Curb on-demand self-service risks with cloud inventory management

But because of cloud’s on-demand self-service model, it’s common for other parts of the business to spin up new services and leave IT in the dark. This potentially increases cloud costs and risks. An internal cloud audit can help IT teams identify the rogue cloud services that run within their organization and regain control.

Multicloud management — or lack thereof — is a big problem, according to Lauren Nelson, an analyst at Forrester Research in Cambridge, Mass. Most of the bloat is actually on the SaaS side.

“Often, users start with a free version and then end up paying for it, and it starts to grow,” Nelson said. At one manufacturing firm, IT eventually tracked down 500 cloud instances, though only 10 were infrastructure as a service, she continued. Still, there was plenty of resource redundancy within those 10 instances.

Get started with cloud inventory management

There are two basic approaches to minimize on-demand self-service risks and regain control over cloud deployments, Nelson said. The first option is to implement a range of tools that can help spot cloud assets.

There are third-party tools, such as CloudCheckr Cloud Management Platform and Lucidchart diagramming software, that provide visibility into cloud infrastructure and help reduce costs. Sumo Logic provides log and metrics management for Amazon Web Services (AWS), Azure and hybrid environments. A SaaS tool called ParkMyCloud connects to AWS, Azure and Google and helps users automatically schedule on and off times for cloud resources.

“When we have to go in and evaluate an existing infrastructure across AWS, Azure and Google, what we find is usually inconsistent [with] what the client tells us is out there,” said Travis Rehl, director of application and engineering at Siteworx Services, a Reston, Va. consulting and managed services company, and a frequent user of tools like these in his work with clients.

Many companies are often surprised by their cloud costs because of the number of…

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