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How to Make Your Cloud Computing Governance Strategy Work

Effective cloud management can be accomplished partly through people and processes, and partly through technology. It’s really a three-part solution. Your organization needs a governance body to deal with cloud issues (this can be your existing governance board, if you like) and processes to work with the business around these issues.

This board should have oversight and collaborate with the business (it should include business members as well) around cloud issues that directly impact your organization. It can also develop best practices for managing cloud environments.

The cloud needs governance bodies that deal with standardization of services and other shared infrastructure issues. Your organization needs some sort of interface to this group. Your level of involvement depends on your level of involvement in the cloud. Your organization needs technology that helps you automatically monitor what happens in the cloud.

Establishing your cloud computing governance body

You need your own group of people who understand your business to deal with the business of the cloud. This governance board might consist of representatives of corporate, departmental, and IT management to help encourage communication — the kind necessary to link IT management and the business. This board may also create other groups responsible for different aspects of governance. For example, it might create a group that needs to understand cloud standards, or it may leverage an IT security group.

Of course, an important part of this governance structure will be a group of individuals who actually deal with the cloud providers to negotiate terms and conditions and to be the point group(s) for managing the cloud provider(s).

This governing body should be ongoing, with authority across the enterprise and with a mechanism for communicating business objectives and changes to IT management. Ideally, it will have executive-level endorsement to make its job easier.

Monitoring and measuring IT service performance in a cloud computing environment

In addition to interacting with your cloud provider(s), you must also monitor what these cloud providers are doing. Depending on the situation, this may mean investing in technology that sees into cloud operations.

Many companies use a dashboard, which is an interface that holds the different services and shows how your performance measures up to your goals. This dashboard also needs to include information from the cloud. Quite a few emerging vendors provide tools that enable companies to monitor their cloud providers.

Cataloging control and compliance data in cloud computing

Many organizations use a service catalog as a record of IT services. This should be extended to the cloud. The catalog can include information such as

  • Whom to contact about a service

  • Who has authority to change the service

  • Which critical applications are related to the service

  • Outages or other incidents related to the service

  • Information about the relationships among services

  • Documentation of all agreements between IT and the customer/service user.

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