Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Rishi Bhargava, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, William Schmarzo

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Agile Computing, Cloud Security, @BigDataExpo, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Article

Governance Strategies for Successful Cloud Initiatives

How to create and enforce policies and governance in an automated way, while maintaining cloud computing’s self-service promise

At the top of many IT group's list of concerns lie security, compliance and internal process governance - both in static data centers and in dynamic clouds. Indeed, governance should not be overlooked. And, as they say in many security circles, the best measure of successful security is silence. Although the discussion around governance in the cloud has evolved, many organizations still struggle with questions such as:

  • Which apps should we deploy to public clouds?
  • When and where should cloud environments be encrypted?
  • Who has access to cloud-based applications and infrastructure?
  • Which firewall rules should apply?
  • How do security rules differ from app to app based on the application's lifecycle phase?

At the heart of these questions and concerns is how to manage the security and compliance risks inherit in enterprises and how to build and apply fine-grain cloud controls to manage the deep complexity inherent within cloud environments. In this article, I'll take a look at how to create and enforce policies and governance in an automated way, while maintaining cloud computing's self-service promise.

Create and Enforce Governance Policies
Policy-based governance controls based on an extensible meta-model enable the creation and enforcement of an unlimited range of custom policies, which are critical for large enterprise success and innovation.

A broad range of policy types are needed to properly govern the deployment and management of applications and platforms in the cloud, especially when self-service, on-demand access is provided to business users and development teams. An enterprise-grade cloud governance model should be implemented with policy types that encompass:

  • User and group access
  • Deployment criteria that ensure workloads are deployed properly based on data and sensitivity level, such as geographical constraints or credit card data
  • Orchestration of configuration management controls; the ability to ensure secure and compliant versions of application artifacts, middleware and O/S are deployed across cloud environments and remediating any manual changes

In addition, IT should use policies to enforce security zone compliance, orchestrate host and hypervisor based firewalls, AV, HIDS, virtual networking, data encryption, and other security tools and utilities. All of these controls should be tuned to apply across the various stages of the application lifecycle (i.e., Development, QA, UAT, Production, etc.).

Fulfill the Self-Service Cloud Promise

Self-service and governance may seem at odds, but in the world of cloud computing, they come together to deliver agility with control. While the benefits of self-service are obvious - and the reason many enterprises embrace the cloud to begin with - allowing business users and developers to directly access needed IT resources through a self-service interface, IT resources become more responsive to business needs. As a result, business agility improves and the business as a whole benefits.

Governance exists to balance self-service as it imposes a set of rules for how resources should be accessed, by whom, at what times, in what quantities, and for which purposes. In the same way that traffic rules enable people to use roads to get where they need to go quickly while eliminating accidents, cloud governance seeks to ensure that cloud usage is well ordered so that self-service can happen seamlessly and without manual intervention for the business, ensuring ideal use of resources, compliance with regulatory mandates and, most important, optimal business outcomes.

Ensure Adaptability of Policy Controls
Regulations, industries and business don't stand still. As a result, when creating governance policies, IT must do so in a way that is easily adapted to meet future requirements. An extensible policy framework that allows IT to rapidly customize policies to address a broad range of current and future business needs is required for successful cloud governance. The ability to create and enforce an unlimited range of custom policies is accomplished through a policy engine with an extensible meta model, allowing enterprises to create new attributes that policies can reference to make decisions.

The dynamic nature of cloud computing may appear a hurdle to effective governance, but the reality is that static data centers also present their own, unique security, regulatory and governance challenges. While both can be secure and compliant, at the end of the day, it is about building and enforcing proper controls for the business's various activities. A policy-based security strategy will help enterprises simultaneously meet the promise of self-service cloud computing while providing a fully governed, successful cloud initiative.

More Stories By Eric Pulier

Eric Pulier, CEO at ServiceMesh, Inc. Named one of 30 e-Visionaries by VAR Business, he is a popular public speaker at premier technology conferences around the globe. Pulier is member of Bill Clinton’s Clinton Global Initiative, and is the Executive Director of the Enterprise Leadership Council.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
“delaPlex Software provides software outsourcing services. We have a hybrid model where we have onshore developers and project managers that we can place anywhere in the U.S. or in Europe,” explained Manish Sachdeva, CEO at delaPlex Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
"We've discovered that after shows 80% if leads that people get, 80% of the conversations end up on the show floor, meaning people forget about it, people forget who they talk to, people forget that there are actual business opportunities to be had here so we try to help out and keep the conversations going," explained Jeff Mesnik, Founder and President of ContentMX, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
From wearable activity trackers to fantasy e-sports, data and technology are transforming the way athletes train for the game and fans engage with their teams. In his session at @ThingsExpo, will present key data findings from leading sports organizations San Francisco 49ers, Orlando Magic NBA team. By utilizing data analytics these sports orgs have recognized new revenue streams, doubled its fan base and streamlined costs at its stadiums. John Paul is the CEO and Founder of VenueNext. Prior ...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. He cited examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He also highlighted how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable ...
With 15% of enterprises adopting a hybrid IT strategy, you need to set a plan to integrate hybrid cloud throughout your infrastructure. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Steven Dreher, Director of Solutions Architecture at Green House Data, discussed how to plan for shifting resource requirements, overcome challenges, and implement hybrid IT alongside your existing data center assets. Highlights included anticipating workload, cost and resource calculations, integrating services on both sides...
Big Data engines are powering a lot of service businesses right now. Data is collected from users from wearable technologies, web behaviors, purchase behavior as well as several arbitrary data points we’d never think of. The demand for faster and bigger engines to crunch and serve up the data to services is growing exponentially. You see a LOT of correlation between “Cloud” and “Big Data” but on Big Data and “Hybrid,” where hybrid hosting is the sanest approach to the Big Data Infrastructure pro...
"We are a well-established player in the application life cycle management market and we also have a very strong version control product," stated Flint Brenton, CEO of CollabNet,, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
We all know the latest numbers: Gartner, Inc. forecasts that 6.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide in 2016, up 30 percent from last year, and will reach 20.8 billion by 2020. We're rapidly approaching a data production of 40 zettabytes a day – more than we can every physically store, and exabytes and yottabytes are just around the corner. For many that’s a good sign, as data has been proven to equal money – IF it’s ingested, integrated, and analyzed fast enough. Without real-ti...
I wanted to gather all of my Internet of Things (IOT) blogs into a single blog (that I could later use with my University of San Francisco (USF) Big Data “MBA” course). However as I started to pull these blogs together, I realized that my IOT discussion lacked a vision; it lacked an end point towards which an organization could drive their IOT envisioning, proof of value, app dev, data engineering and data science efforts. And I think that the IOT end point is really quite simple…
A critical component of any IoT project is what to do with all the data being generated. This data needs to be captured, processed, structured, and stored in a way to facilitate different kinds of queries. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle certain kinds of queries, but they are not always well suited to many problems, particularly when there is a need for real-time insights.
Unless your company can spend a lot of money on new technology, re-engineering your environment and hiring a comprehensive cybersecurity team, you will most likely move to the cloud or seek external service partnerships. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Darren Guccione, CEO of Keeper Security, revealed what you need to know when it comes to encryption in the cloud.
We're entering the post-smartphone era, where wearable gadgets from watches and fitness bands to glasses and health aids will power the next technological revolution. With mass adoption of wearable devices comes a new data ecosystem that must be protected. Wearables open new pathways that facilitate the tracking, sharing and storing of consumers’ personal health, location and daily activity data. Consumers have some idea of the data these devices capture, but most don’t realize how revealing and...
You think you know what’s in your data. But do you? Most organizations are now aware of the business intelligence represented by their data. Data science stands to take this to a level you never thought of – literally. The techniques of data science, when used with the capabilities of Big Data technologies, can make connections you had not yet imagined, helping you discover new insights and ask new questions of your data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Sarbjit Sarkaria, data science team lead ...
Extracting business value from Internet of Things (IoT) data doesn’t happen overnight. There are several requirements that must be satisfied, including IoT device enablement, data analysis, real-time detection of complex events and automated orchestration of actions. Unfortunately, too many companies fall short in achieving their business goals by implementing incomplete solutions or not focusing on tangible use cases. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products...
"delaPlex is a software development company. We do team-based outsourcing development," explained Mark Rivers, COO and Co-founder of delaPlex Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, discussed the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to focus...
Is your aging software platform suffering from technical debt while the market changes and demands new solutions at a faster clip? It’s a bold move, but you might consider walking away from your core platform and starting fresh. ReadyTalk did exactly that. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, will discuss why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and over a decade of audio conferencing product development to start an innovati...
Early adopters of IoT viewed it mainly as a different term for machine-to-machine connectivity or M2M. This is understandable since a prerequisite for any IoT solution is the ability to collect and aggregate device data, which is most often presented in a dashboard. The problem is that viewing data in a dashboard requires a human to interpret the results and take manual action, which doesn’t scale to the needs of IoT.
SYS-CON Events announced today that 910Telecom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Housed in the classic Denver Gas & Electric Building, 910 15th St., 910Telecom is a carrier-neutral telecom hotel located in the heart of Denver. Adjacent to CenturyLink, AT&T, and Denver Main, 910Telecom offers connectivity to all major carriers, Internet service providers, Internet backbones and ...