Best Practice Tips to Make the Most of Your Cloud Investment

Cloud is never set and forget – you need to make smart decisions at every stage of your cloud journey if you’re to make the most of your cloud investment. In this blog we’ll take you through some best practice tips to ensure your cloud is secure, optimised and performant – without causing a budgeting headache.

There is so much potential in cloud – for positive business transformation, but also for migraine-inducing hassle if you lose control and let it get away from you. According to Statista, 30% of cloud computing spend is wasted – and that’s before you consider spend that isn’t necessarily wasted but certainly isn’t optimised, either.

Its incumbent upon all businesses in 2023 to make the most of their cloud investments. As we’ll explore in this blog, in order to achieve this, you need to align to best practices throughout design, deployment, and management. We’ll take you through these stages one at a time.

Best Practices for Cloud Design

During the cloud design stage, you will set the precedent for your cloud estate moving forward. Two things to keep front of mind:

  • Build in security as a fundamental. When you’re designing your cloud servers, build in security from the ground up. You can deploy as much security tooling as you want on your servers – if they aren’t designed to security best practices, they will still be vulnerable. Build your servers in a manner that makes them secure even without security tooling – then the tooling becomes the icing on the cyber security cake.
  • Scope your resources appropriately. A lot of cloud servers are scoped for worst case scenarios that never materialise. If your cloud servers have been scoped and deployed in an inefficient manner, that’s potentially fine for day zero. But those costs mount up over time, and inefficiencies such as these are a key driver for wasted cloud spend. Scope your resources appropriately – remember, public cloud is super easy to scale up and down, so you can always adapt later on down the line if you need to.

Best Practices for Cloud Deployment

Once you’ve reached the deployment stage, it’s time to bring the best practice principles you’ve designed into your cloud estate to bear. There are some additional optimisation steps you can take, too:

  • Leverage reserved instances where appropriate. Reserved instances offer organisations significantly reduced rates in return for one-year or three-year commitment terms. So if you know for sure that some of your servers will be in use for some time to come, consider moving from a pay-as-you-go model to reserved instances – you can save a significant amount if you do.
  • Optimise your storage. The tiered storage options available through cloud providers enable you to optimise your storage, allocating ‘hot’ storage for heavy duty workloads and archive storage for legacy data. Don’t host your legacy data on hot storage – you will end up paying far more than you have to!
  • Audit your estate on day zero. It may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how many organisations don’t actually know the scope of their cloud infrastructures. If you don’t know where your cloud estate begins and ends, you’ll have little chance of getting your cloud costs under control. Audit your estate on day zero during deployment to ensure you’ve captured everything.

Best Practices for Cloud Management

So, your cloud estate has been deployed and it’s happily running. The job isn’t done though – it’s only just started. Remember, cloud is never set and forget. These cloud management best practices will help you make the most of your cloud investment:

  • Stay on top of what’s being used – and what isn’t. Over time, you’ll probably find that many of the services you’re paying for aren’t being used. Make sure you’re diligent before you shut any services down – they sometimes interact with other services you wouldn’t expect. But once you’ve identified what can be lost, you may well find that a chunk of your cloud spend has now been freed up.
  • Monitor resource utilisation. Public cloud is extremely flexible. This means you can scale up resources if servers need it. But it also means you can scale them down if they’ve been over provisioned and are being underutilised. Monitor your resource utilisation, and make sure your servers are right sized for the roles they are performing.
  • Leverage tools to make your life easier. All this lifecycle management could be pretty onerous and time consuming if you don’t use the right tools to introduce an element of automation. There are plenty available, though – both from the cloud vendors, and from third parties. Speak to our experts if you’d like some help figuring out what’s best for you.

Make the Most of Your Cloud Investment

All businesses can be smarter in how they approach their cloud investments. By applying best practices throughout the design, deployment, and management stages of your cloud lifecycle, your business can take a step towards implementing FinOps principles that will enable you to better optimise your cloud costs.

Six Degrees enables organisations to introduce FinOps principles that can lead to savings of between 18 and 40% of monthly Azure spend, if acted upon. Find out more about our FinOps High Level Report and Workshop.

You can learn about cloud best practices through our Cloud Masterclass education series. The Cloud Masterclass series will enable you to gain confidence in your skills, grow your knowledge, and experience real world discussions on the latest cloud technologies and issues with peers and industry experts. Register your interest.

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