Establishing Cloud Governance for Fast, Reliable Deployments

Chapter 6

Delineating responsibilities and adhering to predetermined policies of IT governance are essential to the ongoing security of an IT environment and thus, business at large. Cloud or not, governance can help translate people, tools and policy into process by guiding the construction, maintenance, and validation of an IT environment. Especially when it comes to cloud, governance protocols help to integrate security into software development and release processes that guide DevOps teams in what they’re supposed to do when launching new applications.

Indeed, properly established cloud governance can help IT teams reduce post-release scrambles and design for security and compliance that also emphasizes speed to match modern business demands. However, achieving this harmony of speed and security involves thinking in terms of people, process, and tools to integrate everything into governance processes.

Considerations When Building Governance Policy in the Cloud

What automation tools can your business use so that everything isn’t built from scratch?

If you intend to utilize internal security expertise, then how do you go about creating and/or retaining security experts on your team?

What security requirements must be adhered to, so that compliance is maintained?

Enforce Compliance with Automation

When it comes to compliance frameworks, whether it’s GDPR, SOC, HIPAA, PCI or another, policy making can be reactive by nature. By the time any change in regulatory requirements are introduced, the change has usually been prompted to curb repeated incidents. Nevertheless, changes in compliance frameworks must be accounted for in IT environments, so that a business can maintain its regulatory accreditation—but how? Compliance demands flexibility to change that can be at odds with the proactive disposition of cybersecurity professionals.

Using automation for identity access management, encryption assurance, blueprinting of architecture/design, templating of systems and components, software defined networking, and compartmentalized storage can increase the speed of deployment, assist in policy crosschecking to ensure continuous compliance, and aid in the validation of reference architectures. As they say, when you find yourself doing something twice, automate it—extending from production deployment all the way through continuous compliance validation.

Solving for Priorities

There are two competing areas of emphasis, depending on your IT group: speed and security. But neither speed nor security, when viewed in silos, emphasize efficiency. Those connected to DevOps want automation to have a baseline method for blueprints and templates for speedy deployments with common configurations. Conversely, a security team wants monitoring and alerting, resiliency scalability, code validation, and logging baked into the development process. Applying automation wherever possible to internal standards of governance can solve for the needs of both groups—which saves time and money for everyone.

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