Cloud Governance: Achieving Harmony Between Man and Machine in 3 Easy Steps

You may not immediately recognize the term “cloud governance,” but if you’re working in the cloud, you’re probably already implementing it. You might be a startup that needs to prevent users from creating admin accounts, or a big organization staying compliant with standards such as HIPAA or NIST. Maybe you limit cloud use to avoid cloud bills with a scary number of zeros. Whatever your use case, working in the cloud requires some degree of governance around user access, budgets, and compliance. And if you’re trying to avoid the time sink of manual cloud governance, or you want to tackle issues before they happen, you might want to consider using a machine.

Okay, “machine” might be a stretch when used to describe an automated cloud governance solution. But regardless of what you call it, it might make your team nervous. Workers may be concerned about changes in their workflow or their tasking. Some may be worried that automation will make their job obsolete. Others may not know where to start on this shift. And even management, who may embrace the automation, may not be prepared to take a step back and let the automated enforcements work their magic.

Automated cloud governance doesn’t replace workers, it empowers them, and it allows them to focus their attention on things that matter more. But the culture shift in adopting automation is significant, and getting your team on board with the change can make or break your success. In this article, I’ll share three steps you can take to help your team make a seamless transition to automated cloud governance.

Step 1: Develop a Plan

I usually tell organizations to start with a detailed plan for the change in your legacy workflows, including documenting the current process. This ensures that your team knows what to expect and can visualize the pieces of the workflows that are ripe for change.

Once you know which steps you want to tackle with automation, let your team know what aspects of cloud governance still require their input, both initially and on an ongoing basis. Reviewing these tasks will help your team envision their role in the new workflow. Here are just a few of the tasks that will still require manual input:

  • Initial Setup: If you choose software that lets you set up enforcements and guiding policies in the cloud, you’ll need an outline for what enforcements and policies will be in place, and someone to do the initial setup for these.
  • Occasional Ongoing Tasks: Users will be empowered to do more processes themselves, like self-service account provisioning. While this task once fell to managers to ensure that only the appropriate account permissions were granted, your software will set those boundaries automatically. So users will be more empowered to do things themselves.
  • Day-To-Day Tasks: If you choose a solution with a dashboard that automatically reports on compliance violations, you’ll need someone, or some automation, to monitor the dashboard and address any findings that arise.

Step 2: Show the Team How the Tool Helps

There are more advantages to automating governance than I can name in one short article, but to sum it up: with the right automated cloud governance solution, your users get access to the tools they need lightning fast, while your security, identity, and finance teams can rest easy. This reduces stress and frees up time to do more important tasks.

Since many organizations work across multiple cloud environments, they often end up with multiple reporting/compliance/budgeting tools. An all-in-one governance solution can help with all of that. Some of these software solutions provide a single pane of glass to interact with all your organization’s accounts, making it super simple for users.

And as I mentioned above, account provisioning will now be quick and painless. Your users will never again submit a request and wait days or weeks for a response, only to have a manager tell them they’re denying the request. This saves time and aggravation across your team.

Finally, solutions with built-in features to ensure compliance could save your team hundreds of hours that would be spent tracking compliance manually. A single security standard can include 100+ policies, and each policy can apply to multiple resources. Get your team focused on how much they could achieve with a few hundred extra hours, and they’ll understand why they should embrace automation.

Step 3: Get Out of Your Team’s Way

The final step in achieving harmony happens on management’s side. You’ll need to let go of any productivity chokepoints and trust your automated solution to get the most out of it.

When a user attempts an action with automated governance in place, the software will enforce security and compliance rules for your agency, department, and/or program. If those rules prevent the action, the system denies the change instantly. These actions are also logged within the cloud provider, so your team retains that visibility.

Once your solution is set up, you can get out of your team’s way and let the tool do the enforcement for you.

After all, your team looks to management for direction. Show them that they can trust the machine, and you’ll lead the way in truly achieving harmony with governance automation.

Author's Bio

Randy Shore

Randy Shore

VP Delivery & Support,