Cloud Asset Management

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your cloud assets

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What is cloud asset management?

Asset management is a key function to the running of any successful business. It’s a discipline that looks at how assets are procured, maintained, upgraded and disposed of in an efficient and cost-effective way.

Cloud asset management (CAM) applies this process to a company’s cloud environments. Most modern organizations use multiple cloud-based applications to manage their digital assets; CAM helps to organize those assets with greater levels of visibility and control, streamlining workflows and improving functionality.

Cloud asset management refers to both the management of assets in the cloud — such as customer data stored on external servers, mobile app APIs, etc. — and the management of constituent parts of your cloud environment.

The sheer volume of devices and solutions connected to a network at the enterprise level makes CAM impossible without the deployment of asset management software. Without asset management in the cloud, organizations risk facing mounting costs and cybersecurity breaches, as well as obscuring visibility of their own cloud infrastructure and the assets’ data within it. 

Benefits of cloud asset management

Cloud issues arise when organizations lose track of their cloud asset inventory. When companies introduce effective CAM procedures, they unlock a range of benefits, including:

  • Visibility — One of the primary benefits of CAM is gaining full visibility over all of your assets in cloud or even multi-cloud environments. This in turn facilitates more accurate lifecycle management processes, leading to greater levels of optimization for all of your cloud contracts and cloud-based assets.
  • Automations — A fundamental part of cloud computing and therefore CAM, automations are part of what makes the cloud so efficient. With automated features and services, cloud resources can integrate seamlessly with one another, and new asset costs can be tracked in real time.
  • Security/compliance — Improved visibility often leads to improved cloud security — that is, you need one for assurances on the other. Cloud asset management solutions can tick the boxes of security and compliance regulations even as cloud environments continue to expand.
  • Reduced cloud costs — Any solution that optimizes business processes will lead to reduced costs, which is exactly what you can expect from cloud asset management. When you have greater visibility across asset tracking, enhanced abilities to perform automations and better assurances over security, cost savings are virtually guaranteed.
  • Scalability — Compared to on-premise solutions, cloud migration offers organizations the ability to scale their workloads at pace. One of the key metrics cloud providers such as AWS are measured on is scalability, with machine learning management tools able to monitor metadata as your company’s cloud use expands.

Best practices in cloud asset management

Although cloud-based asset management brings many benefits when done well, this isn’t a given — organizations still need to adhere to best practices to make it a success and improve asset lifecycles. 

Here’s what cloud-based asset management best practices look like:

 

  1. Operational excellence – Operational excellence is a blueprint for all successful management processes, and CAM is no different. Automation, monitoring, notifications, alerts, data logging and reporting systems are all vital to successful asset management in the cloud. Understanding your organization’s cloud capacity and peak traffic times is also essential in order to maintain operational excellence.
  2. Cost and performance optimization – Optimization is about having the necessary tools to effectively monitor cloud asset performance: what’s working, what isn’t, and how can we generate better value for money from our cloud services and products? These are the kinds of questions that lead to higher levels of optimization.Cloud cost optimization is closely linked to performance optimization, asking similar questions to glean whether employees are getting the most out of a service. Employees therefore play a crucial role in performance optimization, because improved visibility stimulates greater worker responsibility. Make sure you implement feedback loops from your employees to learn how your CAM application can be improved.
  3. System reliability – Consistent and reliable system performance is important across all facets of business management. System reliability is first assured by service providers, but maintaining that reliability is a responsibility shared by everyone working within the system.

Cloud asset management tools

An effective CAM strategy requires specialized tools in a number of areas to provide visibility, automation, security, compliance, cost reduction, and scalability. Here’s an overview of products to consider for each focus within cloud asset management.

Monitoring and analytics

Clear visibility across your cloud assets is essential. Monitoring and analytics tools help track performance metrics, identify issues in real time, and enable data-driven decisions to optimize cloud resource usage. 

  • Datadog provides detailed observability for DevOps teams through comprehensive cloud monitoring, analytics and dashboards to track performance metrics. 
  • New Relic offers real-time monitoring, diagnostics, and analytics for cloud environments, and can deliver detailed insights into application performance.  
  • Splunk excels in providing analysis, visualizations, and insights from machine data across diverse cloud services, which is particularly beneficial for enterprises with complex cloud infrastructures.

Resource optimization

Effective resource optimization tools make it easy to identify cost-saving opportunities and reduce the burden of manual resource management. The following solutions allow organizations to reduce unnecessary expenses, enhance resource utilization, and maintain budget control within their cloud operations.

  • The Cloud Cost Optimization platform from Vertice provides actionable recommendations and automatic fine-tuning of your AWS services based on over 75 optimization tests, helping cut cloud expenses by up to 25%. It also offers white-glove services like contract management and EDP discount negotiation.
  • VMware Tanzu CloudHealth offers a range of multi-cloud management tools, letting you optimize resources and cost across GCP, Azure, OCI, AWS, and Alibaba cloud deployments. 
  • Turbonomic from IBM provides sophisticated flows for automatically managing and migrating cloud assets across different providers.

Security and compliance

Security and compliance tools are crucial for protecting cloud assets, ensuring your infrastructure remains safe from attack and adheres to regulatory standards.

  • Sophos provides solutions for protecting all your cloud assets, including EDR and XDR for endpoint protection, ZTNA and NDR for network protection, and cloud workload protection and cloud security posture management (CSPM). It also offers SecOps and managed security services. 
  • CloudGuard by Check Point offers a suite of tools for cloud security and compliance across multiple environments, prioritizing a prevention-first approach to protect your systems. 
  • NetSkope provides an all-in-one platform enabling SASE and zero-trust architecture across your cloud assets through functions like SSE, SWG, CASB, and ZTNA. It includes sophisticated AI protection features that help companies keep up with the ever-evolving threat landscape.  

Identity and access management (IAM)

IAM solutions let organizations manage user identities and access permissions, ensuring only authorized employees have access to sensitive data and resources. By leveraging these tools, you can simplify access management across your cloud assets and enhance your overall security posture.

  • Okta provides multiple features for secure identity management across your workforce, including single sign-on (SSO), adaptive multi-factor authentication (MFA), identity governance tools, and privileged access management (PAM).
  • Microsoft Entra ID, formerly Azure Active Directory, integrates with various cloud services to provide multi-cloud identity and access management.
  • AWS Identity and Access Management provides robust control of user access and permissions across AWS services.

Specialist tools

While many products offer a broad scope of features for asset management in cloud computing, sometimes you need to leverage a more specific tool. Here are some niche players with a narrower focus.

  • Kubernetes management – Rancher and KubeSphere offer powerful solutions for cluster management, deployment, scaling, and visibility of K8s containers.
  • Hybrid cloud – VMware vRealize Suite touts comprehensive hybrid cloud management, automation, and monitoring capabilities. Red Hat OpenShift provides a platform for managing containerized applications across hybrid cloud environments.
  • Database management – Tools like Amazon RDS can simplify database administration tasks like backups, patching, and scaling across various engines, while solutions like MongoDB Atlas offer a fully managed cloud database service that’s highly secure and scalable.
  • Machine learning – CAM solutions for ML include Databricks, which provides management of AI models alongside data intelligence tools, and Google AI Platform, which offers end-to-end tools for building, deploying, and managing machine learning models on Google Cloud.

Managing assets in the cloud

When it comes to the cloud, it’s easy to get tripped up by jargon and terminology. While this page primarily focuses on cloud asset management (CAM), you might also have heard of asset management in the cloud. These two concepts are similar, but there is a distinction: 

  • CAM refers to management of cloud-based resources like compute, storage, containers, machine learning services, and other cloud products.
  • Asset management in the cloud involves managing assets housed on a cloud platform — like APIs for mobile apps, data within a storage solution, or software applications deployed in the cloud — focusing on optimizing the use, security, and performance of these cloud-housed assets.

Just like CAM, you can also streamline and optimize your asset management in the cloud. Here’s a step-by-step process:

  • Understand your assets – You should start by cataloging all assets hosted in the cloud, including data, applications, APIs, and other digital resources, and classify them based on importance, usage patterns, and associated costs. This asset data provides a solid foundation for optimization activities.
  • Monitor performance – Tools like Splunk and Datadog can track the performance and health of cloud-housed assets. A few useful metrics to review include response times, uptime, and error rates. 
  • Manage security – Keeping your cloud-based assets safe requires a range of measures including endpoint security, threat detection, and data loss prevention. IAM solutions like Okta or Entra ID can be used to simplify user access and permissions to your assets housed in the cloud. 
  • Optimize costs – Make sure your solutions are aligned with your business goals and are appropriately sized. Tools like the SaaS Purchasing Platform from Vertice can help identify underutilized licenses for software assets, while auto-scaling policies can adjust resource usage based on demand. 
  • Back up your data – Ensure your assets hosted in the cloud are backed up regularly, and implement a disaster recovery plan in case something goes awry.
  • Automate and integrate – Practices like continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) can streamline deployment and management of applications in the cloud. APIs should also be monitored to ensure maximum performance and security.

Optimize your cloud asset management with Vertice

The rapid rate of digital transformation initiatives has resulted in half of organizations today experiencing increasing cloud costs, with annual increases typically over the 30% mark. We estimate that, on average, companies are wasting an average of $1m on their cloud services every year. 

The Vertice platform has been designed to reverse these pricing trends. For too long, cloud migrations and the use of cloud-based services and products have been overseen by inadequate management systems. Using our cloud asset management solution, your business can cut its cloud costs by up to 25%.

Our CAM platform helps optimize IT asset management and provides more accurate forecasts for the months and years ahead. It does this by:

  • Automating the monitoring of your cloud environment for cost-saving opportunities. 
  • Providing granular visibility of your cloud use to help you understand, control and forecast your costs, maintaining efficient collaboration between finance and tech teams.
  • Implementing the platform at speed, offering near-instant access to automated savings, actionable cost-saving recommendations and easy-to-read dashboards.

The platform’s access to your cloud environment is through read-only permissions. We then aggregate all your cloud spend onto one platform, immediately offering insights once your connection is live. One of those insight tools is our Platform Instance Optimizer, which can cut compute spend by up to 60%.

The Vertice platform is the only integrated platform for cloud and software license spend. For more information about how our platform can perform cloud cost optimization and better align business operations, click on the link.

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Cloud asset management FAQs

Further reading

Cloud asset management is a broad topic encompassing a wide range of focuses. Effective CAM requires an in-depth understanding of these areas — our handy guides will get you up to speed.

Check out the articles below for more information on topics related to cloud asset management:

  • Cloud FinOps – Learn how to optimize cloud spending and ensure cost efficiency through effective financial operations (FinOps) in the cloud;
  • Cloud visibility – Discover tools and strategies to gain comprehensive visibility into cloud environments, aiding in the effective tracking and management of cloud assets;
  • Cloud optimization – Explore methods to enhance the performance and efficiency of cloud resources while reducing costs, essential for effective CAM;
  • Cloud management – Understand the best practices and tools for managing cloud resources, ensuring optimal performance and compliance across your cloud infrastructure;
  • Multi-cloud management platforms – Learn about platforms that help manage assets across multiple cloud providers, simplifying operations and improving efficiency in a multi-cloud environment;
  • SaaS spend management – Find out how to manage and reduce SaaS expenses by tracking usage and identifying areas of potential savings, a key component of overall cloud asset management;
  • SaaS contract negotiation – Gain insights into negotiating SaaS contracts effectively to secure favorable terms and conditions, aiding in the efficient management of SaaS assets;
  • Shadow IT – Learn about the risks and challenges of unmanaged IT assets within organizations and strategies to bring them under control, ensuring all cloud assets are properly managed.