It’s not at all uncommon for a state or local government’s cloud environment to fall into chaos. In fact, in some ways, cloud sprawl is the inevitable — or, at least, likely — result of an IT model that doesn’t require departments or agencies to invest in physical infrastructure to scale resources.
While some governments, like Arizona or Texas, have enacted a top-down approach to cloud, it’s understandable that many government agencies adopted cloud services as they became available, rather than as part of a preplanned strategy. And it’s also understandable that inefficient manual management processes have persisted as cloud environments have grown, because that’s how most governments have always done things, and many stakeholders weren’t aware of a better way.
Now that cloud environments have begun to mature, however, the failure to rein in sprawl and institute effective management practices represents an enormous missed opportunity. While it can be difficult to step away from the day-to-day challenges that inevitably pop up in IT, it is essential for government IT teams to take the time to map out a comprehensive cloud strategy, explore tools that will ease management burdens and implement effective policies and practices. By investing time — and, perhaps, money — now, governments can limit problems and see benefits far into the future.
In particular, effective cloud management can help organizations achieve the following:
1. Unify Your Government's View of Cloud Cost and Use
When a cloud environment is properly managed, IT and government leaders have a comprehensive view of IT assets, including cloud services and software. This, in turn, helps agencies and departments use these tools more effectively and efficiently.
In a well-managed environment, IT staff can accurately track spending and historical trends, and can also attribute resource costs to specific departments, projects or applications, which aids with budgeting and enhances overall use. This sort of visibility dramatically improves the position of IT leaders during conversations about resource allocation.
In a sprawling cloud environment, it is difficult for IT leaders to argue with any real credibility that cloud resources are achieving a tangible return on investment, because the department lacks information about both cost and use — two of the main factors needed to demonstrate the true value of the cloud. But in a well-managed environment, IT teams can make a detailed case about how specific cloud tools are helping to eliminate inefficiencies or increase revenue.
2. Minimize Risk by Reining in Cloud Sprawl
Any action taken to reduce the risk of a data leak or other successful cyberattack has the potential to save an enormous sum of money.
In its 2017 “Cost of Data Breach Study,” the Ponemon Institute found that the global average cost of a data breach now sits at $3.6 million. The average cost for each lost or stolen record containing sensitive and confidential information, meanwhile, is $141.
Effective cloud management practices bolster security and reduce the number of vulnerabilities that could be exposed to malicious outsiders. Reining in cloud sprawl also ensures that configurations meet enterprise standards, that data is properly secured and that operational continuity is maintained.
3. Cut Costs with Better Cloud Management
Various estimates peg the portion of cloud spending wasted through inefficiency at 35 percent or higher. This waste represents a huge opportunity to cut costs without having a negative impact.
In a government that wastes 35 percent of an annual $1 million in cloud spending through inefficiency, merely cutting that waste in half through improved management practices could net nearly $200,000 in savings each year.
Effective cloud management helps state and local governments get rid of unneeded cloud expenses and optimize cloud resources, resulting in better results for less money.
Looking to tap these advantages by cutting back on cloud sprawl? Check out our white paper on keeping the cloud in check.