3 things for your 2024 cloud to-do list

It’s budget time for many enterprises, and the question that I get most this time of year is: What should we work on in 2024 to improve our cloud computing deployments?

I came up with my top three, with the understanding that these are general concepts and you need to consider your own state of cloud within your enterprise. Let’s get started.

Security and compliance always need a refresh

As the volume and sensitivity of data being stored and processed in the cloud increase, security and compliance remain critical concerns. In 2024, this means evaluating and enhancing cloud security in both obvious and non-obvious ways.

Most of you don’t have solid access controls for your cloud deployments. This is usually neglected since getting a directory service in place to identify people, machines, applications, data, etc., is expensive and time-consuming, but there is no way to avoid it. Let’s get that fixed in 2024.

Of course, compliance requirements must be addressed effectively with the evolving regulatory landscape. Chances are you have some things that need to be compliant and aren’t. Businesses must ensure their cloud deployments align with industry-specific regulations, such as GDPR or HIPAA.

You can handle this by implementing appropriate data management processes, privacy controls, and audit trails. Typically this means governance systems need to be in place. Finding compliance governance systems designed for your specific industry is a good place to start.

Cost optimization needs to be better

There are two things to work on here. First, is tactical cost management. Are you regularly reviewing cloud usage, identifying unused or underutilized resources, and implementing cost-management measures? This includes rightsizing instances and adopting reserved or other cost-saving plans.

Second, and more important, are the strategic cost optimization efforts. Here’s an automotive analogy: By doing tactical things such as reducing your speed, tuning your engine, and removing weight from the car, you can lower costs. Much more significant investments will become much more considerable cost savings.

In the cloud computing space, this means rethinking some of the systems that you lifted and shifted and are now costing much more than they ever did in your data center. Many need to be redesigned and modernized to take full advantage of cloud platforms and burn less cash.

In some cases, workloads may need to be put back on premises if the cost of modernizing the systems is well outside the range of generating a business benefit. Some workloads should have been kept off the cloud in the first place, plain and simple.

These are complicated and expensive projects. However, the benefits of strategic cost-saving efforts typically exceed any cost and risk. Of the three concepts I’m talking about here, these should be first on your list for 2024.

Manage multicloud cloud sprawl

We’ve beaten the idea of multicloud complexity to death, so I won’t rehash it here. You need to take care of this at some point, and 2024 could be the year.

This will be different from deployment to deployment, but usually, it means dealing with the heterogeneity of cloud platforms and the resulting complexity through abstraction and automation mechanisms.

What does that mean? It means finding a layer of technology that can automate how different cloud systems interact. Also, it means finding cloud management abstraction layers that can provide a single interface and API layer to access multiple specific cloud resources.

Dealing with a single layer and not all the native layers we’re working with now means you won’t need as many humans to manage a multicloud. You’ll be able to manage the clouds on your terms, not theirs. Having many different clouds offers the ability to leverage best-of-breed cloud services. However, with a single layer, you no longer have the cost of the resulting complexity. Good to take care of this in 2024.

I hope this helps with your budgeting. You’ll notice that generative AI isn’t on my list. It’s important, but most enterprises have larger issues to solve before they begin playing around with generative AI. Good luck in 2024.

Copyright © 2023 IDG Communications, Inc.


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