Cloud Visibility

Gain a comprehensive view of
your cloud usage and spend

Gone are the days where finance leaders need to rely on tech teams to demonstrate cloud efficiency. With complete cloud coverage, you can now gain much-needed visibility into your cloud spend and usage.

What is cloud visibility?

Cloud visibility refers to an organization’s ability to have a clear and comprehensive view of their cloud infrastructure, usage and spend.

It typically involves tracking the utilization and performance of cloud resources such as virtual machines, storage, databases and networking components, while analyzing spending patterns across each service, project or department in order to identify cost optimization opportunities.

Why is cloud visibility hard to achieve?

In short – because cloud environments won’t stop growing. The average business uses at least 100 different cloud apps in 2024, with larger enterprises easily topping 400. As use cases evolve and software proliferates, gaining a holistic overview of an organization’s entire cloud ecosystem gets increasingly difficult. 

But this is just the tip of the iceberg. Sprawling cloud landscapes generate a deluge of data in the form of logs, metrics, and traces that can quickly become overwhelming. The inherent scalability that makes cloud services so appealing also adds to the challenge. 

Moreover, cloud environments at larger organizations are rarely monolithic, often leveraging a mix of public clouds (e.g. Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, or Microsoft Azure), private clouds, and on-premises data centers. The fragmented landscape is hard to consolidate without a clear roadmap, posing an extra challenge for cloud and multi-cloud visibility.

Cost, security, and access visibility

Achieving holistic cloud visibility requires careful attention to a few key areas — cost, security, and access. These fundamental foundations of cloud visibility help organizations generate higher profitability, security posture, and workflow optimization.

Cloud cost visibility 

Cloud cost visibility revolves around monitoring cloud computing expenses for more efficient resource allocation and cost optimization. This involves various cloud spend categories. For example, an organization could categorize cloud spend into resource usage, software licenses, data transfer fees, and SaaS procurement. 

But tracking and understanding how these areas contribute to cloud spend is no easy feat. A few of the main obstacles include: 

  • Shadow IT – Unauthorized and undetected software purchases and subscriptions eroding budget. 
  • Redundant subscriptions – Unused applications due to software upgrades that haven’t been canceled. 
  • Over-provisioned resources – Allocating more computing power, storage, or network resources than your workloads actually require. 
  • Lack of automation – Wasting effort and resources on simple, repetitive tasks that could easily be automated. 
  • Hybrid and multi-cloud environments – More complex computing ecosystems are harder to track. 

 

Navigating these cloud cost visibility challenges has numerous benefits. Organizations can leverage more cost-effective cloud networks while boosting the capacity for scaling and proactive cost optimization. 

 

Achieving this requires attention to several areas. Businesses must leverage cloud cost visibility tools to implement cost-saving automation, optimize software procurement, gather real-time insights, and scan billing for redundant or shadow subscriptions. White papers and industry reports on cloud cost management can also further insights into cost visibility and best practices. 

Cloud security visibility 

Cloud security visibility is targeted more towards security posture management, with organizations monitoring their environments to ensure watertight safety and compliance. Important security areas include user activity, resource access, network traffic, shadow IT, malware identification, unauthorized access attempts, and more. 

Achieving complete cloud security visibility enables proactive threat detection and security issue remediation before any major escalation. Organizations can run into the following obstacles on the journey to 360º security posture: 

  • Shared responsibility model – Cloud security is a shared responsibility. Cloud providers secure the underlying infrastructure, while organizations are responsible for securing their data and applications deployed on the cloud. This can pose unique configuration challenges and requires careful attention for optimal security integration. 
  • Multi-cloud and hybrid environments – As with cloud cost visibility, the complex nature of many modern multi-cloud and hybrid cloud deployments can make identifying security issues more difficult. 
  • Data deluge – Cloud security visibility requires extensive data capture and processing power, making it difficult to manage and analyze without the right tools and infrastructure. The sheer volume of information can be overwhelming, obscuring potential security threats behind a wall of data. 

Cloud security tools can help navigate these pitfalls. For example, security information and event management (SIEM) software can collect, analyze, and correlate security data, while cloud security posture management (CSPM) solutions can provide real-time insights and recommendations to ward off potential cyberattacks. 

Organizations can also implement robust identity and access management (IAM) practices to control access to cloud resources. Investing budget into organization-wide security training is another way to enhance cloud security visibility. 

Cloud access visibility 

Cloud access visibility shifts focus to understanding and monitoring the way users interact with cloud resources. Organizations must track user activity, access privileges, and permissions to clearly visualize the overall access landscape. 

Doing so is vital for security and compliance concerns, as mistakes or rogue actors can lead to costly data breaches and lawsuits. Some of the main hurdles to consider include:

  • Consistent onboarding and offboarding – Large enterprises can be dealing with thousands of user onboarding and offboarding processes at a time, making tracking user access much harder. 
  • Misconfiguration and excessive user access – Misconfigurations across cloud deployments and overly privileged user access create security vulnerabilities. Monitoring this can be challenging.  
  • Shadow IT – On top of harming cloud cost visibility, shadow IT also poses a cloud access visibility challenge due to user profiles slipping through the net. 

Gathering necessary insights into cloud access visibility is essential for enhanced security and cost optimization. Doing so can stop potential data breaches at root while ensuring regulatory compliance and improving resource management. 

Fortunately, organizations can enhance cloud access visibility in numerous ways. Leveraging IAM solutions is essential to centralize user provisioning, access control, and permission management. Businesses should also monitor user activity to identify suspicious behavior and implement strong password policies. 

Challenges posed by limited cloud visibility

Focusing on cloud visibility is fundamental for several high-profile reasons. Organizations can face the following challenges if their management strategies aren’t effective:  

  • Blind spots – Cloud visibility is crucial to avoiding blind spots in an organization’s SaaS stack. These landscapes are often extremely complex, with hundreds of applications interacting across a network using multiple coding languages. Effective management is impossible if certain areas aren’t visible, throwing up significant issues. Blind spots not only cause potential security issues but reduce opportunities to manage wastage and optimize workloads. The Vertice platform visualizes your cloud network to help eliminate gray areas and provide complete cloud visibility. 
  • Vulnerabilities – Cloud security is generally more demanding than on-premises networks, mainly due to the complexity and size of enterprise SaaS stacks. Security teams must cover far more ground, making it easier to miss chinks in an organization’s armor. For example, a vulnerability in an unpatched cloud service deployed on Microsoft Azure could be exploited by attackers, leading to a data breach and avoidable costs. Organization security posture is compromised without complete visibility over a cloud network, so it’s a particularly pertinent reason to optimize your strategy. 
  • Inefficient spending – Limited cloud visibility naturally leads to inefficient spending. Businesses cannot achieve cost optimization without clear insights into resource allocation and general usage. Imagine a scenario where a DevOps team mistakenly provisions a high-powered server for a low-traffic service operating in the background of a project. Without the cloud visibility to highlight this resource usage, an organization could carry a financial burden for no reason. The Vertice platform provides a birds-eye view of your cloud usage and spend to pinpoint areas for improvement. Cloud bills can increase by an average of 35% year-on-year, so limiting inefficient spending has never been so important.
  • Underutilized resources – Poor cloud visibility doesn’t only influence inefficient spending, it also leads to chronically underutilized resources. For example, a marketing team for a large enterprise could mistakenly opt for a cloud subscription that dwarfs the project’s resource usage, particularly if the problem involves technical decision-making involving data the team is unfamiliar with. Limited cloud visibility would mean this goes unnoticed, whereas a more centralized approach with unified data would quickly highlight the discrepancy. The team could reduce spending or ramp up the marketing campaign accordingly, creating much better value.

Opportunities cloud visibility offers to businesses

 Cloud and multi-cloud visibility generate significant opportunities for businesses to streamline and optimize their cloud operations. For example: 

  • Remediation – Cloud visibility encourages consistent fine-tuning and remediation for security, compliance, or general efficiency. Unified real-time data from across a cloud network allows you to identify performance issues, security threats, configuration errors, or regulatory oversights quickly and effectively. Try troubleshooting a problem without seeing the complete picture – each stab in the dark wastes resources and potentially elevates threat levels. Cloud visibility allows a pinpoint approach to remediation, optimizing your operations. 
  • Orchestration – Cloud and multi-cloud visibility offers an opportunity to streamline orchestration across a network. Musicians cannot perform a symphony without both hearing one another and having guidance from a central conductor. The same goes for containerized cloud applications. Organizations can leverage orchestration tools like Kubernetes to automate, standardize, and optimize cloud applications. However, without the data insights revealed by complete cloud visibility, they will be fighting a losing battle. On the other hand, readily-available metrics allows Kubernetes to optimize deployments, scaling, and resource allocation more effectively. In effect, the conductor is finally able to see the orchestra. 
  • Scalability – Complete cloud visibility is the key to efficiently scaling resources up or down across a network. Consistent monitoring and data logging uncovers usage patterns that can represent clear opportunities to resources more effectively. Whether this is rightsizing to optimize cloud costs or spotting an area where operations could be expanded to drive more revenue, the same principles apply. 
  • Security – Robust network security is a mission-critical concern in all organizations, no matter their overall function or size. Cloud and multi-cloud visibility improve security posture by identifying potential vulnerabilities like misconfigurations or unauthorized access attempts before they can be exploited. This proactive approach pays serious dividends, simultaneously optimizing security resources to be as cost-effective as possible and curtailing extra costs and workloads caused by a serious security breach. Cloud security posture management (CSPM) and identity and access management (IAM) tools can significantly improve mitigation through the cloud visibility they enable. The Vertice platform also provides readily available insights into vendor compliance and security information to ensure you build your stack with strong security at the foundations. 
  • Observability – Cloud visibility requires an organization to move beyond basic monitoring towards fully-fledged observability. This involves a deeper understanding of a cloud network on a more observable level. Use the Vertice platform, for example, and you’ll see a visualized breakdown of your cloud stack using logs, metrics, and traces to analyze application performance, cost allocation, and the security health of your cloud environment.  
  • Multi-cloud visibility – Strategies to implement better cloud visibility, like orchestrated containerizations and integrated dashboards, will lead to improved multi-cloud visibility if an organization ever needs to scale up. Strong foundations in this regard help businesses approach cloud spend more dynamically. For example, you might find a certain SaaS is more efficient running on a particular cloud provider or as part of a private cloud. But you would never know without the essential multi-cloud visibility required. 
  • Actionable insights – Cloud and multi-cloud visibility generates an optimal foundation for actionable insights across an organization. The holistic and exhaustive approach to data collection fuels sustained insights into everything from cost allocation to security and compliance. But the real difference compared to limited cloud visibility is the speed it takes to resolve issues with these insights. Through orchestration, aggregation, and clear contextualisation, businesses can take action without requiring any further research or troubleshooting. For example, the Vertice cloud cost optimization platform can cut cloud spend by 25% thanks to granular visibility, anomaly alerting, and smart approval workflows – insights that can be actioned immediately to optimize your cloud network.

Cloud visibility tools

Achieving complete cloud visibility without the relevant tools is impossible, and most organizations process far too much data from disparate and complex cloud environments to go it alone. Cloud visibility tools form the backbone of an effective strategy, helping with data analysis, resource allocation, cost optimization, and security management. 

For example, the Vertice Cloud Cost Optimization platform enhances cloud spend visibility with real-time granular reporting, providing valuable insights into an organization’s financial cloud approach. The solution can also automate provisioning for reserved instances (RIs) with advanced algorithms. 

Generally speaking, cloud visibility tools can also help with the following features: 

  • Security monitoring Some cloud visibility tools offer security features that monitor user activity, network traffic, and potential security threats. They can help identify suspicious behavior, detect vulnerability, and improve your overall cloud posture.  
  • Cost management – As mentioned, cloud visibility services like the Vertice platform can significantly enhance cost management. These tools help organizations identify underutilized resources, suggest cost-saving alternatives, and provide cloud cost optimization insights. 
  • Resource allocation – Cloud visibility platforms track cloud resources like compute instances, storage volumes, network resources, and software licenses. This information allows businesses to rightsize resources, remediate inefficiencies, and track usage patterns for proactive resource optimization strategies.
  • Performance monitoring – Cloud visibility solutions also have extensive performance monitoring features for analyzing cloud application and infrastructure efficiency. Organizations can consequently identify bottlenecks, diagnose performance issues, and ensure maximum operational efficiency. 
  • Real-time data reporting – Optimal cloud visibility necessitates extensive data reporting. This is particularly important for security concerns, where any delay in reporting security breaches or unauthorized access attempts can have serious consequences.
  • Compliance updates – Cloud visibility software also helps organizations maintain regulatory compliance through automated alerts and a comprehensive picture of your subscriptions, permissions, and data storage protocols.

Gain unparalleled insights into your cloud usage and spend

Lack of cloud visibility is often a major challenge for finance leaders, with many unaware of what exactly is contributing to their cloud bill and why costs are increasing by an average of 35% year-on-year. 

With Vertice, you can now easily understand how your cloud spend adds up with a visual breakdown of your cloud estate, for example by product, service, category or purchase option. You will also be alerted in real-time to any irregularities in your usage that may impact cost. 

With this insight, you can more accurately attribute your costs and forecast spend.

Pinpoint savings opportunities with total cloud visibility

Not only is a manual approach to cloud management incredibly difficult, but even with a dedicated cloud FinOps team it’s virtually impossible to uncover every saving.

With continuous monitoring of your cloud health, Vertice can uncover all idle and underutilized resources, enabling you to make more informed decisions on which services need to be right-sized, suspended or shut down.

The platform also provides you with full visibility of your Reserved Instance (RI) inventory, allowing you to manage everything in one place, while benefiting from Vertice’s advanced algorithms that trade these RIs on your behalf.

 

Reduce friction between Finance and DevOps

In many organizations, there’s an ever-growing tension between finance and tech teams. While the CFOs goal is to manage the cost of cloud utilization and ensure the budget is spent wisely, the CTO is focused on leveraging technology to become a market-leading solution and achieve a competitive advantage.

With limited cloud visibility, finance leaders are often reliant on their technical colleagues to demonstrate cloud efficiency and provide a breakdown of how the budget is being spent. For many, this is a challenge, with 55% citing the lack of transparency as their number one issue.

With Vertice’s Cloud Cost Optimization platform, this no longer has to be a problem. By providing all stakeholders with a unified and simplified view of cloud spend and usage, Vertice reduces friction between teams, while further improving collaboration.

Ready to cut your cloud spend by up to 25%?

Over $1 million is wasted each year by the average organization. This no longer has to be the case.

 
Your cloud costs don’t need to be sky high. Discover the new industry standard for cost-effective cloud management.

Cloud visibility FAQs

Further reading

Vertice is far more than just a cloud cost optimization and SaaS management solution. Our experts are well-versed in cloud dynamics and provide users with various resources to help them gain a clear understanding of security, output optimization, and profitability, and more.  

Here are a few suggestions for further reading: 

  • Cloud providers – Get to know the various cloud providers and what services they offer.
  • Cloud spend management – Learn how to optimize cloud spend with targeted strategies. 
  • Cloud management – Discover the benefits of cloud management, as well as challenges, best practices, and more.
  • Cloud integrations – Understand the fundamentals of cloud integration and how to leverage these capabilities within your stack.
  • Cloud security tools – Improve your cloud security posture by discovering the main strategies and potential obstacles to look out for.