From Compliance Headaches to Workload Failures: 5 Common Dangers of Unmonitored Cloud Environments

Stacy Cote

Switching to the cloud helps your organization create agile infrastructure to run your applications, store data, and even optimize network performance. Yet limited resources, staff, and time make it challenging to spend sufficient time manually monitoring cloud environments needed for a remote workforce that’s up and running. Ignoring this crucial piece of your infrastructure, however, can lead to significant issues and expose your business to potential risks. Let’s take a closer look at what cloud environment monitoring is, what happens when you’re not monitoring performance closely, and solutions that can help you avoid these common risks.

What Is Cloud Monitoring?

Organizations are increasingly moving applications, workloads, and data to the cloud. Not only does cloud infrastructure provide agility and performance improvements, but it also provides greater visibility into overall performance. With cloud monitoring tools, you can track the performance, health, and online status of your cloud-based assets. Proactive monitoring can help you prevent cybersecurity issues, minimize downtime or application delays, and keep track of usage and spending.

Cloud monitoring can help you avoid these common dangers:

  1. Failure to Identify and Respond to Workload Failures—When a key workload fails, it’s imperative to know about it as soon as possible to get things back on track. If you’re relying on manual monitoring, it may be hours—or in some cases, even days—before a member of your staff notices that a workload failure has occurred. Cloud environment monitoring can alert you the instant a job fails, and your team can quickly take corrective action. For instance, if a nightly job errors out and cloud monitoring identifies the problem, an IT resource can investigate, perform corrective action, and restart the job. This allows the job to complete closer to on-schedule, eliminating the systemwide challenges these failures can create and reducing the number of unhappy internal and external stakeholders.
  • Lack of Real-time Insights into Application Performance and Uptime—As organizations rely on applications more and more, ensuring they’re up and running is key. Cloud monitoring provides real-time visibility into application and server uptime. IT teams can know instantly if a problem is occurring and take proactive steps to remedy it before it impedes employee productivity or customer satisfaction. Cloud monitoring can also help you optimize the performance of applications that are up and running. With the right tools, you can develop real-time visibility into application performance to understand response time, frequency of use, and where glitches may be creating roadblocks.
  • Not Preventing Security or Data Breaches—A PWC study found that CEOs noted early in 2020 that cybersecurity was among their chief concerns. With the threat landscape rapidly evolving, it’s important that you have a pulse on what’s happening on your network and within your data center. Any intrusion into your cloud environment could put your data at risk or create a security leak. A data breach has a serious real-time impact. Not only does it create significant work for your team to manage, but there’s also a reputational cost that’s hard to quantify. One recent study from the Ponemon Institute and IBM Security estimates that in 2020, a data breach can cost $3.86 million to rectify.
  • Failure to Meet Compliance Standards—As data compliance standards evolve, organizations need control of their data and applications in order to comply. While some industries—like healthcare and finance—are particularly under scrutiny, areas such as PCI compliance and GDPR privacy protections in Europe can touch any organization. With real-time monitoring of your cloud environment, it’s possible to detect any situations that might constitute a compliance issue and address them before they become a significant issue. Log management solutions also make it easier to comply with information tracking and retention, and to provide the necessary data and audit logs if they’re required for compliance assessments.
  • Limited Oversight Doesn’t Prevent Cost Creep—If you’re utilizing a “pay for what you use” cloud provider or one that bills in tiers, proactive monitoring is a must for keeping costs in check. Often, your storage strategy will include different layers of storage with critical data you need access to stored in the cloud and older, archived data accessible through other means. Monitoring is essential to keeping those limits in sight. However, when you’re not watching this issue, you can be hit with an unexpectedly high bill from your provider. With cloud environment monitoring, you can identify when storage is climbing higher and when steps might be needed to mitigate cost creep.

IT Managed Services Modernizes Cloud Monitoring

If these risks feel all too familiar, you’re not alone. Many organizations don’t capture the full return on investment they expect from making the switch to cloud, because they haven’t mastered monitoring. Often, developing an in-house solution isn’t practical due to a lean IT staff or limited skills. A partner that offers Managed IT Services can provide around-the-clock monitoring and skilled staff to respond to incidents in real-time. This can help mitigate risks and provide the smooth foundation for a successful cloud experience.

Managed IT Services can help you track service availability, defend against sophisticated threats, keep pace with the regulatory environment, and address complex business requirements. Don’t let a lean IT team or lack of specific skills keep you from developing a cutting-edge cloud monitoring and security program and maintaining it proactively. Connection’s IT Managed Services solution provides the protection, visibility, and oversight to ensure you’re operating at full speed. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.

Stacy is the manager of Microsoft Cloud Solutions Program Operations at Connection. Stacy is a Microsoft Certified Professional with software licensing experience across all Microsoft product lines and five years of specialization in cloud products. In her free time, Stacy enjoys cooking and spending time with her three children.