Once you’ve successfully assessed your environment and migrated workloads and applications to Azure, you can move to the critical third phase of your migration journey – cloud optimization. Continual cloud optimization targets three main areas— ensuring security and data protection, achieving peak systems performance, and realizing maximum cost efficiency. With these three areas, you can significantly strengthen your existing security protections, ensure the health and efficiency of your systems, and achieve a higher ROI by fine-tuning your infrastructure and resources precisely to your desired specifications.
Cloud computing offers many benefits, but it also creates new security and privacy challenges. While security and privacy concerns are recognized across cloud services and traditional computing, those concerns are amplified in a cloud platform because of external control and management of confidential information and assets. As such, running applications and workloads in the cloud requires a new paradigm for IT security.
Once you have moved your applications and workloads to Azure, ensuring reliable data security is now a shared responsibility between you and Microsoft. This is highly advantageous because Microsoft’s global data centers provide opportunities to provision improved security services and privacy capabilities that are more robust than those you can implement on your own.
Plus, Azure offers advanced security and privacy capabilities that reinforce and exceed the level of security and privacy protection within traditional IT environments, including built-in cloud services and security tools that are automatically integrated into IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS offerings.
Azure also allows you to fully optimize your cloud security with unified security management and advanced threat protection across hybrid cloud workloads. It provides a secure foundation to host your applications and workloads with multi-layered security delivered in data centers across the globe and the support of more than 3,500 global cybersecurity experts that work together to help safeguard your business assets.
When working on the Azure platform, you can fully optimize and reinforce the security of your data and further mitigate risks by implementing the following policies.
Centralized policy management
Ensure compliance with company or regulatory security requirements by centrally managing security policies across all your hybrid cloud workloads.
Provide continuous security assessments
Enable 24/7/365 security monitoring of data, machines, networks, storage, and applications to discover potential security issues as early as possible.
Prioritize alerts and incidents
Focus on the most critical threats first with prioritized security alerts and incidents that identify the threats with the most catastrophic outcomes.
Provide actionable responses
Remediate security vulnerabilities before they can be exploited by attackers with prioritized and actionable responses.
Integrate security solutions
Collect, search, and analyze security data from a variety of sources, including connected partner solutions.
Optimizing data protection
Data is a critical business asset, and failure to ensure appropriate data security and privacy protection can result in a breach of customer trust, reputational harm, and potential loss of business. Protection considerations apply both to data at rest (held in some form of storage system) and to data in transit (being transferred over some form of communication link). Regardless of their state, data stored in the cloud requires advanced protection from loss resulting from theft, corruption, or system outages.
With Azure you can customize data encryption, backup, and recovery features to your specifications to help protect your data with these tools:
Virtual machine disk encryption
Azure Disk Encryption enables encryption of Windows and Linux Azure Virtual Machine disks using industry-standard BitLocker feature of Windows and the dm-crypt feature of Linux to provide volume encryption for the OS and the data disks. The solution is integrated with Azure Key Vault to help you maintain full control and manage the disk encryption keys and secrets in your key vault subscription while ensuring that all data in the virtual machine disks are encrypted at rest in your Azure storage.
Virtual machine backup
Application errors can corrupt your data and human errors can introduce bugs into your applications. With Azure Backup, your virtual machines running Windows and Linux can be backed up and recovered at a granular level, allowing you to choose the exact data you want to back up, and finely tune backup and retention policies to your exact specifications.
Azure Site Recovery
Keeping workloads and applications up and running when planned and unplanned outages occur is fundamental to every organization. With Azure Site Recovery, you can customize and sequence the failover and recovery of multi-tier applications running on multiple VMs, group machines together in a recovery plan, and orchestrate replication, failover, and recovery of workloads and apps to your exact requirements.
Optimizing cloud health and performance
Now that your applications and workloads are running on Microsoft Azure, you’ll want to continuously monitor the health of your system with a cloud monitoring platform to ensure peak performance and maximum uptime. Deploying a cloud monitoring platform targeted at your applications, workloads, and core systems health will ensure you have full visibility into your current system status and access to important data in order to optimize costs, usage, and performance.
Azure has basic or premium monitoring solutions that are offered as a service, but you can also deploy 3rd party solutions to meet your needs. Your choice of cloud monitoring platform will ultimately be determined by your technical requirements and operational objectives. However, whichever cloud monitoring platform you choose to manage your cloud accounts, it should have the following 6 key capabilities:
- Provides single-pane visibility over your entire environment and have reporting and analytics capabilities to support insights into cloud service usage patterns.
- Enables your administrators to monitor cloud-based services to assist with capacity planning, forecasting, budgeting, workload deployments, performance and security.
- Provides tools for asset discovery, rightsizing, orchestration, automation, and support the migration of assets between on-premises and cloud environments.
- Offers the capability of automatically tracking cloud spend to specific users in order to generate chargeback and cost allocation reports.
- Allows administrators to enforce policy-based controls on asset cost, asset performance, identity management, and other areas of operational governance.
- Utilizes proactive policies to continuously monitor your cloud environment for vulnerabilities, as well as identify and alert you on technical, operational, and financial risks.
Whether you choose to go with Azure’s monitoring services or a 3rd party solution, the right cloud monitoring platform will give full transparency of your cloud usage and its overall impact on cost, performance, and scalability. This will give you the ability to fine-tune your infrastructure and pinpoint areas for improvement according to your preferences to enable optimized cloud performance.
Achieving peak ROI
Monitoring your cloud health not only provides visibility into the performance of your cloud environment, but it also gives you the power to understand how its performance can impact your bottom line. You can uncover inefficiencies, identify cost gaps by the hour, day, week, month, or year, and you can evaluate your environment holistically in order to see what’s working and what’s not and be able to adapt quickly.
Are unnecessary on-demand instances driving up cost? Are there predictable patterns of usage across the business or within functional groups? How have year-over-year business demands changed, and is infrastructure falling behind? Using this information, you can lower cost by understanding what drives usage patterns, spikes, dips, and high-margin instances – then reconfigure the system to manage it better and put policies in place that optimize costs.
loud optimization is a continuous process so there will always be opportunities to improve spending, usage, and performance. Continuous monitoring and analysis will uncover and correct underutilized infrastructure to drive down costs while still meeting service levels. Advanced monitoring platforms will allow you to mine the data at a granular level to gain deeper insights into capacity planning, purchases, and infrastructure rightsizing to ensure a healthy cloud and a maximized return on your investment.
Cloud optimization is about ensuring your virtual machines are continuously secure, running on maximum efficiency, and delivering the highest return on your investments.
It’s about customizing security policies and implementing reliable systems to protect your data and keep your systems up and running. It means fine-tuning your infrastructure so all your resources are right-sized and nothing is under-utilized. And it’s about analyzing performance metrics to uncover cost-saving opportunities.
Work with DXC SLMS to optimize your cloud and we can help you identify system vulnerabilities to reduce the risk of a security breach, increase the efficiency of your systems to achieve peak performance, and save money with expert recommendations to downsize or terminate unused resources.
Contact us at SLMSHOSTINGAMS@dxc.com today to schedule a free strategy session for a more in-depth look at developing an Azure optimization plan that’s customized for your business.
Learn more about your Azure migration options and tools at https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/migration/ and access the resources you need at https://dxcsparc.com/sparccsp/ and https://dxcsparc.com/azure-marketplace