In 2021, Cloud Governance Becomes Imperative as Adoption Soars

By | Managed Services News

Jan 19

CloudSphere, Fortanix and MontyCloud all talk about what’s at stake and what partners must do now.

The need for cloud governance has grown more important than ever. As organizations continue to support remote work, many have lost the power to strictly oversee what employees are doing. Last year’s scramble to the cloud because of COVID-19 now is turning into a rush to rein in slackened security, unapproved apps, excessive permissions and unbudgeted spending.

Yet cloud governance gets more complicated when a business uses more than one platform — and many do. Perhaps Sabrinath Rao, vice president head of channel for MontyCloud put it best: “Consistent governance, security and cost management are hard enough to achieve in a single cloud. Doing that across multiple clouds is even harder. Individual cloud providers do not have an incentive to innovate here. Driving granular governance consistently across multiple clouds is a value that partners can offer.”

Indeed, managed service providers, VARs, integrators, consultants and others have a big mission in front of them. That’s to help clients implement technology, processes and people that, together, control activity across clouds. This leads to secured data, regulatory compliance and other uncompromisable outcomes.

Consider Forrester Research’s prediction that the global public cloud infrastructure market will grow 35% this year alone, reaching $120 billion. Enterprises, SMBs, nonprofits and more face an unpleasant cloud reckoning if they don’t put governance in place soon. Now is the time. And as David Greene, chief revenue officer of Fortanix, told Channel Futures, “Customers need the help and direction that channel partners can provide.”

To that point, vendors specializing in cloud governance, and selling through the indirect channel, are doing their part. In recent weeks, CloudSphere, Fortanix and MontyCloud, as just three examples, each released platforms that address cloud governance in different ways. Where they overlap is agreeing on what cloud governance accomplishes: protecting data, ensuring security and providing insight for cost controls. They also concur that these initiatives are especially paramount in a multicloud environment.

In this lightly edited Q&A, Channel Futures talks with the channel leads at each vendor about cloud governance — from what that means and what’s coming in 2021 to challenges partners should anticipate and the pitfalls to skirt. Channel Futures spoke with Keith O’Kelly, regional vice president of sales and channel head at CloudSphere; Fortanix’s Greene; and MontyCloud’s Rao.

Channel Futures: How does your company define cloud governance, and why?

CloudSphere's Keith O'Kelly

CloudSphere’s Keith O’Kelly

Keith O’Kelly: The cloud provides tremendous agility benefits to organizations, with a vast number of different services available on demand. However, that same agility introduces complexity challenges and significant problems with security. We see cloud governance as the ability to define, implement and enforce processes around how a company will use the cloud.

David Greene: Cloud governance is the process of defining, implementing, and then continuously auditing, a set of policies and controls that define what data can be processed by which cloud services under what conditions. Fundamentally, cloud governance takes the security framework built for stable on-premises data and applications and reimagines it for a constantly changing cloudy world.

Sabrinath Rao: Cloud governance delivers policy-driven controls for secure, efficient and cost-effective consumption of cloud resources. Cloud governance also seeks to deliver both consistency across the organization, and granular variations required to support different consumption patterns within the organization.

CF: In what way or ways does your company approach cloud governance, and why?

KO: Most large organizations are already in more than one public cloud, which adds to the complexity of defining and enforcing policies for cloud use. We approach cloud governance by reducing that complexity with a single policy engine that can provide governance across all major public clouds.

DG: Fortanix thinks that what you really need to worry about is your data — how to make it secure anywhere at any time. Fortanix uses encryption to secure the data itself, keeping it safe no matter where it may land or who …

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