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What Goes Into Cloud Computing Governance Decisions?

Cloud governance is a shared responsibility between the user of cloud computing services and the cloud provider. Understanding the boundaries of responsibilities and defining an appropriate governance strategy within your organization require careful balance.

You must consider many factors, ranging from the performance levels of the IT environment’s components to the key performance indicators (KPIs), which measure the effectiveness of a business process — of your business. Your governance strategy needs to reflect the mix of IT services provided by your internal data center, as well as private and public clouds.

Cloud governance requires governing your own infrastructure as well as infrastructure that you don’t totally control. For example, your organizations must monitor performance across all components in a way that reflects the overall impact of all IT performance on the business. You may not have as much insight into the cloud environment, which could create challenges when you need to satisfy governance requirements.

Here are two examples of how governance may become more complicated when you add cloud services into your IT environment.

Imagining a cloud computing governance scenario

Say that you move some of your processing to the cloud and expect to get the same uptime that you had in your data center. You rely on your cloud provider for the availability of virtualized servers. Chances are, however, that you don’t have a good view into that environment.

What do you need to be concerned about from a governance perspective?

  • Can you enforce this same availability policy with your cloud provider?

  • Will your cloud provider have tools that allow you to monitor whether service targets are being met?

  • Your cloud provider may be meeting predefined service levels, but will the provider communicate this information to you?

Imagining another cloud computing governance scenario

You’re developing a new application on a cloud provider’s platform. You expect a certain set of services to be available; in fact, you’re planning your development around it.

What are some of the potential issues in this scenario?

  • Does your cloud provider have a service registry or catalog that enables you to have good visibility into the management and availability of services?

  • Will the services you want be available in the service catalog when you need them?

  • Does your cloud provider have a policy for enforcing the service you want to be maintained and available in the service catalog?

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