In the age of digital innovation and work-from-anywhere, every company has a lengthening list of cloud services and applications compounding complexity for their IT team. Consider today’s trends that make cloud resources more prolific — sometimes without any regard for cost or risk to the company:

The advantages of cloud scalability and management off-loading have more companies leaning into cloud Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) with most managing multiple clouds. TechRepublic reports 82% of IT leaders are adopting the hybrid cloud, half of which are deploying 2-3 public clouds.Security over the past 10 years has been about adding point Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions in a whack-a-mole response to new cybersecurity threats. Not to mention Zero Trust strategies calling for more technologies in the name of identity-based security with multi-layered protections.The pandemic triggered accelerated SaaS adoption, particularly in the areas of collaboration and unified communications, so companies could simply survive in the rush to remote work.

With digital innovation run amok over the past few years, many IT leaders are finding themselves in a governance phase according to the State of the CIO Study. That means executives are trying to understand what cloud resources they have, how to manage them efficiently and cost-effectively, and — better still — how to secure them. There is a strong need for cloud governance.

But herein lies the core problem.

Cloud governance distracts executives from leveraging the cloud for what it is – an innovation incubator. “CIOs need to shift their focus from the micro to the macro. That is, they need to spend less time managing every cloud application and service operated by IT, so they can drive strategic innovation,” said Johnna Till Johnson, CEO, Nemertes.

Cloud technologies that reduce cloud complexity

IT environments have been expanding at such a rapid pace that IT resources have scarcely kept up. This has knocked the IT team sharply out of balance with the cloud assets for which it is held responsible. Like staring at the vast horizons of the Grand Canyon, IT teams often feel overcome by the endlessness of their management duties.

In response, most IT leaders are quick to hire more staff to help level the balances; however, that response is only half of the solution equation. Simultaneously, leaders must take back control of their clouds by – you guessed it – using more cloud technology. That’s right, your IT environment has become so complex, you need another cloud technology to manage all your cloud technologies.  In fact, a recent study finds that budgets allocated specifically to cloud resources are expected to increase by 12% over the next two years.

But before you shake your frustrated fist in the air, the beauty of adding a cloud expense management (CEM) platform is the tangible and immediate cost savings that can make for an easy approval conversation.

Reality hits at CEM implementation. While the AI-powered software typically takes a matter of hours to come back with insightful recommendations, finding the right people with the permissions and authority to connect the CEM software to your cloud data — that is typically the hardest part. But ask companies already using CEM alongside similar mobile device management and telecom management platforms, and they will tell you CEM investments deliver even more cost savings in comparison.

So, what does a CEM platform do and where does that value come from?   

Controlling cloud resources, costs, and security too

Some of the most used features of a CEM platform are inventory visibility, usage data, and expense tracking, which together help companies eliminate cloud overspending. On average, the anticipated use is not equivalent to actual use, which generates hard dollar savings whether it’s unused application licenses or excess data center storage. CEM technologies are good at answering questions like:

How much can I save by pausing my cloud services or consolidating my applications?Which department or cost center is using the most cloud resources?How is data functioning and flowing across our company infrastructure?How can I get a report of vendors and contractors accessing our company information?How many of my app licenses really need to be upgraded?

Moreover, CEM provides a data-driven strategy showing where to start with any optimization efforts. Solutions are also known for having the latest pricing information with databases updated daily – if not more frequently.

In addition to savings, these insights are key for security. After all, you can’t secure what you can’t see. The list of SaaS applications are stack-ranked by both usage and security risk, supporting shadow IT discovery and cloud security initiatives. Other key features include:

Comprehensive cloud services addressing both IaaS and SaaS, including UCaaSThe ability to evaluate and optimize both public and private cloud infrastructure servicesThe number of customizable reports and flexible processes for building workflowsProfessional services in addition to basic services 

Beyond data readouts, clients and their IT teams may still need help, and solutions vary in their abilities to make data actionable. From bill pay and employee on- and offboarding to contract renewals and integrations after mergers and acquisitions, clients will want to think about what management tasks they intend to outsource versus keep and ask questions accordingly.

Empowering CIOs and CTOs to innovate again

IT budgets have been hit hard by cloud costs, and resource management has only become more complicated. Financial officers and technology leaders bear the burden of finding more efficient ways to reign in and right-size their expanding assets. When they rebalance innovation with operational excellence, not only do they make IT budgets more recession-ready, but they also let their partners calm the chaos. That lets them get back to using cloud technology for what it was intended for – digital transformation. Investing in cloud cost optimization is the first step in clearing the haze off the corporate cloud landscape, so leaders can get back to the sunnier days of innovation.

To learn more about cloud cost optimization, visit us here.

Cloud Management, Cloud Security

One of the main causes of security operations (SecOps) pain is the sheer number of disparate protection tools now in use across the enterprise, leading to an ever higher volume of alerts, operational inefficiencies, and increased cost. There’s no denying the cybersecurity threat landscape has become extremely dynamic and complex — encompassing data, applications, APIs, and containers as well as multi-cloud, on-premises, and hybrid environments, just to name a few. Each of these environments requires security tooling to address potential vulnerabilities and respond to threats and incidents. However, increased tool adoption and use come with a downside.

Redundancy, wasteful spending, and system complexity. That’s IT tool sprawl. And it’s the root of countless, needless tools purchased for IT purposes. Tools which are typically misused or statically ingrained within legacy systems. This trend is severely exhausting organizational resources, including unnecessary spending and inefficient, vulnerable, and siloed data. Tool sprawl is also a main culprit of fractured IT teams. Not only does this division create risky security gaps, it also fails to satisfy the requirements of end-users. And this issue doesn’t just affect Fortune 100 companies. From SMB to large enterprise, no business is exempt. Gartner’s 2023 CIO Agenda Report lists tool sprawl as one of the top ten monitoring challenges for CIOs.

Companies often don’t realize they have a tool sprawl problem until it becomes exorbitantly expensive or creates security issues. Unfortunately, security issues often go unnoticed until the effects of a breach are felt. Disparate, siloed data protection tools only compound the issue with an unmanageable volume of alerts, false positives, and security gaps, adding significant time, money, and resource costs to the equation. 

SecOps teams require specific tools to build, manage, and monitor their systems. But when more tools are added without proper planning and integrations, they can cause more harm than good. Accenture Security estimates many of their clients average 60 – 80 tools in their security architecture, with some companies as high as 140, which is an overwhelming amount of sprawl. It takes time for security teams to become familiarized with each tool, provision and configure, and then make actionable use of its telemetry.

Complicating this effort is the cybersecurity talent shortfall, the rapidly changing vendor ecosystem IT and security leaders are facing, and the challenges associated with the evolving threat landscape. In addition, many standalone tools don’t work well with others, often requiring their own unique implementation, dashboards, and outputs. Despite the complexity in the tooling ecosystem, there is an opportunity for simplification for security teams. Removing steps, complexity, and burden adds tremendous value to those involved in the cybersecurity process.

In the Gartner Hype Cycle for Data Security, 2022, Privacera is recognized as a representative vendor in a new solution category: Data Security Platform (DSP). DSPs address tool sprawl by aggregating individually-mature technologies into a unified solution. Traditionally, data security has been delivered by disparate products, resulting in operational inefficiencies and an inability to support, for example, data risk assessments, open data, commercial data, and internal innovations and collaborations involving data. DSPs provide consolidated security and protection capabilities for data by aggregating formerly siloed capabilities under a common policy instrument, significantly streamlining data security. Especially in cloud-based data stores, a DSP reduces integration costs, manual work, and friction by connecting previously disparate data security controls and capabilities.

The Privacera DSP secures data using a combination of fine-grained data access controls, data masking, and data encryption to provide a zero trust framework. Privacera provides observability into the data environment, including data access monitoring (DAM) — a category in which Gartner recognized Privacera as a sample vendor in its Hype Cycle for Data Security, 2022. Additionally, data audit and reporting capabilities support compliance requirements and data risk assessments.

Privacera is a broad-spectrum DSP that can be deployed as a SaaS-based service or self-managed software. Privacera’s other integrated DSP capabilities include automated discovery of sensitive data, instant visibility into data assets, and distributed, cloud-native policy enforcement across leading platforms such as Amazon Web Services and Snowflake.

Minimize security tools and mitigate sprawl, while enhancing enterprise-wide efficiency and data protection. Learn more about consolidation and centralization with a data governance and data security platform. Get Privacera’s buyer’s guide.

Data and Information Security