible, Puppet and Chef are some of the effective DevOps tools used for configuration management.

4.7. Continuous Operations

DevOps allows teams to collaborate and automate the application release operations and its subsequent updates on a continuous basis. Development cycles in continuous operations get shorter, enable better monitoring and accelerate the time-to-market.  

5. Benefits of DevOps

  • Speed: The DevOps model enables developers and operations to easily adapt to changes, have faster releases, be more innovative and efficient at driving results.
  • Enhanced Delivery: The quicker the new releases and fixes the faster is the delivery response time. CI/CD practices help automate and enhance the software release processes effectively.
  • Reliability & Security: All application changes and infrastructure updates are tested to ensure they are functional, faster and reliable. DevOps grants monitoring and logging checks of real-time application performances as well as conducts automated security validations to maintain control, adhere to configuration and compliance policies and boost user experience.
  • Scalability: Infrastructure as a code helps manage complex and changing systems in a repeatable, automotive, low-risk and efficient manner enabling scalability of infrastructure and development processes. 
  • Collaboration: DevOps culture promotes values, responsibility and accountability among teams, making them more efficient, collaborative and productive. 
LTI Canvas devOps Self-service DevSecOps platform for automated enablement and persona-based governance. It is a comprehensive suite of accelerators that empowers continuous assessment, lean CI/CD automation, and value stream management provide bird’s eye view into the entire DevSecOps lifecycle

6. What is CloudOps?

Cloud operations, popularly known as CloudOps is the rationalization of best practices and processes that allow IT operations and services housed on cloud, to function and optimize efficiently in the long run. 

According to a survey conducted by Sirius Decisions, 78% of organizations have already adopted agile methods for product development. However, for organizations to accelerate agility and attain cloud smart status it is crucial for DevOps and traditional IT operations to string together the processes and people maintaining the services.

Maintaining on-premise data centers, monitoring network and server performances and running uninterrupted operations were always a challenge in the traditional IT set-up. DevOps, through its containers, microservices and serverless functions, helps create agile processes for quicker delivery of reliable services, provides efficient orchestration and deployment of infrastructure and applications from any location, automates operations and allows scalability of resources whenever required without compromising on stability and security. 

That is where CloudOps comes into the picture and has the capability to offer speed, security and operational efficiency to the DevOps team making the system predictive as well as proactive while enhancing visibility and governance.

7. Building a CloudOps team

The first step is to determine whether an organization needs a cloud operations team. Identify and align all the roles and responsibilities spread across organization’s cross-functional teams who are already involved in strategizing cloud operations. 

Cloud adoption and cloud governance teams or individuals will support the cloud strategy team. Further, to address critical areas of security, cost, performance, deployment, adoption and governance, the cloud operations team need to align with other teams within the organization. This would require the cloud operations team to collaborate with the cloud strategy, cloud adoption, cloud governance and the cloud center of excellence teams to execute, implement and manage cloud operations functions. 

8. How CloudOps fits into DevOps?

Since cloudOps is an extension of DevOps and IT, it aims at building a cloud operations management suite to direct applications and data on cloud post-migrationAccording to the Right Scale State of the Cloud Report, 94% of enterprises are using some type of cloud service and the global cloud computing market is expected to grow to $832.1 billion by 2025.

CloudOps comprises governance tools that optimize costs; enhance security and capacity planning. It also promotes continuous monitoring and managing of applications running on cloud with minimal resources. 

Cloud platforms offer DevOps the flexibility, scalability, recovery and the ability to dissociate from the existing infrastructure.

Built-in automated cloudOps techniques provision for agility, speed, and performance-related metrics. It additionally facilitates smooth handling of service incidents to fix cloud infrastructure and application-related issues.

Combining DevOps initiates a faster CI/CD pipeline guaranteeing continuous improvement, greater ROI with minimum risk, and consistent delivery of customer needs.

Once organizations implement cloudOps strategies into DevOps, the following best practices can be observed on cloud:

  • Plan and develop a cloud migration strategy keeping risks, costs and security in mind.
  • Understand current network infrastructure to map out an adaptive cloud-based technological process.
  • Bring in a cultural shift by changing the mindset and training the resources to help understand CloudOps aligned DevOps strategies.
  • Dispense self-provisioning tools that allow end-users to initiate applications and services without IT support.
  • Implement automated processes to test security configurations and establish compliance policies to ensure uniformity and stability across dynamic multi-cloud services and teams.
  • Automation organizes development workflows and agile change management systems facilitate seamless functioning of teams. To continuously improve and evaluate processes, increase accessibility and optimize productivity, streamlining the change management process is elementary.

9. Benefits of CloudOps

  1. Cost-effective: Utilizing cloud service platforms minimize the hardware and infrastructure costs while also saving on resources, utilities and data center maintenance costs.
  2. Scalability & accessibility: Organizations can build up their cloud capacity as per their need. This allows teams to become more productive and shift focus on innovative cloud techniques. Also, teams can access and manage cloud operations from any location using any devices regardless of platform.
  3. Automation: Technology intelligence tools on cloud automate infrastructure provisioning, building codes, running quality assurance tests and generating reports that lead to faster time-to-market.
  4.  Enhances security: Since cloud ensures effective security monitoring and checks on cloud data and services, a survey by RapidScale depicted that 94% of businesses saw improvement in security after moving to the cloud.
  5. Simplifies backup and disaster recovery: Cloud makes storage of data in multiple locations possible and offers several cloud-based managed services that are fault-tolerant and have failover alternatives to protect the data on cloud.
  6. Seamless integration: Applications sharing common services can co-exist in cloud without being interconnected. 
  7. Continuous operations: Cloud operations are made available 24/7 where software can be rapidly updated and deployed without disrupting any services.

10. Conclusion

Thus, cloudOps offer tremendous value to businesses while devOps ensure continuous operations, directing organizations to optimize and enhance their way of building and deploying applications on cloud. CloudOps is most advantageous to enterprises from the technical point of view and associates with devOps to upgrade their products and services. We will emphasize more on cloud governance practices that include finOps and secOps in our succeeding blog of the xOps series.

How We Ushered a CCoE for a Top Finserv

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Written by Hari Bhaskar, Head – Business Development, LTI

Contributor Agnel Bankien, Head – Marketing at Powerup Cloud Technologies

Summary

A leading client was seeking to modernize its entire business for which, we employed our CCoE practices as a roadmap to direct the cloud adoption journey in three stages. The CCoE team began with a migration readiness assessment and planning (MRAP), followed by offering consulting, migration, deployment and managed services across all business functions.

Index

1. Preface

2. Business Needs

3. Solutions devised by the CCoE team

3.1 Building a case for cloud

3.2 Migration Readiness Assessment and Planning (MRAP)                         

3.2.1 Pre-requisites

3.2.2 Assessment

3.2.3 MRAP Deliverables

3.2.4 Key Findings

3.3 Migration

3.3.1 Security Consulting

3.3.2 Database Consulting 

3.3.3 Data Migration

3.3.4 API Gateway Migration

3.3.5 Implementing DevOps     

3.4 Deployment and Managed Services

3.4.1 Deployment

3.4.2 Managed Services

3.4.2.1 Service Monitoring 

3.4.2.2 Security Management

3.4.2.3 Backup Management

3.4.2.4 Alerts and Report Management

3.4.2.5 DevOps Support

3.4.2.6 Continuous Integration

3.4.2.7 Reviews

3.4.2.8 Value Added Services

4. Control Handover

5. Benefits and Outcome

CCoE as-a-service – A Case Study

1. Preface

In the previous three blogs of this CCoE series, we have extensively looked at what a CCoE is, why organizations need it, the factors influencing an effective CCoE set up and where can organizations instrument them. In this blog, the 4th in the series, let us look at LTI-Powerup CCoE practices administered on one of their esteemed clients to direct their cloud transformation.

The client is a leading name in the finance industry offering a broad range of financial products and services to a diversified customer base. They have a sizable presence in the large retail market segment through their life insurance, housing finance, mutual fund and retail businesses across domestic and global geographies.

Cloud computing has gained significant momentum in the financial sector and the client is looking at modernizing their technological profile across all business functions.

  • However, the current setup was heavily fragmented with 27 LOBs and independent IT strategies)
  • They lacked the nimbleness of newer players in the market with slow service launches
  • IT compelled business to accept SLAs that were not ideal
  • And IT leaders were not sure how to quantify Cloud benefits

LTI-Powerup exercised their CCoE implementations as a roadmap and deployed a team to regulate the client’s entire cloud adoption journey. This team followed the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) model, moving on to steadily transition the core operations to the client. Once the client team was well versed with cloud deployment & operations, they and LTI-Powerup jointly managed Cloud solutioning and L1, L2 and L3 capabilities in due course of time.

2. Business Needs

LTI-Powerup CCOE to –

  • Offer Consulting to build a business case for the cloud. Propose and carry out a cloud readiness assessment in order to understand how well prepared the client is for the technology-driven transitional shift.
  • Impart Cloud Migration Solutions
  • Provide a transformation roadmap for applications and services

Provide Deployment and Managed Servicesolutions devised by the CCoE team

3.  Solutions Devised by the CCoE Team

3.1 Building a case for cloud

LTI-Powerup CCoE team was to build a business case that would help in smooth transition of the client’s current set up on to cloud. This involved carrying out an assessment of the client’s existing applications and operations, detecting improvement areas to enhance the transition, as well as identifying all the key stages of cloud adoption and the associated costs that come with it. The team was also to cater to analysis of existing and anticipated future workloads to create the best subsequent migration plan in order to oblige to increase in workload demands, if any. The basic intention was to enhance customer experiences, win the support of key stakeholders and reap maximum benefits and savings achieved from moving to cloud.

3.2. Migration Readiness Assessment and Planning (MRAP):

3.2.1 Pre-requisites

LTI-Powerup CCoE team’s scope of services was to define and plan a business case for the Migration Readiness Assessment & Planning (MRAP) to assess and analyze the client’s current on-premise environment to state how well equipped it is to migrate to the cloud. An MRAP report would then be drafted which would act as a roadmap to the actual migration. 

The team planned the MRAP exercise to understand the number and type of applications involved, identify the right stakeholders for interviews, tools to be installed, different types of installations and creation of project plan. The application migration assessment covered 2 Data Centers, 1500 VMs and around 500 applications in all.

 Application discovery services were configured to help collect hardware and server specification information, credentials, details of running processes, network connectivity and port details. It also helped acquire a list of all on-premise servers in scope along with their IP addresses, business application names hosted on them and the stakeholders using those apps. The scope ensured that the CCoE team looked into and advocated the prediction analysis of future workloads as well.

3.2.2. Assessment

Once the tool was deployed with the necessary access, servers were licensed to collect data for a span of 2 weeks before building and grouping the applications in scope.

The team conducted assessment and group interviews with the application, IT, security, devOps and network teams to bridge gaps if any. A proposed migration plan was to be developed post-analysis that would state identified migration patterns for the applications in scope, create customized or modernized target architecture to plan a rapid lift & shift migration strategy.

3.2.3. MRAP Deliverables

A comprehensive MRAP report included information on the overall current on-premise infrastructure, the architecture of all identified applications, suggested migration methodology for each application which included leveraging PaaS solutions, key changes to the application, a roadmap with migration waves, total cost of ownership (TCO) analysis and an executive presentation for business cases.

The CCoE in coordination with the client team, set up a framework to create, automate, baseline, scale and maintain a multi-account environment. This is considered as a best practice usually recommended before deploying applications on the cloud. This architecture catered to not just application and network deployment but also covered non-functional requirements, data security, data sizes, operations and monitoring and logging. The production environment was isolated as the customer had several applications running development, test and production from the same account.

3.2.4. Key Findings

  • Current Infrastructure provisioned was utilized to only 30%.
  • Close to 20% of servers were already outdated or turning obsolete within the next year and another 20% of applications could be moved to new architectures to save cost.
  • Databases were being shared across multiple applications whereas several applications were found to be running on the same servers, with servers being shared across various lines of business.
  • Up to 50% savings on TCO can be achieved over the next 5 years by moving to the cloud.

Above is a snap shot of how our team performed and recorded the peak utilization assesment for prediction analysis. This assisted the client in having clearer visibility towards future demands on cloud and accordingly plan for provisioning a strategic build up on the cloud.

3.3. Migration:

The agreement between LTI-Powerup and the client is to provide cloud CoE resources to form a consulting services pod to help the customer understand and adopt cloud services. Once the CCoE consultants suggest the design and development of a cloud team, they collaborate with cross-functional teams to check if the proposed architecture, cloud applications and processes are the right fit. Based on the MRAP findings, they put forward any alterations if necessary before moving on to migrating existing data or legacy workloads. Analysis and recommendations are also provided based on parameter-wise assessment done for future requirements and expansion purposes where modernized techniques like devops and containerization are suggested as required. The team is also responsible for training the technical as well as the non-technical workforce to conduct smooth cloud migration operations.

3.3.1. Security consulting

The scope of this engagement is for the CCoE team to help the customer design a security framework on the cloud. LTI-Powerup understood the list of applications, their current account and traffic mapping to categorize all those applications that had common security and compliance requirements.

A security framework was designed incorporating all the identified security components, after which, the existing setup was validated to recommend changes. The team also developed the scope of work for implementation of the same.

3.3.2. Database Consulting

LTI-Powerup database professionals detailed the scope of work and the responsibility matrix for database services. The team offered consultative services for database administration and suggested regular database health checks, maintain database server uptime, configure security, users and permissions as well as perform backups and recovery.

3.3.3. Data Migration

The client had been running their data analytics and prediction workloads in an on-premise cluster, which took approximately 12 hours to process data. Therefore, they wanted to validate the move to the cloud with the intent of reducing costs as well as processing time.

With their cloud-first initiative in mind, LTI-Powerup deployed its CCoE team to evaluate the feasibility to have all their systems tested and working on an Infrastructure as-a-code service to ensure the cloud meets all their future expansion plans.

The cloud solutions architects along with senior cloud engineers and data architects understood the existing setup and designed, installed and integrated the solutions on cloud using managed cluster platforms where highly available cluster configuration management, patching and cross-data-center replication were undertaken.

Solutions were also customized wherever required and data was then loaded onto a cloud data warehouse with provisions for backup, disaster recovery, upgrade, perform on-demand point-in-time restores, continuous support and maintenance.

3.3.4. API Gateway Deployment

The client was planning to deploy their APIs on cloud as well as create an open API to cater to external developers across their business groups with robust multi-factor authentication policies. The scope of this engagement between LTI-Powerup and the customer was to provide cloud resources to help understand and adopt cloud API services.

The LTI-Powerup CCoE team proposed API configuration and deployment solutions on the cloud along with the required Identity and access management (IAM) roles.

The proposed solutions covered all the APIs being deployed. It included API gateway usage plans that control each API’s usage, caching was enabled for faster access, scripts were run to deploy developer portal and multiple cloud services were initiated to host web pages, as well as store API key for user mapping. User pools with roles to grant access to the portal when required were also created. Additionally, the APIs were integrated on the cloud to generate customer-wise API usage billing reports to keep a check on costs whereas the client team constructed documents for each API gateway for future reference.

3.3.5. Implementing DevOps

The client had a 3-tier infrastructure for its applications based on a content management system (CMS) framework with close to 10 corporate websites and open-source relational database management systems running on cloud.

However with increasing workloads, the demand for hardware and infrastructure will certainly scale up. To cater to such rising demands, the CCoE team conducts a predictive analysis that helps analyze the current data to make predictions for the future. The team then gives out recommendations to the client with respect to building Greenfield applications on the cloud to accommodate for future workloads.

The client in this case, wanted to build a CI/CD pipeline with the help of cloud services for their future workloads. The CCoE team recommended devOps solutions to optimize and modernize the client’s setup that was spread across varied cloud and on-premise environments with multiple deployments in store. In this approach, due to the variety of connectors to be integrated with various stages of the pipeline, an entire orchestration of CI/CD pipeline was to be managed on cloud right from storing the cloned code to building the application code, integrating with other tools, code analysis, application deployment on the beta environment, testing and validation.

The code pipeline on the cloud would also facilitate customization at every stage of the pipeline as needed. Once validation was done, the applications were deployed to production instances on cloud with manual and automatic rollback support in case of a failure or application malfunction.

3.4. Deployment and Managed Services 

3.4.1. Deployment

The scope of this engagement between LTI-Powerup and the customer was to build a team to understand and deploy cloud services for the various lines of business adopting cloud. The CCoE recommended deployment team consisted of the deployment engineers and the consulting experts who looked after cloud servers, OS, API gateway deployment and development, scripting, database, infrastructure automation, monitoring tools, hardware, continuous integration, docker orchestration tools and configuration management.

3.4.2. Managed Services

The scope of the LTI-Powerup team was to facilitate:

  • Provide 24*7 cloud support for production workloads on cloud and
  • Provide security operational services for applications hosted on the cloud.
  • Provide Cost optimization services
  • Ensure automation and continuous optimization

After the introductory onboarding process, LTI-Powerup in discussions with the client IT team provided a blueprint of the complete architecture and was responsible to detect failure points, servers and databases without backup schedules, missing version control mechanisms for backups and the absence of high availability set up that would otherwise lead to Single Point of Failures (SPOC).

The CCoE team comprising of the service delivery manager, lead cloud support engineer and the technical lead prepared the escalation matrix, SPOC analysis, shared plan to automate backups, fix security loopholes, implement alert systems, service desk, client sanctioned security measures and metrics, cloud service monitoring agents and a helpdesk.

The day-to-day tasks performed by cloud operations team in the customer environment were:

3.4.2.1. Service Monitoring

The devOps team supported continuous monitoring of the cloud infrastructure health including CPU, memory and storage utilization, URL uptime and application performance. The team also monitored third party SaaS tools and applications that were integrated into cloud. Defects, if any, were raised as a ticket in the helpdesk, client communication would be sent out and logged issues would be resolved with immediate effect based on severity.

LTI-Powerup devOps team would thus provide L0, L1, L2, L3 support including support for infrastructure and application. Any L3 issues were to be escalated to the cloud vendor and LTI-Powerup would follow-up with the cloud platform support team for resolution on an on-going basis.

3.4.2.2. Security Management

Security in cloud was a shared responsibility between the client, cloud provider and LTI-Powerup managed services team with the latter taking complete responsibility for the infrastructure and application security on behalf of the client. Security components for the cloud could be broadly classified into native cloud components and third-party security tools.

The managed services team conducted a monthly security vulnerability assessment of the cloud infrastructure with the help of audit tools, remediated the issues and maintained security best practices. The team also owned and controlled the IAM functions, multi-factor authentication of user accounts, VPN, server and data encryption, managed SSL certificates for the websites, inspected firewalls, enabled and monitored logs for security analysis, resource change tracking and compliance auditing on behalf of the customer.

The managed services team highly recommended detection and prevention from DDoS attacks on websites and portals and took charge of implementing anti-virus and malware protection as well as monitoring and mitigating DDoS attacks, if any.

3.4.2.3. Backup Management

LTI-Powerup devOps team will continuously monitor the status of automated and manual backups and record the events in a tracker. If the customer uses a third-party backup agent then the servers running the backup master server will be monitored for uptime. In case of missed automatic backups, the team notified the client, conducted a root cause analysis of the error and proceeded to take manual backups as a corrective step. Backup policies were revisited every month with the client to avoid future pit-falls.

3.4.2.4. Alerts and Reports Management

Alerts were configured for all metrics monitored at cloud infrastructure and application levels. The monitoring dashboards were shared with the client IT team and alerts triggered for cloud hardware, database or security issues were logged as a ticket and informed to the customer’s designated point of contact. In case of no acknowledgment from the first point of contact, the LTI-Powerup team would escalate to the next level or business heads. The client had access to the helpdesk tool to log or edit change requests for the devOps team to take appropriate action.

3.4.2.5. DevOps Support

A typical devOps support enabled the import of source code from another repository, integrated relevant extensions to the code bundle and allowed zipping and moving it to the respective directory, also facilitating ‘one click’ automated deployments for applications.

In this case, for the production environment, manual checks were carried out to identify the correct environment and servers for deployment followed by verification of event logs and status URL. Rollback, if needed, was executed using snapshots taken during the beginning of the deployment process.

3.4.2.6. Continuous Integration

The managed services team enabled a seamless CI model by managing a standard single-source repository, automating the build and testing it while also tracking the commit for building integration machines. Transparency in the build progress ensured successful deployments and in case of a build or test fails, the CI server alerted the team to fix the issue, generating continuous integration and test throughout the project.

3.4.2.7. Reviews

 LTI-Powerup service delivery manager conducted monthly review meetings with the client team to discuss total downtime for the previous month, total tickets raised and resolved, a best practice implemented, incident and problem management, and lastly, lessons learned for continuous improvisation.

3.4.2.8. Value-added services

The LTI-Powerup CCoE team would handle cloud administration and governance on behalf of the client to ensure all deployment activities like data center account management, IAM access management and controls, billing consolidation and analysis as well as proposing new governance strategies from time to time is accomplished with high standards.

4. Control Handover

LTI-Powerup handover process allows the clients to steadily take over the control of their cloud setup.

A dedicated training unit powered by LTI migration and modernization experts facilitates smooth conduct of cloud skills training by offering to train the employees on multiple facets of the cloud transformation lifecycle.

To begin with, client will participate in the ratio of 3:1 where there will be 1 client employee against 3 LTI-Powerup cloud resources to manage the cloud operations eventually reversing to 1:3 (LTI: client) in the final year. This enables the client’s cloud team to get a hands-on experience in migration related activities over a period of 3 years.

Similarly, the cloud transformation PODs will have participation from client employees in the ratio of 2:1 reversing to 1:2 (LTI: client) in the last year which enables clients cloud team to be better equipped in handling complex cloud transformation processes over a span of 3 years.

For cloud managed services, teams handling client’s workloads will have participation from client employees in the ratio of 2:1 increasing to 1:2 (LTI: client) in the last year. This ensures the client cloud team to be fully efficient on 24*7 cloud management services including the management of CloudOps, DevOps, FinOps and SecOps.

5. Benefits and Outcome

The CCoE implementation by LTI-Powerup enabled the client to experience agility, flexibility, and faster go-to-market strategic solutions through PaaSification allowing the client to achieve 40% reduction in time to market for their products and services. The cloud transformation enhanced business performance and triggered intangible benefits to a large extent.

Significant savings in infrastructure and operational costs lead to cost optimization, reducing the projected TCO with a notable benefit of 45% over a period of 5 years.

A centralized cloud management led to eliminating duplication of efforts and overheads whereas the cloud implementation and tools accelerated migration by 60%, reduced the migration bubble, and leveraged a comprehensive state-of-the-art setup.

How to Position your CCOE

By | Powerlearnings | No Comments

Written by Vinay Kalyan Parakala, SVP – Global Sales (Cloud Practice), LTI

Contributor Agnel Bankien, Head – Marketing at Powerup Cloud Technologies

Summary:

Cloud CoE is a well-known concept in organizations today but the role it plays in accelerating cloud-enabled transformation is still evolving as compared to the rate at which industries are adopting to cloud. We have seen in our previous blog what a CCoE is and how more and more organizations are realizing the need and importance of establishing a Cloud Centre of Excellence (CCoE), also known as Cloud Business Office or Cloud Strategy Office to scale their cloud journeys.

This blog is a second in the series that will emphasize factors to be considered while setting up a CCoE, the challenges that come with it, and when and where organizations must actually consider implementing them.

Index:

1. Introduction

2. The concept of a centralized CCoE

3. Factors that establish an effective CCoE

3.1 Align the goal and purpose of CCoE to business needs

3.2 Ascertain the CCoE team structure

3.3 Create the cloud governance roadmap

3.4 Set a long-term vision

4. The key challenges in building a CCOE

5. Where can CCOEs be hosted?

6. Conclusion

1. Introduction

According to RightScale, 66% of enterprises already have a central cloud team or a cloud CoE and another 21% plan on having one in the near future.

A CCoE is a team of experts whose objective is to provide organizations with guidance and governance around cloud systems.

Cloud CoEs are focused mainly around technology, business concepts and skills in order to gain the right structure and expertise within enterprises.

It helps bridge the gap between the available knowledge and skills vis-à-vis what is required in order to establish matured cloud centric operations for businesses.

With the previous blog revealing what a CCoE is and why is it important and necessary, we now move on to this second blog in the series that will emphasize key components required to form a CCoE and where should organizations implement it.

2. The concept of a centralized CCoE

Let us first understand that the CCoE is an enterprise architecture function that aids in setting up organization-wide cloud computing policies and tools to protect businesses and mainstream cloud governance. Establishing a centralized CCoE is the optimal way to sync people, process and technology and a centralized cloud center of excellence, supported by an advisory committee and community of practice, is a best-practice approach to ensure cloud adoption success.

Some organizations are reluctant to form CCoEs either due to lack of priority or the belief that their level of cloud usage doesn’t justify the effort or they have a cloud set up that moves too quickly to operationalize the process.

However, a centralized CCoE is a must as it monitors the overall governance directing cloud-computing policies, selecting and managing the right cloud providers, provisioning cloud solution architecture and workload deployment, regulating security and compliance, optimizing costs and bringing in best practices to drive organizations towards cloud maturity.

Thus, such well-structured CCoE frameworks help companies to not just minimize and manage their risks better but also help them become more result-oriented and agile in their cloud-lead IT transformations.

3. Factors that establish an effective CCoE

3.1 Align the goal and purpose of CCoE to business needs

The cloud migration strategy will mainly influence the objective of the CCoE based on which the CCoE will identify the stakeholders that need to come together to ensure cloud objectives are defined, measured and aligned to business goals. For example, the CCoE for an organization that largely replaces applications with SaaS will be different from the CCoE of an organization that is rewriting applications, where the latter will focus on application engineering and the former on application integration.

It is also vital that organizations assess themselves in terms of cloud security, compliance, finances and operations so that the CCoE knows what areas need maximum focus to begin with.

Once a set of goals is defined and aligned to business needs, it should be able to answer questions like who should be part of the CCoE, what are the outcomes being targeted, how mature is our functioning and who should lead the CCoE. The intent of a CCoE must orient with the type of business strategies and its needs.

3.2 Ascertain the CCoE team structure

The executive sponsor and a group of cross-functional leaders who form a steering committee drive the CCoE leadership activities. They aid in strategizing and decision making processes, approving roadmaps, adopting standards and defining compliance policies, thus adding visibility and structure to the cloud migration program. They also have the authority to initiate, build and communicate with an association of CCoE representatives and various stakeholders across the enterprise to define and create models of the CCoE structure, roles and responsibilities.

For complex organizations, apart from a high-level model like a head CCoE team, there will be individual roles and responsibilities defined for each functional area within the organization that will report into this high-level model. The CCoE roles will evolve over time as the organization as a whole matures in its cloud capabilities. Therefore, it is important, especially in large organizations, to set maturity goals and roadmaps, define the cloud maturity model and measure it with KPIs, to ensure cross-functional teams also progress incrementally towards the desired state of maturity after which a cloud governance model will have to be defined.

3.3 Create the cloud governance roadmap

As the team grows, it is essential for companies to draft a vision, guidelines and strategies pertaining to governance policies.

The roadmap must cover objectives that cater to the people, process and technology.

The first step would be building a community of practice to culturally change people within organizations to adopt better to cloud while taking responsibilities and ownership to fulfill the purpose of a CCoE. Reforming the processes would include identifying workloads that can be migrated, establish architectural standards and best practices, implement monitoring as well as reporting systems, handle disaster recovery, business continuity strategies, and configuration management practices.

Lastly but most importantly, introducing tools to define and ensure security and compliance policies, automate workflows, optimize capacity and enhance architectural implementations.

3.4 Set a long-term vision

Once the CCoE team establishes itself as an effective resource across the business, consider a longer-term roadmap that involves driving a “cloud-first” approach, migrating more complex applications, gaining credibility by enhancing the existing policies and practices and obtaining funding and sponsorship to optimize cloud governance.

Establish cloud best practices for organizations to create knowledge and code repositories and learning material for trainings that would act as a guide to speed up the cloud operations while ensuring security, scalability, integrity and performance.

4. The key challenges in building a CCOE

The most common structural CCoE issues are:

  • Lack of directives It is essential for enterprises to define and understand CCoE goals and intentions in order to stay focused.
  • Incorrect scopeGoals must match the expertise of the CCoE team. It is best to begin with a small team with minimal set objectives and eventually scale up as the team becomes more efficient. Unreasonable expectations may compromise projects and team’s performances.
  • Delays in cloud adoption As CCoE drives cloud adoption, it is imperative that there are no delays failing which the team’s ability and efficiency might get questioned.
  • Focus on governance rather than control CCoE can guide and contribute constructively if they adopt a flexible and adaptive cloud approach. Rather than focusing on control, CCoEs must provide businesses with apt processes to maintain and upscale cloud practices through governance strategies.
  • Lack of flexibilityMost organizations are diverse when it comes to innovation and are willing to experiment with emerging technologies. CCoE must not adopt a one-size-fits-all approach to cloud computing guidelines and technological preferences. Organizations should be open to embracing a dynamic and flexible outlook to keep pace with cloud advancements and the ever-changing governance needs.

5. Where can CCOE be hosted?

As per the latest reports from CloudCheckr, an advanced technology partner in the AWS Partner Network (APN) program, 47 % of organizations have formed a CCoE of some kind and 63 % have added new roles to customize and improve their CCoE practices. 

CCoEs can be hosted depending on the type of organization, its size, and the capability of its resources. If resources are cloud proficient and are technically sound and engaging, then cloud CoE team members can be staffed internally. 

If the organization is a small or mid-sized set up with minimal or zero cloud expertise, it can host an on-premise centralized CCoE team that serves as a cloud service agent or a consultant acting in an advisory role to the organization’s central and distributed IT and cloud service users.

Furthermore, if the scope of cloud migration is part of a large enterprise conglomerate’s digital transformation, then the scope of CCoE will also broaden and must comprise of cross-functional business units and stakeholders across the enterprise. Such organizations may opt to outsource the CCoE functions entirely to external vendors or adopt a hybrid approach.

In a hybrid CCoE set up, the centralized CCoE team comprises in-house technologists and resources from cross-functional teams across the organization as well as external cloud consultants to look after its entire cloud practices. 

A single consolidated team is not enough to cater to such a vast set up and would require business unit-wise (BU-wise) CCoE teams to manage and look after their respective BUs. These independent CCoE teams can then collectively account for one chief CCoE team. 

A recent study reveals that the hybrid cloud is the weapon of choice for 45% of enterprises and 60% of government agencies use internal resources to lead their cloud migration projects while 40% hire an external service provider.

AWS Head of Enterprise strategy, Stephen Orban, explains that creating a CCoE in his past role as the CIO helped him dictate how he and his team could build and execute their cloud strategy across the organization. He said, “I knew from seeing change-management programs succeed and fail throughout my career that having a dedicated team with single-threaded ownership over an organization’s most important initiatives is one of the most effective ways to get results fast and influence change.”

6. Conclusion

CCoEs play an essential role in the development and measurement of the cloud business success.

83 % of the organizations admit that with a CCoE in place, their business productivity has significantly flared up and 96 % believe they would benefit from it without doubt. The top reported benefits of a CCoE include reducing security risks (56 %), reducing costs (50 %) and improving the ability to be agile and innovative (44 %).

Thus, if CCoEs are built in an appropriate manner, organizations can –

  • Use its resources in a more efficient way,
  • Provide quality services and products to customers,
  • Reduce costs by eliminating inefficient practices and
  • Cut the time required for the implementation of new technologies and skills. It can help achieve consistency, as well as reduce complexity.

Stay tuned (follow us) for the next blog in this series, where we will have a look at the detailed structure of a CCoE with the roles, responsibilities, resources, and technical requirements.

CCoE-as-a-Service

By | Powerlearnings | No Comments

Written by Vinay Kalyan Parakala, SVP – Global Sales (Cloud Practice), LTI

Contributor Agnel Bankien, Head – Marketing at Powerup Cloud Technologies

Summary:

With the significant growth in cloud markets, it is necessary that organizations inculcate cloud governance and operational excellence through dedicated Cloud Centre of Excellence (CCoE). It helps streamline and strengthen businesses by executing governance strategies across the infrastructure, platform and software as a service cloud models.

Every organization essentially needs to adopt a particular type of CCoE that best fits, in order to modernize their business and progress alongside continuously evolving technologies and innovation. CCoEs are internal and external teams built across finance, operations, security, compliance, architecture and human resources functions that aligns cloud offerings with the organizational strategies.

Therefore to facilitate effortless migrations along with agility, flexibility, cost optimization and multi-cloud management while perceiving how enterprises can structure and standardize their operations, it is important to establish a CCoE that would lead organizations through an effective cloud transformation journey. 

Index:

  1. What is Cloud Centre of Excellence (CCoE)?
  2. The need for CCoE
  3. Types of CCoE 
    1. Functional CCoE
    2. Advisory CCoE
    3. Prescriptive CCoE
  4. Best practices for configuring a CCoE
  5. Conclusion

What is Cloud Centre of Excellence (CCoE)?

Fortune Business Insights predict that the global cloud computing market size is anticipated to hit USD 760.98 billion by 2027. With the cloud markets accelerating, it is vital that organizations emphasize strongly on strategic planning and migration more than ever. 

A successful shift to the cloud needs complete alignment of businesses and resources, which is why a comprehensive cloud governance structure may not be enough to interact with and support cloud environments. 

Forging ahead, enterprises will need to focus attention on cloud operational excellence in order to streamline and enhance their businesses, thus driving them to establish a dedicated centralized Cloud Centre of Excellence (CCoE).

A CCoE is a cross-functional internal or external team comprising mainly of DevOps, CloudOps, Infrastructure, Security and FinOps that oversees cloud adoption, migration and operational functions. Additionally, the CCoE team also governs the IT and cloud infrastructure, confirming that it meets the organization’s expectations. 

To elaborate further, it signifies that CCOE enables cloud operational excellence across all cloud service models of infrastructure, platform and software as a service (IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS). The three pillars of CCoE being; 

Governance – CCoE creates cloud policies and guidelines in collaboration with cross functional teams, helps plan technical strategies and select centralized governance tools to address financial and risk management processes. 

Brokerage – Encompasses selection of cloud providers, architects cloud solutions as well as directs contract negotiation and vendor management.

Community – CCoE puts up a community of practice, enables knowledge sharing via building knowledge and source code repositories, conducts trainings, CoP councils and collaboration across all segments of an organization.

In totality, the CCoE ensures that cloud adoption is not siloed and encourages repeatable cloud processes and standards to be incepted as best practices. According to a recent survey, only 16 % of organizations have a fully-fledged CCoE, while 47 % are still working towards it.

The need for CCoE

The objective of the CCoE is to focus on the modernization of existing ITIL-based processes and governance standards while taking people, processes and technology, collectively into account.

  • By assembling the right people from the right functions, CCoEs can accurately comprehend and address opportunities to keep pace with progressing technology and innovative transformations.

The CCoE has the ability to answer migration related concerns like;

  • Is re-platforming needed? 
  • Will the lift and shift strategy be a better choice? 
  • What must be done to the original data while migrating? Etc. 

This strengthens and eases the decision-making capabilities of organizational teams kindling a structured cloud ecosystem in the long run.

When CCoE is successfully implemented, there is significant reduction in time-to-market, increased reliability, security and performance efficiency.

  • Over time, the CCoE team operations can gain more maturity and experience; affirming notable improvement in quality, security, reliability and performances on cloud. Organizations would eventually shape shift towards agility, paving way for smoother migrations, multi-cloud management, asset management, cost governance and customer satisfaction. 
  • Since a CCoE model works in coalition with cloud adoption, cloud strategy, governance, cloud platform and automation, the focus is more on delegated responsibility and centralized control, unlike the traditional IT set up, bringing about an impactful cultural shift within enterprises. 

Types of CCoE 

There are mainly three operational CCoEs that can help reinforce a cloud governance model. 

  • Functional CCoE: Encourages in building an exclusive team that can drive cloud initiatives, speed up analysis and decisions making processes, set cloud expertise standards, and act as a delivery catalyst in the cloud transformation.
  • Advisory CCoE: This is a team that provides consultative reviews and guidance on cloud best practices. Advisory teams establish and propel standards for new policies especially in a large and dynamic multi-project organizational set up.
  • Prescriptive CCoE: Acts as a leadership policy board highlighting how cloud projects should be constituted and executed within organizations. They help in defining policies for application deployment as well as identity and access management, set automation, security and audit standards and ensure that large enterprises become cloud governance competent.

Best practices for configuring a CCoE

Once organizations determine what type of CCoE fits them, the right team constructs and role definitions are vital in defining the cloud governance model. It is recommended that the founding team starts small with 3 to 5 members who can focus on a finite vision to begin with.

The most critical role in the CCoE team is that of an Executive Sponsor who leads the change bringing along other stakeholders from functions like finance, operations, security, compliance, architecture and human resources. 

Finance implements cost controls and optimization; operations manage the entire DevOps lifecycle round the clock whereas security and compliance define and establish cloud security standards and governance compliance practices. Cloud architecture expertise is included to bring in best practices and define a future roadmap that is cloud technology led. The CCoE is incomplete without the human resources who execute training programs and changes in workforce to make organizations cloud savvy. 

As soon as the appropriate team is formed, a CCoE charter stating the objectives, operational goals along with roles and responsibilities need to be scripted. 

For CCOE to define how cloud solutions will be extended and be in line with the organization’s project lifecycle, it is essential to draft a deployment plan.

It is important that the CCoE team works with authority and yet maintains harmony while integrating with the rest of the organization for a successful cloud transformation.

Lastly, organizations that migrate to cloud do so, to avail cost benefits, increase efficiency, flexibility and scalability of operations. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the CCoE team to measure key performances to keep a check on the cloud usage, infrastructure cost and performance at regular intervals.

Conclusion

The Cloud Center of Excellence (CCoE) helps accelerate cloud adoption by driving governance, developing reusable frameworks, overseeing cloud usage, and maintaining cloud learning. It aligns cloud offerings with the organizational strategies to lead an effective cloud transformation journey.

Deciphering Compliance on Cloud

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Compiled by Kiran Kumar, Business analyst at Powerup Cloud Technologies

Contributor Agnel Bankien, Head – Marketing at Powerup Cloud Technologies

Blog Flow

  1. What is cloud compliance?
  2. Why is it important to be compliant?
  3. Types of cloud compliance 
    1. ISO
    2. HIPAA
    3. PCI DSS
    4. GLBA
    5. GDPR
    6. FedRAMP
    7. SOX
    8. FISMA
    9. FERPA
  4. Challenges in cloud compliance
  5. How can organizations ascertain security and compliance standards are met with while moving to cloud?
  6. Conclusion

Summary

As time progresses, businesses are getting more data-driven and cloud-centric imposing the need for stringent security and compliance measures. With the alarming rise in the number of cyber-attacks and data breaches lately, it is crucial that organizations understand, implement and monitor data and infrastructure protection on the cloud. 

It is important yet challenging for large distributed organizations with complex virtual and physical architectures across multiple locations, to define compliance policies and establish security standards that will help them accelerate change and innovation while enhancing data storage and privacy.

There are various compliance standards like HIPAA, ISO, GDPR, SOX, FISMA, and more that ensure appropriate guidelines and compliance updates are met to augment cloud security and compliance. Prioritizing cloud security, determining accurate cloud platforms, implementing change management, investing in automated compliance tools, and administering cloud governance are some of the measures that will surely warrant cloud compliance across all domains.

What is cloud compliance?

Most of the businesses today are largely data-driven. The 2020 Global State of Enterprise Analytics Report states that 94% of businesses feel data and analytics are drivers of growth and digital transformation today, out of which, 56% of organizations leveraging analytics are experiencing significant financial benefits along with more scope for innovation and effective decision-making capacities.

To accelerate further, organizations are steering rapidly towards the cloud for its obvious versatile offerings like guaranteed business continuity, reduced IT costs, scalability and flexibility. 

With cloud, strengthening security and compliance policies has become a necessity. Cloud compliance is about consenting with the industry rules, laws and regulatory policies while delivering through the cloud. The law compels the cloud users to verify if the effective security provisions of their vendors are in line with their compliance needs.

Consequently, the cloud-delivered systems are better placed to be compliant with the various industry standards and internal policies while also being able to efficiently track and report status. 

The shift to cloud enables businesses to not just transit from capital to operational expenses but also from internal to external operational security. Issues related to security and compliance can pose as barriers especially with regards to cloud storage and back up services.

Therefore, it is imperative to understand in which part of the world will our data be stored and processed, the kind of authorities and laws that will be applicable to this data and its impact on business. Every country has varied information security laws, data protection laws, access to information laws, information retention and sovereignty laws that need to be taken into consideration in order to build appropriate security measures that adhere to these set standards. 

Why is it important to be compliant?

Gartner research Vice President Sid Nag says, “At this point, cloud adoption is mainstream.” 

Recent data from Risk Based Security revealed that the number of records exposed has increased to a staggering 36 billion in 2020 with Q3 alone depicting an additional 8.3 billion records to what was already the “worst year so far.”

“There were a number of notable data breaches but the compromise of the Twitter accounts held by several high profile celebrities probably garnered the most headlines”, says Chris Hallenbeck, Chief Information Security Officer for the Americas at Tanium.

With enterprises moving their data and applications substantially on cloud, security threats and breaches across all operations emerge as their biggest concern. 

Therefore it is crucial for organizations to attain full visibility and foresight on security, governance and compliance on cloud.

Data storage and its privacy is the topmost concern and not being compliant with industry rules and regulations would augment data violation and confidentiality breach. A structured compliance management system also enables organizations to steer clear of heavy non-compliance penalties.

An effective corporate compliance management guarantees a positive business image and fabricates the customer’s trust and loyalty. It constructs customer reliability and commitment that helps build a strong and lasting customer base. 

Administering compliance solutions reduce unforced errors and helps keep a check on genuine risks and errors arising out of internal business performances.

Compliance is considered a valuable asset for driving innovation and change.

Types of cloud compliance 

Until recently, most service providers focused on providing data and cloud storage services without much concern towards data security or industry standards. As the cloud scales up, the need for compliance with regards to data storage also increases requiring service providers to draft new guidelines and compliance updates while measuring up to the ever changing national and industry regulations. 

Some of the most seasoned regulations governing cloud compliance today are:

1. International Organization for Standardization (ISO)

ISO is one of the most eminent administrative bodies in charge of cloud guidelines and has developed numerous laws that govern the applications of cloud computing.

ISO/IEC 27001:2013 is one of the most widely used of all ISO cloud requirements. Right from formation to maintenance of information security management systems, ISO specifies how organizations must address their security risks, how to establish reliable security measures for cloud vendors and users and helps set firm IT governance standards.

2. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)

HIPAA, applicable only within the United States, provisions for security and management of protected health information (PHI). It helps institutions like the hospitals; doctors’ clinics and health insurance organizations to follow strict guidelines on how confidential patient information can be used, managed and stored along with reporting security breaches, if any. Title II, the most significant section of HIPAA ensures that the healthcare industry adopts secure encryption processes to secure data and operate electronic transactions with significant safety measures.

3. PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) 

PCI DSS is a standard pertaining to organizations that process or handle payment card information like credit cards, where it is mandatory that each of the stated 12 requirements in the act are met with to achieve compliance. Major credit card companies like American Express, MasterCard, Discover and Visa came together to establish PCI DSS to provide better security for cardholder’s data and payment transactions. PCI DSS has further implemented new controls for multifactor user authentication and data encryption requirements of late. 

4. GLBA (Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act) 

GLBA applies to financial institutions that need to understand and define how a customer’s confidential data should be protected. The law enforces organizations to create transparency by sharing with customers how their data is being stored and secured.

5. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

GDPR regulations facilitate organizations that work with European Union residents to govern and control their data in order to create a better international standard for business.

The GDPR levies heavy fines, as much as 4% of the annual global turnover or €20 million, whichever is greater, if not complied with. Identity and access management frameworks can enable organizations to comply with GDPR requirements like managing consent from individuals to have their data recorded and tracked, responding to individuals’ right to have their data erased and notifying people in the event of a personal data breach. 

6. Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP)

FedRAMP provides enhanced security within the cloud as per the numerous security controls set through the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Special Publication 800-53. It helps in the evaluation of management and analysis of different cloud solutions and products while also ensuring that the cloud service vendors remain in compliance with the stated security controls as well.

7. Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX)

SOX regulations were introduced after prominent financial scandals in the early 2000. It ensures all public companies in the US take steps to mitigate fraudulent accounting and financial activities. SOX safeguards the American public from corporate wrongdoing and it is mandatory for organizations that constitute under SOX, to work only with those cloud providers that employ SSAE 16 or SAS 70 auditing guidelines.

8. Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA)

FISMA is responsible for governing the US Federal Government ensuring that federal agencies safeguard their assets and information by creating and implementing an internal security plan. FISMA sets a one-year timeline for review of this plan to enhance the effectiveness of the program and the ongoing mitigation of risks.

FISMA also controls the technology security of third-party cloud vendors.

9. Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA)

FERPA caters to governing student records maintained by educational institutions and agencies and also applies to all federally funded elementary, secondary, and post secondary institutions. It plans for these institutes to identify and authenticate the identity of parents, students, school officials and other parties before permitting access to personally identifiable information (PII). FERPA enforces relevant policies to reduce authentication misuse in order to efficiently manage user identity life cycle with periodic account recertification.

Challenges in cloud compliance

With an on-premise data center set up, enterprises are responsible for the entire network, security controls and hardware, physically present in the premises whereas security controls in the cloud are virtual and are usually provided by third-party cloud vendors. 

Keeping track of data and assuring its security, especially if it involves large, distributed organizations with complex architectures spread across multiple locations and systems, both physical and virtual, is extremely challenging.

The pressure builds up even more on enterprises when industry regulators are imposed to tighten data protection techniques, violating which leads to heavy fines. Regular audits and security policy checks have to be embraced by organizations to manifest compliance.

The challenges with cloud compliance are:

  • Multi-location regulations: Large organizations serving clients globally need to adhere to regional, national and international regulations with regards to data possession and transfer. However while migrating to cloud, the preferred cloud vendor may not always be able to offer the exact stated requirements. Adopting technology that supports major public cloud vendors, promoting hybrid cloud strategies, determining which data can be safely moved to cloud while retaining sensitive data on-premises are some measures that will help establish security and compliance on cloud.
  • Data Visibility: Data storage is a huge challenge in terms of where and how data can be stored resulting in poor data visibility. Moving to cloud facilitates using distributed cloud storage services for different types of data, entitling organizations to act in accordance with security directives while data storage and back ups.
  • Data Breach: Security compliance regulations on cloud need to be set in place to evade data security vulnerabilities and risks in real time. Adopting microservices on cloud, which is breaking down the applications into smaller components, each of which are categorized to its own dedicated resource is a must. This process improves data security among other features, as it generates additional layers of isolation with the breakdown approach, making it tougher for invaders to hack the infrastructure. 
  • Data Protection Authority: Moving to the cloud enables enterprises to offload their responsibility of securing their physical infrastructure on to the cloud service provider. However, it is still compelling for organizations to oblige to privacy and security of data that is under their control and verify appropriate data protection measures internally.
  •  Network Visibility: Managing firewall policies where traffic flows are typically complex are a challenge. Visibility of the network becomes tricky. Many organizations are using the multi-cloud approach to support their infrastructure in order to curb network issues.
  • Network management: Automation is the key to management of network firewalls that have countless security policies across multiple devices, which is otherwise difficult to manage as well as time-consuming. Also, appropriate network security configurations are a prerequisite but with compliance management mostly left to cloud providers, the regulations and implementation process often end up haywire. 
  • Data Privacy and Storage: Keeping track of personal data by mapping the flow of data on cloud is a must. The right to access, modify and delete data can be strengthened via implementation of privacy laws. The cloud can further simplify matters by offering low-cost storage solutions for backup and archiving.
  • Data Inventory Management: Data is stored in unstructured formats on both on-premises and cloud, mainly to be used for business forecasting, social media analytics and fraud prevention. This would require data inventory management solutions to ensure speedy and efficient responses to requests that need to be compliant with regulatory laws.

How can organizations ascertain security and compliance standards are met with while moving to cloud?

According to a recent Sophos report of The State of Cloud Security 2020, 70% of companies that host data or workloads in the cloud have experienced a breach of their public cloud environment and the most common attack types were malware (34%), followed by exposed data (29%), ransomware (28%), account compromises (25%), and cryptojacking (17%).

The biggest areas of concern are data loss, detection and response and multi-cloud management. Organizations that use two or more public cloud providers experienced the most security incidents. India was the worst affected country with 93% of organizations experiencing a cloud security breach. 

It is of utmost importance for cloud service providers (CSP) to ensure that security and compliance standards are met with while moving data on to cloud and to do so, some of the following measures can be administered:

  • Determine appropriate cloud platforms: Organizations must evaluate initial cloud risks to determine suitable cloud platforms. It is also essential to realize which set of data and applications can be moved to cloud. For example: Sensitive data or critical applications may still remain on premise or use the private cloud whereas non-critical applications may be hosted on public or hybrid models. Relevant security control frameworks, irrespective of whether data and applications are hosted on private, public, multi-cloud or hybrid platforms need to be established. Continuous compliance monitoring via these security measures, prioritization and remediation of compliance risks, if any and generation of periodic compliance reports help in developing a consolidated picture of all cloud accounts. 
  • Undertake a security-first approach: Leveraging real-time tracking tools and automated security policies, processes and controls holistically across internal and external environments from the very beginning, help in keeping complete and continuous visibility on cloud compliance. 

Monitoring and managing security breach and threats via compliance checklists for all the services that include infrastructure, networks, applications, servers, data, storage, OS and virtualization establishes pertinent data protection measures, reduces costs and simplifies cloud operations.

  • Implementing change management: AI and tailored workflows facilitate identifying, remediating and integrating security policy changes that can be processed in no time. 

Automation streamlines and helps tighten the entire security policy change management through auditing. 

  • Building resources: It is important to collaborate IT Security and DevOps, commonly known as SecOps, to effectively mitigate risks across the software development life cycle. Through SecOps, business teams can prioritize and amend critical vulnerabilities as well as address compliance violations via an integrated approach across all work segments. It enables a faster and risk-free deployment into production. 
  • Invest in tools: Advanced automated tools comprise of built-in templates that certify and maintain security management standards. Compliance tools based on AI technology, acts as a framework towards protecting privacy of all stakeholders, meets data security needs, provides frequent reports on stored cloud data and detects possible violations beforehand. Thus, investing in tools enhances visibility, data encryption and control over cloud deployments. 
  • Ensuring efficient incident response: Due to seamless integration with the leading cloud solutions, compliance tools are able to map security incidents to actual business processes that can potentially be impacted. Organizations can instantly evaluate the scale of the risk and prioritize remediation efforts consequently leading to efficient incident response management. For instance, in case of a cyber attack, the compliance tool enables isolation of those servers that have been compromised ensuring business continuity.
  • Administer cloud governance: Cloud security governance is an effective regulatory model designed to define and address security standards, policies and processes. The governance tool provides consolidated synopsis of all security issues, which are monitored, tracked and compiled in the form of dashboards. They also facilitate configuration of customized audits and policies, generation of periodic summarization of compliance checks and one-click remediation capabilities with a fully traceable remediation history of all the fixed issues. It also generates pre-populated, audit-ready reports that provides information before an audit is actually conducted. 

LTI Powerup’s CloudEnsure is a prominent instance of an autonomous multi-cloud governance platform that has been successfully offering audit, compliance, remediation and governance services in order to construct and maintain a well architected and healthy cloud environment for their customers.

  • Conducting audits: It is recommended to have compliance checks both manual and automated, against all the major industry regulations like PCI DSS, HIPAA and SOX, including customized corporate policies in order to keep a constant check on all security policy changes and compliance violations. A cloud health score reveals how compliant all the operations are.

Audits furnish reports on cloud security and cloud compliance summary, security compliance by policy that tracks real-time risks and vulnerabilities against set policies, detailed automated metrics on the health of your multi-cloud infrastructure which displays critical risks along with an overall security compliance summary to name a few.

  • Drive digital transformation: Security tools that can accelerate application delivery; prioritize security policy change management while enhancing and extending security across all data, applications, platforms and processes regardless of location must be embraced to accelerate digitization of business processes.

Conclusion

Compliance is a shared responsibility between cloud service providers and organizations availing their services. 

Today, a majority of cloud service providers have begun to recognize the importance of giving precedence to security and compliance services with the aim to continually improve their offerings. 

Therefore, organizations are endlessly striving to reassess and redeploy their security strategies by trying to revive and control their cloud undertakings especially post pandemic. 

No matter what type of cloud is chosen, the migrated data must meet all of the compliance regulations and guidelines.