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Idea Exchange June 2020: Answering hard questions about cloud governance

David Lambert
David Lambert in FinOps Foundation
8th July 2020

Every month, a group of FinOps Foundation members get together for an Ideas Exchange. Take a look at the highlights of June’s meeting about cloud governance and learn how to get involved in the next one.

Before we jump in, here’s a quick recap of how an Idea Exchange works.

So, what’s behind the Idea Exchange?

The goal of the Idea Exchange is to create structured discussion around a challenging FinOps topic. Identifying a topic involves creating a list of challenges and opportunities that FinOps practitioners struggle with.

The attending group votes on one and structures the entire hour-long meeting around that topic. These conversations are honest and open with a focus on helping one another grow. Discussions can go beyond the meeting, of course, sometimes spilling over into the community Slack group. Members can click here to sign up for the next Idea Exchange.

What does “cloud governance” mean to you?

This question was the focus of the June 25th, 2020 Ideas Exchange. The FinOps Foundation members in attendance dug into what “cloud governance” means to them. After much discussion, the group agreed to use this definition from Forrester:

“Cloud Governance is the people, process, and technology associated with your cloud infrastructure, security, and operations. This should not be confused with cloud management, Forrester cautions. Governance involves a framework with a set of policies and standard practices. This could include policies for cost optimization, resiliency, security, or compliance.”

Source: Adapt Your Governance Framework For The Cloud, Forrester Research, Inc., November 14, 2017

They used this definition to dig into key FinOps concepts that help control and govern cloud spend: tagging, optimization, enforcement of optimization/policy, and licences.

Additional questions included:

It’s about creating and upholding a strong cloud governance policy

The group focused on building a strong definition of policy for cloud governance and how that policy is upheld throughout the business. FinOps is a practice that touches upon many different teams across an enterprise: IT, finance, line of business, and more. It’s no surprise that governance challenges arise, especially as cloud spend increases at scale.

Some key policy-building points from the group included:

Monitoring waste matters!

Sure, it might be a painful subject if your wasted cloud spend has a few too many zeros at the wrong end of the figure, but according to the group, it’s an opportunity to learn from past mistakes. Building a waste dashboard quickly identifies cloud overspend culprits– and remember, you’ll want clean, thoroughly tagged cloud cost data to make the most of these kinds of reports.

With the right cloud governance policies in place, these savings opportunities are communicated and action is taken– rightsizing, savings instruments, autoscaling, and more can take place to save your business some money.

Join us for the next Ideas Exchange

Tackling cloud governance for an hour as a group is a start– there’s plenty more experience, cloud utilization, spending, waste, and growth to experience. The more experiences we all have, the more stories to tell.

The best place to take these stories, outside of guest speaking at a member call(!), is to the next Idea Exchange. FinOps Foundation members try to hold one of these during the third Thursday of the month. That date is coming at us quickly as we progress through July.

Will we see you at the next meeting?