Understanding and reducing cloud costs

reducing cloud costs

Any expense that is mismanaged will end up costing your company dearly, even if that expense was for investing in tools that are supposed to cut costs. This holds true even for public cloud services. While cloud computing helps you avoid spending on expensive IT hardware, software licenses, and repair and maintenance costs, you might experience bill shock because of an entirely different set of costs. Here are a few tips to help you control your cloud expenses:

Know what you’ll be charged for

One of the best ways to avoid bill shock is by becoming completely aware of what’s coming. For instance, work with your prospective cloud service provider to see how much you want to spend on different types of data storage.
One type lets you inexpensively archive data for long-term record-keeping purposes but charges extra to retrieve such data, whereas another type of storage is for data that is constantly updated and fetched to facilitate business processes online. The latter type charges less for data retrieval, but will cost more if you also use it to archive past versions — normally, such data is either overwritten or archived lest these cause your storage requirements to balloon.
If you’re looking to use cloud-based apps such as Microsoft Office 365, it’s best to review the pricing models available to see which ones best fit your needs. Some models charge a flat rate for each user regardless of how many there are, whereas others offer package deals that effectively lower the per-user rate when you meet certain count thresholds.

Never be locked in to just one cloud vendor

While cloud service providers may all look the same from a distance, they can actually be different from one another upon closer inspection. One may have the most economical offering for data archives, whereas another may be more affordable for another type of workload.
While it may increase data management complexity, having more than one vendor is ideal because it keeps you from becoming over-reliant on just one provider. If that provider suddenly becomes a victim of a massive cyberattack or has to shut down its business for good, the downtime you may end up suffering can be catastrophic for your own business. And even if you’re able to find another provider to migrate to, the emergency migration itself can be very costly.

Mind your integration costs

Given the admonition against vendor lock-in, you’ll have to look into all the costs that using multiple public cloud vendors can incur. Integrations and data transfers across clouds can rack up charges, so it’s crucial to have a dashboard that lets you track how much you’re spending across your entire multi-cloud setup.

Optimize your cloud spend

In other words, cut cost inefficiencies by always keeping an eye out for cloud resources that are not being fully utilized. Below are very practical and actionable tips that let you do just that.
●     Make teams keep track of their cloud expenses. Each cloud resource must have a clear owner so that everyone knows who is spending how much on what. This allows teams to set realistic budgets based on actual usage and prevents them from incurring additional unjustified cloud expenses.
●     Implement an approval system for provisioning cloud resources. Because the cloud is becoming less difficult and less expensive to use, it’s now easier to use more and more of it and lose track of how much you’ll end up spending. For instance, network staff might add virtualized servers, or system admins might suddenly obtain new cloud services such as rights management. Before you know it, your company is racking up more expenses than it can handle, so you’re advised to make cloud service purchases go through an approval process to prevent costs from ballooning.
●     Sync your cloud usage with your operating hours. Many cloud instances don’t need to run 24/7 to support your processes. Use an instance scheduling program to set start and stop schedules to shut down environments you don’t use past business hours.
●     Always be on top of your storage life cycle. Look for storage volumes you no longer use; back these up in your archives, then take them away so that they won’t incur unnecessary costs.
●     Keep track of every sandbox or trial account. Many Software-as-a-Service programs offer free trials, but will often charge your account automatically if you don’t cancel before the trial period expires. Impart to your staff that while their initiative for exploring business solutions is appreciated, they must still exercise care by going through your approval system before taking on a new expense.
●     Outsource your cloud cost management tasks to a vendor. There are more cost-saving measures not mentioned in this article yet, and doing them all requires a lot of know-how and time. You’re definitely better off leaving these to experts.
Don’t let the cloud swell into a stormy cost center that casts a dark shadow over your business. Turn to our experts at SimplyClouds for assistance. Drop us a lineto learn how you can make the most of the cloud and turn it into a significant positive contributor to your bottom line.

Categories: Best practices, Cloud expenses, Cloud strategy, Cloud management

Tags: cloud services, data storage, cloud providers, Software-as-a-Service, SaaS, cloud cost management