How to Identify (and Stop) Cloud Sprawl

It’s no secret in this day and age: Multicloud strategies are becoming the new normal for organizations that utilize public cloud services. In fact, at least 85% of enterprises that have undergone a digital and IT transformation now operate in a multicloud environment — and that number is expected to continue growing.

But while working with multiple cloud providers has several benefits (increased flexibility, protection against vendor lock-in, and allowance for a more tailored approach to your business, among others), it’s not a risk-free strategy. Enter: Cloud sprawl.

Cloud sprawl occurs when an organization fails to properly monitor and manage individual cloud instances. This can result in several issues ranging from poor documentation, insecure and non-compliant environments, lack of expertise or oversight, and unnecessary and costly spending. And for many businesses, going over budget and controlling spend is a critical challenge in the cloud.

What Does Cloud Sprawl Look Like?

Cloud sprawl may look different depending on your organization, as it can appear in a number of ways. Three common signs of cloud sprawl include:

  • Poor Communication: When various departments throughout a business begin using several different clouds without proper intra-business communication. This lack of visibility can lead to cloud instances that don’t properly work together due to incompatibility issues or inconsistent data across an organization.
  • Rogue or Redundant Services: Similarly, if different individuals are able to procure different services without proper documentation, governance, and planning, companies may find that they’ve created cloud-based environments comprised of rogue or redundant services. An example would be if a company primarily used Microsoft Azure to host production web applications, but the marketing team hired a third-party developer who developed a web-based campaign hosted on AWS. This can lead to paying for unused accounts, or unknowingly paying for the same services in different departments, or several other administrative, compliance, and security headaches.
  • Over Use: When businesses don’t properly monitor their use of public cloud computing resources. Forgotten workloads left open overnight (or longer) can become costly and prevent proper budget planning and management. As has been said, the cloud can scale faster than your budget.

How Can a Business Manage Cloud Sprawl?

The first step to managing cloud sprawl is identifying that it’s happening. By performing regular company-wide audits of your cloud environment, you may recognize early-warning patterns that display the creeping of cloud sprawl into your business.

Create a Centralized Cloud Strategy and Record

To prevent the proliferation of cloud use and spending across departments, businesses must build a company-wide cloud strategy that includes all stakeholders. The cloud strategy should include policies on using and managing the cloud, migrations, and user controls and access.  Automation of the right tools is recommended as part of a holistic strategy to containing potential sprawl. Services such as AWS Control Tower, which was launched last year, can allow administrators to set up proper guardrails. Azure Governance provides tools and services to set up and maintain control with custom policies using Azure Blueprints, Azure Cost Management for monitoring cloud subscriptions and much more.

Any and all cloud usage or costs should be recorded in a centralized location to prevent silos between departments. This will allow everyone to understand how their use of cloud technology fits into the larger picture of the organization and will make clear if duplicate resources are being unnecessarily paid for multiple times by different aspects of the business.

Partner With a Managed Cloud Services Provider

Constantly monitoring and managing the cloud throughout a business can be a time-consuming and expensive ongoing process. While cloud sprawl can lead to out-of-control spending, the effort required to rein it in may feel even more cumbersome. By working with a cloud management provider, your business can enlist the help of third-party experts to receive insights, tooling, recommendations, and support on how to effectively and affordably deploy a multicloud strategy

Your Cloud Environment Isn’t Doomed to Sprawl

The good news is cloud sprawl is not an inevitable side effect of implementing a multicloud strategy. With proper planning and strategic cloud adoption and migration practices, it can be avoided from the start. Starting with implementing the right guard rails and following that up with regular audits and diligent monitoring with the proper tooling is foundational. And continuing with widespread communication and an overarching cloud strategy within an organization are critical components needed to ensure cloud success. Working with a managed cloud services provider is a further asset in helping your business tackle sprawl and reap the full benefits of a multicloud environment, without burning holes in your budget.

Ready to learn more about how Centrilogic can help your business make the most of multicloud? Call or message us today.