Does Your Business Need a Cloud Clean-up?  

In response to the Covid-19 crisis, most companies have implemented remote work. While some companies already have a system in place for the work-from-home setup, more are unfamiliar and unprepared for the shift. Organizations that are completely inexperienced in remote work have been met with overwhelming challenges on how to continue business operations and maintain productivity amid disruptions.  

The answer is cloud computing.  

Cloud computing services allow employees to access corporate data and perform tasks remotely. They have essentially been the backbone of organizations that run remote business operations. This reliance is evident when major cloud service providers have recorded high sales in the first quarter of 2020.  

Generally, cloud computing service providers offer pay-per-usage schemes. This means that organizations can limit their subscription to what their business needs. However, some that are unfamiliar and inexperienced in using cloud computing services may misuse this technology and incur surprise costs.  

To avoid sustaining unnecessary expenses, organizations need to conduct cloud assessments and cleanups regularly. 

How to Perform Cloud Assessments 

Limit access 

One popular service in cloud computing is self-service provisioning, allowing users to use public resources on a pay-as-you-go basis. This service will enable the user’s agile creation and delivery of software and services. For example, it allows for easy and quick development of virtual machines and customer relationship (CRM) systems. Because of the ease of creating and developing these services, there is a high possibility of creating unnecessary systems that use more resources than needed. All this can increase costs. 

While access to these features and services of cloud computing may be needed on a continuous basis, it should be granted to only a select number of people. Team members whose projects involve these features and who can regulate their use of these aspects of cloud services should be the ones who are permitted access.  

Monitor use 

Cloud computing service providers typically offer management and monitoring tools, enabling enterprises to track the resources used, applications running, and the number of accounts. Enterprises can store log files, monitor data, and statistics, and follow resource changes. With management and monitoring tools, they can set alarms to stay updated on whether the threshold use has exceeded. For users and features with high spikes of use, enterprises can scrutinize their necessity and identify how to lessen these spikes.  

Enterprises should also employ periodic checks on their list of users and identify which are still active in the organization and need access to the system. Restricting access to authorized users can only control the cloud use within a reasonable range.  

Management and monitoring tools can also help enterprises detect deficiencies within the system. This allows users to prevent issues from developing into serious problems.  

Enhance app performance  

Poorly performing apps use more cloud resources but do not support more users. They use more storage than required. As a result, cloud bills increase without the enterprise experiencing the proportionate value for it. 

One major cause of poor app performance is network issues. To resolve network issues, enterprises can monitor network bandwidth from different locations to identify what slows down latency and decreases bandwidth. They can also initiate troubleshooting strategies focusing on checking VLAN tags and dividing tasks between servers to lessen traffic. 

Moreover, enterprises should ensure that after an app scales up to meet demand, it scales back down as demand decreases. Otherwise, cloud bills needlessly go up. With monitoring tools, they can track which apps have reduced demand, allowing for resources to be appropriately reallocated.  

Develop optimization techniques 

Enterprises can save on cloud bills from the get-go by obliging their IT teams to initiate cloud use-saving strategies. IT teams can start by optimizing the cloud storage requirements of a particular workload. With apps, for example, they should make sure that they design them with less load time. They should also develop them free of vulnerabilities as vulnerabilities lead to security issues that can increase cloud use. 

Additionally, scalability is one of the top benefits of the cloud. Proper scaling up and down can help enterprises control their cloud costs. Enterprises can isolate which periods have usual peak demands. They can scale the number of virtual machines up during these periods and scale them down once these seasons are over.  

Taking advantage of the cloud’s scalability allows enterprises to offer and make use of services in the most profitable way. It also allows them to mitigate cloud bills as providers only charge when virtual machines are created and used.  

Select the best cloud model for your business 

Cloud computing service providers typically offer three main types of cloud computing models: public, private, and hybrid. Depending on the needs of their business, enterprises have the option to choose what suits them best. Regardless of the model, cloud computing offers scalability as a significant advantage, allowing various border crossings. Providers often charge for egress and ingress traffic, and these could quickly increase the bill if there is a high demand for access, and there are no controls in place. Understanding the business from the perspective of data can guide enterprises to find a structurally appropriate model for them.  

Part of this is choosing storage solutions wisely. Enterprises can forego expensive storage solutions for data that are not so vital. On the other hand, for data that are not accessed regularly, such as data only needed once a month or less frequently, there is no need to store them in the cloud.  

Enterprises also need to be knowledgeable about their provider’s pricing scheme. Knowing how providers charge informs enterprises about how much they incur per service they use. This also allows them to assess how much cloud computing services their workload requires and how to optimize them. 

Examine your bills 

Bills can be another source for enterprises to understand the bulk of their workload on the cloud better. They can assess which features register high usage and whether it is reasonable. By looking at their recurring expenses, they can monitor their activity and identify what measures they can require to observe the cloud’s efficient use. 

Enterprises can also verify if they are being charged only for the services they are currently using and whether there are surcharges they can avoid for the next billing cycle.  

Freeing up Space through Cloud Clean-ups 

Maintaining cloud storage can be expensive, especially for enterprises with big data. Cloud computing service providers typically do not offer automated cleanup tools, leading to inadvertent storage of unnecessary and redundant data. Enterprises must perform manual cloud cleanups to maintain seamless and no-frills cloud computing activities. 

Doing cleanups allows enterprises to keep only the data they need and use without making unwarranted expensive upgrades. However, they can be tricky as it may not always be easy to identify which data needs to be stored on the cloud and which data the enterprise can do without. This is where management and monitoring tools can be helpful. 

With management and monitoring tools, enterprises can determine which cloud computing services and corporate data are highly needed and frequently accessed and which are not. This determination is vital so that enterprises can be better informed of their business structure’s fundamental elements. They can better understand which segment of their organization requires close attention and high maintenance. Knowing the organization’s primary cloud activities also allows enterprises to be more aware of where to set up automatic cloud backups. 

Cloud service providers set automatic backups as the default setting. As there is a presumption that all data uploaded on the cloud is essential, they have put this precautionary measure in place. However, while it is essential to back up files, not all of them must be stored online as they are not frequently accessed and have little bearing on the enterprise’s everyday operations. 

It is within the enterprises’ control and discretion to categorize which data should be automatically backed up and which ones do not need to be. Data that occupy a lot of storage space but are not essential to the enterprise’s regular operations do not have to be backed up and, if possible, may even be taken down from the cloud.  

Identifying which data requires high cloud storage capacity can also allow enterprises to devise optimization techniques. Multimedia files that must be on the cloud and backed up, such as photos and videos, can be stored in their lower-resolution versions to lessen the space they occupy. 

Cloud cleanups should be done regularly to keep storage spaces free from clutter. In monitoring what data is stored on the cloud, enterprises can maintain efficient use of the cloud storage space they are paying for.  

Main Drive of Cloud Assessment and Clean-ups 

Despite the easing of lockdowns in many countries and some companies slowly returning to in-office setups, working from home looks like it is here to stay, and cloud computing services will remain a business necessity. Maintaining the cloud is a skill that companies should learn and be well-versed in to ensure that while they are preserving their productivity and gradually enhancing it despite the challenges that the “new normal” presents, they are getting the value of what they spend on cloud computing services.  

Regular cloud assessments and cleanups are paramount in achieving this goal. These practices allow enterprises to keep their cloud running efficiently and free from clutter, all while minimizing business costs. An efficient and optimized cloud can shape an enterprise’s success, especially during a period where a business’s survival and growth depend highly on its ability to adapt.