Common Challenges in Cloud Asset Management

Yours for just 158 Swiss francs, you’ll be excited to know that the latest global standard on IT asset management, ISO/IEC 19770-1:2017, is out, available in two formats, and offers several updates to the classic ISO/IEC 19770-1:2012.

It’s available here, but, just in case we’ve still got you, we’ve put together some insight into the issues businesses face when handling assets in the cloud – based on research, our own experience, and discussions with our users.

Loss of Control

Moving to the cloud is essentially an outsourcing decision, whereby a company relinquishes much of the control over its assets. But, unfortunately, cloud service providers (CSPs) are not usually transparent about how they secure and back up data. This is particularly an issue for organisations with highly confidential or mission-critical data, such as legal firms, where full control is often needed. And any platform that’s publicly accessible involves more intrinsic risk than one that’s not.

With a SaaS setup, a company has limited scope to adapt the underlying platform at all or at least know how it’s built. Common examples are:

  • Storage and compute power: Both are useful to know and sometimes, to change. But when a company decides they need, say, more space, it can be tricky for asset management teams to know what they have and impossible to change themselves.
  • Scalability queries: Businesses often want to assess how an increase in users might affect performance, but can’t.

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Hidden Costs

Cloud asset management is an entirely different beast to its on-premises equivalent, with different contract and licence types, and asset management teams have to develop a completely new set of skills.

Cloud contracts can seem deceptively simple at face-value, but under the surface often lie numerous indirect, direct, and hidden costs that need to be interpreted and accounted for. BSA gives several examples:

Some of these costs may include the cost of migration to the cloud, integration with other IT systems, oversubscription to cloud services, need for premium support services, additional storage requirements, costs for data extraction, costs of changing the scope of the services, and rising service renewal costs. Additional costs may result from the highly virtualized nature of the cloud which is not always supported under traditional license grants.

Keeping up With Changes

Many organisations favour the cloud because of the agility and speed-to-market it provides – cloud services can be deployed (or removed) in just a few clicks. However, traditional asset management programs are often based on longer lifecycles, giving teams more time for planning, contracting, monitoring and reconciliations.

So, the challenge for staff – when a move to the cloud has been made – is to design and implement sufficiently reactive processes.

Unrecorded Purchases

Cloud services, especially SaaS, are becoming ever-easier to deploy and now aren’t solely the preserve of IT specialists. As a result, it’s becoming more common for staff to side-step standard IT procurement processes to provision cloud services.

And this problem is heightened by the fact that vendors will sometimes go after the business buyers directly (e.g. HR or sales departments) rather than a company’s traditional IT buyers.

Cloud services are usually regarded as operational rather than capital expenditures, meaning they don’t have such thorough approval processes and can usually be procured with just a corporate credit card. This means asset management teams will not necessarily be involved in the procurement phase and sometimes only learn about implementations after they’ve occurred. Or not at all.

Asset Management in Happi

As a visual composer, marketplace, and cloud management platform, the Happi tool covers all bases when it comes to cloud asset management.

In the design tab, you’re able to gain an immediate visual impression of how your current assets are being used and the connections between them before diving into the detail.

Editing an existing design or starting one from scratch is straightforward – cloud assets are represented by an array of templates and shapes, which can simply be dragged onto the canvas. And because live prices from vendors are presented as you design, it’s easy to test, reshape, and fit your plan against your budget.

When it comes to purchasing, there’s a wide variety of service providers to choose from, letting asset management teams pick the right tool for the job – whether it’s the cost-effectiveness of physical servers, the ease of the public cloud or a mixture of both. And user permissions can be set at many different levels, safeguarding against potential rogue purchases.

Finally, once you’ve provisioned network assets using the tool, Happi maintains an inventory and lets you monitor your public/private deployment – i.e. how it’s being used and what it’s costing.

But don’t just take our word for it – see how you can get a handle on IT inventory and spend by trying Happi for yourself today.

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