Embarking on cloud journey brings its own challenges in managing the cloud, most organizations require a different environment depending on the business needs for better visibility, maintenance compliance and knowing the cost of operations.
Cloud is the backbone and foundation of digital transformation in its many forms. Cloud is essential for business to deliver great end user experience and put companies on fast track, cloud native digital transformation allows higher flexibility as businesses undertake the process.
Embarking on cloud journey brings its own challenges in managing the cloud, most organization require a different environment depending on the business needs, this brings complexity in not only setting up the cloud workloads but also management of the workloads and services.
As the enterprise manages the complex multi account environment, there is a need for framework that can help in large cloud adoption in an efficient and streamlined manner, this concept cloud vendors call it as landing zone that has pre-configured environment with a standard set. of secured cloud infrastructure, policies, best practices, guidelines and centrally managed services.
Cloud Landing Zone identifies critical actions and goals that consistently improve enterprise cloud journeys. The purpose of a landing zone in the Cloud is to have guardrails in place that allow you to onboard different teams and applications and share them across multiple accounts so that the workloads are secured and isolated and where security controls are managed centrally.
Let’s see what are the challenges of not having framework in the enterprises
- Unified security policy is not applied across workloads leading to compliance issues and security risk.
- Resource tagging if not done properly, billing and monitoring will be challenging and cost distribution will have an impact.
- Data security breach without clear protection policy.
- Lack of control over the development and production environment that requires different policies for workload protection.
What benefits landing zones will provide for the enterprise.
- Enterprise enrollment and multi-tenants
Cloud adoption needs to subscribe to one of the models of the cloud providers and follow up with tracking subscription management which is a multi-faceted operation that needs to be handled efficiently and accurately producing long-term benefits to enterprises in terms of cost management and efficient use of cloud , inefficiencies will have skyrocketed opex costs that doubt if cloud is really cost effective. The organization can have distributed enrollment for different environments with clearly defined mandatory corporate policy that is centrally applied to all tenants, this ensures that there are no breaches and critical data in the cloud is protected, business will need multiple tenants to simulate customer environment for development And testing this. Can be isolated with different policy requirements. Cloud provides great flexibility to meet such business requirements.
- Centralize identity access management.
Centralize IAM for enterprises is a cost-effective solution for verifying user identity and allowing them access to only the resources they need, this integrated with multi-factor authentication provides additional protection, IAM provides segregated roles and responsibilities depending on the workload and resources. Being protected based on policy defined by centralized protection policy, IAM allows to have seamless access to different applications SaaS, modern app hosted on cloud providers, it can also consolidate identity of multiple IAM to provide access modern applications from centralized user identity.
- Management groups and multi account organization
Cloud providers allow access to resources through a structure called management groups which is a simple but powerful way to manage access in a cloud environment, they also use blueprints to automatically create different instances and policy is applied based on company compliance and operations needs. When the organization is large, there is a need to have multiple accounts created for business and IT services.
This is critical to ensure that the production data used by employee engagement is segregated from the use of business units for data protection, compliance and accessibility. Defined framework can have standard policy for multiple accounts based on the roles and responsibilities.
- Network topology and connectivity
Applications are vital to modern business operations and the network plays a fundamentally important connectivity role to and across application portfolios housed in hybrid environments. An agile programmable intelligent infrastructure including platforms and networks enables the rapid deployment of applications and the performance needed for frictionless digital experiences. This helps you maximize price, scale, speed and productivity performance criteria across multiple clouds.
Business demands continuous access to applications, the network build which was limited to corporate network has not passed beyond the boundaries, this requires re-architecting connectivity solutions like fast connections, sdwan, virtual WAN, cross connects to meet the business demands.
- Centralized management and monitoring
While companies are moving to cloud and modernizing applications to meet customer demands, it is also critical to monitor cloud workloads efficiently, its non-negotiable necessity, better visibility and control over key metrics, logs and flows. This is especially important because public clouds are more likely to produce surprise costs due to poor visibility. Monitoring improves security posture and maintaining ideal application performance.
- Unified business continuity and disaster planning
Business continuity is the ability of enterprises to remain online and provide services during disruptive events, such as natural disasters, cyberattacks and telecommunications failures. It is important to identify the business disruption like threat analysis, cyber attack, natural disaster, configuration errors.
Clearly defined process how to switch to BCP / DR when it occurs, the plan should have a checklist on critical actions to perform, and simulation once in six months as part of the process, it also ensure that during outage the system will come back Fully accessible to customer, simulation identify the gaps in the process applications and configuration changes required in patch cycle, it is important to keep production and BCP/DR synchronized at all times.
- Security, Governance and Compliance
Cloud is open to public access for resources deployed for application access, this poses cyberattack and increased threat landscape, attackers can use this way to compromise the network and carry out destruction and data theft that can have server impact on company reputation and financial impact.
Governance, risk and compliance enable the organization to establish cyber security maturity across the organization, the practice identifies gap analysis, compliance status of workloads on the cloud, cyber security preparedness, security practices and control room for centralized security view, the challenging for Larger organization Due to the complexity of the business, GRC is collective responsibility of each team that have business connect, the top priority for team to maintain the required security and compliance level for continued business.
- Platform Automation and DevOps
Automation has a critical role to play in the modern-day enterprise, its key technology trend to adapt for delivering value to customers, businesses have to adapt quickly in a constantly changing landscape. They need to perform network or application configurations and augment their systems as and when required.
Resources should scale up or down to meet demand or respond to failure, such rapid pace of change can only be done by specialized automation platform Devops plays a critical role in streamlining the automation process, there are cloud native automation or specialized automation tools available that can Assist in delivering such services. Cloud Orchestration helps to integrate, manage and deploy network devices, virtual machines and routers in an efficient and timely manner.
As enterprises adopt cloud technology depending on business demands and complexity, they can use the multi-account environment to help them plan their cloud infrastructure. There is a need for a framework that will address infrastructure, compliance, governance and security requirements while allowing organizations to scale and change their environments in response to changing business demands. Cloud is not a complex environment, but the perspective is to change how the environment can be simplified for use and ensure that the cost of operations is effective for business.
Cloud is managed by a single account, eg development, test, staging and production. The problem of managing multiple environments in a single account is a cause for concern if security is not managed properly. Another disadvantage is the lack of scalability, flexibility to onboard new teams and applications, and the lack of central control and monitoring.
A Landing Zone allows you to quickly set up a cloud environment using automation including best practice configurations for security so you can focus on your core business.
The author is Director – IT at Capgemini India.
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