What is Cloud Sprawl, and how can you prevent it?

Cloud sprawl is a concept that has come about relatively recently with the rapid rise of cloud services. The term refers to the organization insufficiently monitoring cloud services, resulting in over-spending by purchasing services that are not needed. It is all too common that managers fail to revoke user accounts for services like Office 365, or leave Azure and Amazon EC2 instances active beyond their actual use, which eats through budget. Additionally, different departments using different cloud providers for individual projects causes a lack of consistency and incompatible APIs.

Does this sound slightly familiar to you? If so, you are probably remembering the issue of shadow IT, which we’ve discussed before here. To refresh your memory, shadow IT refers to users within an organization signing up for software and cloud services without the permission of IT, causing serious compliance issues. Cloud sprawl is similar to shadow IT in that it involves employees being eager to sign up for a solution that they want, and thus doing so without consulting IT. This causes a multitude of problems, such as lack of employee collaboration on a single cloud solution, cloud security risks and wasted funds. All in all, not an ideal situation.

The way in which to avoid the issues associated with cloud sprawl involves having the right resources in place. IT managers should become as educated as possible about their cloud platforms and how they work, as knowledge is one of the best forms of management. In addition, a great IT management tool in place provides the organization with control and visibility of their cloud environment. A solution like Vizor manages all cloud subscriptions in one place and shows exactly where user accounts are assigned. This will make the IT manager’s life significantly easier by automating assignments and deployments on the ever-growing cloud platform. Vizor’s self-service app portal is also a guaranteed and simple way to eliminate shadow IT and cloud sprawl, as it allows users to enter the system and request applications themselves, with the approval processes and subsequent deployment taken care of automatically. And who wouldn’t want that?

For some valuable education in using a software asset management system to its full potential, watch our 30-minute webinar, “5 Steps to Better Software Asset Management”, HERE!

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