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According to an IBM report, the global average total data breach cost reached $4.35 million in 2022—and this number is only expected to increase as cyber attacks continue to grow in frequency and sophistication.
 
Cybersecurity attacks can be particularly expensive because they hit companies in so many different areas, including remediation, lost revenue, ransoms, loss of customer trust, and possible lawsuits. However, they aren’t the only factors that can contribute to excessive cloud computing costs.

Securing your cloud platform and managing your costs go hand-in-hand. Here's what you need to know to keep your data safe and your costs optimised:

Building a secure cloud platform

Cloud security differs in many ways from on-prem data centre security—different principles and ways of thinking apply when you’re protecting an infrastructure you don’t entirely control. With that in mind, the following are a few key cloud security concepts you’ll want to be aware of: 

Adopt a ‘Zero-Trust’ posture

A zero-trust security position eliminates implicit trust by default. Under this cloud security framework, every endpoint is considered unsafe until it is verified and authorised. Achieving a zero-trust security posture involves:

Identifying your network's most critical data, assets, applications, and services
Implementing strong authentication policies, 'least access' policies, and user device integrity verification processes
Using continuous monitoring at run-time to remove implicit trust between app components when interacting with each other to validate their behaviour
Addressing routers, switches, cloud, IoT, supply chain, and other infrastructure elements from a zero-trust approach 

Monitor your cloud environment for security threats

Cyber attacks can be insidious, but failing to recognise that they’ve occurred won’t protect you from potential consequences. 

A far better approach is to be proactive than reactive, and that means implementing monitoring solutions that enable you to detect possible breaches, identify cloud security gaps, secure your network, and establish an incident response protocol. 

Fortunately, most of today’s cloud security monitoring solutions are SaaS-type offerings that can easily be added to your existing environment. While there’s no 'one size fits all type of security approach, proper monitoring needs to be a part of every security strategy.

Create a culture of security awareness from top to bottom

Historically, cybersecurity has been regarded as a function of IT. However, security is everyone's responsibility—you can’t afford to operate with a ‘one-person’ or ‘one-device’ solution.

Developing an effective secure cloud platform strategy comes down to involving every person in your business, from managers and marketers to IT specialists and accountants. Conduct regular trainings that emphasise everyone’s responsibility for securing the business, as well as the individual actions they should be taking within their specific roles. 

Cloud cost optimisation strategies you can implement 

Improving your cloud security has the potential to decrease costs, though it’s only part of the picture. A full cloud cost optimisation strategy helps you balance performance, costs, compliance requirements, and security to ensure that cloud assets are optimal and fit corporate needs.

Adopt cost management within departments

As with security, cost optimisation should be everyone's responsibility. That said, you can't manage what you can't measure. To avoid uncontrolled consumption, use tagging to bring visibility to how much each department spends and facilitate better decision-making.

Concurrently, bringing on a new MSP can offer the direction needed to rebalance IT priorities. With the right partner in place, business leaders can demonstrate value to stakeholders and management by clearly tying IT investment to objectives such as enhancing customer engagement and reducing costs.  

“Cost management within departments is almost the same as cost optimisation is everyone's responsibility. The only way to adopt cost management within departments is through reporting capabilities, including the ability to tag infrastructure costs to specific departments. This way, you can segregate the responsibility across the business and make it imperative to look at continual cost optimisation."

Adrian Capolino

Reconsider your multi-cloud strategy

A multi-cloud strategy can be a good idea for increasing availability, boosting uptime, and avoiding vendor lock-in. But one underappreciated disadvantage is that, by spreading your spend across several platforms, your organisation could be losing out on volume discounts from a single cloud provider. 
For example, if you’re spending $500K on AWS, $300K on Azure, and $200K on Google Cloud Platform each year, you might be missing out on reaching a $1M tier with a single vendor. The value of that $1M tier might be discounts of up to 20-50% of your overall cloud spend, as well as the benefits that come along with preferred status with that particular vendor. 

Additionally, the administrative hassles of switching between platforms, paying for network traffic between clouds, and training staff on multiple clouds could outweigh the ability to save money with a multi-cloud strategy.

If you’re currently utilising a multi-cloud strategy, talk to your providers and take the time to crunch the numbers. Don’t forget to take into consideration the benefits of complete, end-to-end visibility into costs, as well as the detailed insights into cost per customer, cost per feature, and cost per deployment that can be generated with a single cloud strategy.

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Make sure your licenses are optimised

Another way to optimise your costs is to ensure your software inventory matches your software consumption. Software license fees make up a sizable portion of operating expenses for most cloud computing instances, yet many organisations inadvertently pay for untracked or underutilised licenses. 

For example, take the issue of stranded licenses, which are most commonly associated with people who are no longer with the organisation. Often, when employees leave, companies disable the user, but fail to remove the licenses for their various applications. If it takes months to notice these unused licenses, the fees can add up. That’s why establishing a solid employee onboarding and offboarding workflow is so important from a cost optimisation perspective.

Align costs with business goals

Ultimately, cost optimisation isn’t true optimisation if it lacks a clear understanding of business goals and objectives. Optimising cloud costs involves more than just cost reduction; it also entails aligning costs with company goals. 

As an example, just because costs and revenues are increasing doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a problem. Indicators of growth, such as an increase in the number of customers served or products sold, can drive higher cloud costs. But if they’re matched by a corresponding increase in revenue, there isn’t necessarily a problem.  

According to Capolino, "How can your infrastructure costs go down, if your business and your adoption are going in the other direction? Optimising costs shouldn't be detrimental to the performance and solutions in place."

Create an optimised, secure cloud platform 

Plenty of factors contribute to a weak security posture. Budget is one primary driver—too often, budget isn't freed up for security initiatives until after an incident occurs. Investing to develop a secure cloud platform can help prevent unnecessary expenses, but you can also proactively optimise costs to reallocate funds to high-priority initiatives like security.

For help balancing the priorities of security and cost optimisation, reach out to the specialists at Canon Business Services (CBS) for a personalised assessment of your organisation’s top IT opportunities.

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