10 Tips For Managing Users Across Multi-Cloud Services
by Mark Adams, on 08-Sep-2015 17:10:00
In a previous post, we talked about multi-cloud and the potential problems it can cause—from losing control of your resources, to creating unexpected costs and a lot more work for you.
The good news is, multi-cloud services can actually be a great thing when utilized and managed correctly. So, to help you do that, I’m giving my top 10 tips for managing users across a multi-cloud environment. From audits, to applications, to costs, these tips will help you take control of your cloud.
10 Tips To Manage Your Multi-Cloud Users
1. Manage your starters, movers, and leavers.
In every company, there are new employees who start, employees who change roles within the organization, and employees who leave the company altogether. Because each of these employees are in a different situation, it’s important to monitor which cloud services, applications, and data they have access to. New employees will need to be set up with accounts in relevant services, employees who have changed roles will need access to different services, and employees who are leaving need to be taken out of the system completely.
Keep an eye on these changes to make sure the right people have access to the right things.
2. Map your user base.
To map your user base, start by thinking about separating your users into different groups. For example, someone who is requesting access to your accounting services will be put in the accounting group. (You should know pretty easily who should go in what group.) Once you’ve separated users into groups, think about whether each person should be a primary or secondary user within the group. A primary user would act as an administrator, and may have more access to certain files than secondary users.
3. Map your services.
After you map your users, you’ll want to map your services. Keep a catalog of the services that are being used throughout your organization, and then integrate that catalog with your user groups to get a better view of who should be where and what services people should be using. Once you’ve done this, as well as managed your starters, movers, and leavers, you should have a pretty good idea of what’s going on in your multi-cloud.
4. Become aware of the plans available.
To better manage your multi-cloud, make sure you’re aware of the different functionality of each plan that’s available within the services being used. Plans can range anywhere from three dollars to hundreds of dollars a month per user, so if you’ve got a large organization, you can start to rack up costs pretty quickly. Understand the different plans and how much they cost to know which ones you should be using.
5. Do a regular audit.
Schedule regular audits to keep track of who’s using what. These audits can be done manually or by using certain IT tools, although IT tools might only report the activity passing through the company firewall and miss your mobile users (including smartphones). To learn how to perform an audit manually, check out this article.
As you perform an audit, look for patterns like people using different services to do the same thing. If you find people using different tools with the same functionality, you can group those tools together and condense the number of tools you’re using.
6. Monitor utilization.
Monitoring utilization will tell you how much you’re paying for that isn’t actually being used. For example, you may have purchased 20 user licenses on a service, but only five are being used. That means you’re wasting money on 15 licenses. By monitoring utilization, you can get rid of the licenses being neglected and save your company some money.
7. Govern your cloud procurement process.
If everyone in your company is buying services whenever they want, you’ve got a problem.
Tell employees that new services should be issued through either their department head or the head of IT, and create a process for internal procurement requests. This allows employees to suggest new services without stifling innovation. Then, make sure there is a category for SaaS and cloud services on your expense claims, so budgets are being allocated and monitored properly.
8. Manage the over-excitement around new solutions.
Sometimes people get a little too eager to try out new services simply because they’re new. For example, someone in the sales department could be really excited about a brand new marketing tool (even though they don’t work in marketing), so they buy the service and then never actually use it. This is an obvious waste of time and money. To manage this eagerness, make sure employees can justify the use case before downloading or purchasing a new tool.
9. Manage the renewal of services.
Look at whether the services being used in your company are on a month-to-month or annual contract. Fees for SaaS services that are renewed annually can creep up on you, and before you realize 12 months have gone by, the service may have already taken money off of your credit card. Again, this comes back to an audit—look at what your company is using, keep track of when the services will renew, and make sure they’re actually being used before renewing them. Also make sure the renewal dates are stored in your catalog of services and applications.
10. Have an end-of-life process.
The great thing about the cloud is that solutions come and go—new, potentially better solutions are always on the horizon. When these new services come out, it’s important to properly end the life of the old service that will be replaced. This means deleting accounts for all users, transferring data to the new service, and canceling any subscriptions you no longer wish to pay for. It’s very easy to leave trails of cloud services behind, so make sure you take the time to perform a routine cleanup.
It’s also possible for cloud services to evolve and potentially become part of another service. For example, Yammer used to be an independant (paid) service, but is now available as part of Office 365 free of charge. If you don’t keep up with these changes in products, you may end up wasting some money.
Manage Your Multi-Cloud Users
If you feel like you’ve lost control of the users in your cloud, implement some (or all) of these helpful tips. By keeping track of the changes in your organization, mapping your users and services, and managing the applications being used, you’ll take back full control of your multi-cloud environment, leaving you with nothing but the benefits of the cloud.
If you’d like help managing your multi-cloud services, contact us to see what our services can do for you.