Gavin Garbutt, Chairman and Co-Founder Ogment. Former CEO and co-founder of N-able.
Adding them is easy for modern enterprise cloud applications. Having complete control over them is another matter.
As businesses move to cloud computing, the applications and services deployed in the space quickly become virtual but invaluable assets. However, for many organizations, the willingness to adopt cloud IT may have outstripped the ability to manage it.
The dramatic increase in cloud adoption requires skilled technicians and advanced tools to keep everything running smoothly. Even then, managing multiple cloud applications across platforms can quickly become a headache.
IT can easily be at risk if not managed well.
Outsourcing cloud IT management may seem like a risk, but in reality, it’s no greater risk than all other types of IT outsourcing popular today. Modern organizations are better off trusting the expertise here and proactively addressing challenges, such as unauthorized “shadow IT” that can arise when a cloud application is added by users looking to solve problems immediately.
Effectiveness for cloud applications and software-as-a-service (SaaS) due to variables such as application proliferation, unauthorized “shadow IT”, widespread use of multiple cloud vendors, and data sharing between public cloud and on-premises applications Oversight is an ever-evolving challenge that may only become more complex.
Additionally, management, governance, and security responsibilities for cloud applications and infrastructure are difficult to determine, as some elements are managed by vendors and others by end users. This makes overall monitoring more demanding.
In this situation, few organizations get the in-depth IT monitoring they want and have to worry about new cloud management tools versus the management tools they use for on-premises workloads.
In conclusion, it is clear that if IT asset management (ITAM) includes optimizing hardware and software assets, then this important monitoring practice must also have a dedicated department to cover the management of cloud applications and SaaS.
In fact, cloud applications themselves are arguably one of the most critical assets in a modern IT environment, as the widespread adoption of cloud assets makes it theoretically possible to eliminate the need to buy servers or own any software licenses.
Effective management of cloud IT assets can change this.
First, the vast majority of internal IT teams have access to the Microsoft 365 management portal and all key enterprise software assets. They can also deploy monitoring software on all corporate devices through policies.
You see, monitoring is a crucial first step.
Organizations and their technical advisors need advanced tools, such as the ability to quickly identify every SaaS application in use, regardless of where users work, what device they use or how the application is run. Diagnostic tools can come in handy to assess applications and classify their security risks and how they can boost organizational productivity. In this way, you can weed out bad apps and empower good ones.
From there, day-to-day management of cloud applications can become more focused and meaningful. With the right engagement tools, IT teams can quickly realize huge benefits to simplify provisioning, accelerate onboarding and offboarding, and improve security.
Of course, top management is of little use if cloud IT assets remain open to a surge in cybercriminal incidents primarily targeting SaaS applications and the valuable data they contain.
Because multi-factor authentication (MFA) is now a must-have measure against hackers, an organization’s cloud asset strategy should include robust security features such as MFA configuration and alerts to protect and monitor user access across cloud environments.
State-of-the-art tools also include the ability to create compelling cloud asset threat reports that assess and flag real threats occurring in real-time. In general, oversight capabilities must be able to improve the security posture, identify blind spots, and reduce the risk of future threats in key vulnerable areas such as MFA and policy registries.
It’s a tall order, but the future will need it.
The best approach is to avoid over-chewing and deploy a phased implementation. For example, with something like MFA, users can initially have a hard time logging in, and support tickets are frequently logged. This is why a staged rollout is so much less disruptive than converting each user at once.
Cloud applications are the future, but the future should not be rushed.
Any organization aiming to keep pace with modern innovation needs to take controlling, tracking and integrating cloud IT applications and data seriously. A more granular, measurable and transparent approach to cloud asset management will enable the entire organization to become more innovative and create value more effectively.