Mike Middaugh
Stax on Stax
03 Mar 2021

Day Two in the Cloud: Translating the Business Case into Reality

You’ve done it– you and your team have made it to the cloud. Congratulations!

Whether you’ve completed a migration, you’ve established with a net-new ecosystem, or some combination of both, getting through the project to Day One in the cloud is a major achievement and one worth celebrating.

But what happens now?

For many organizations embracing a cloud transformation, Day Two is where the real challenge begins.

Now your ecosystem needs to be maintained, updates applied, and resources kept secure. All too often organizations spend excessive amounts of time and money on maintaining their environment, when instead they could be focused on business-critical tasks and innovation.

And all too often, their best efforts fail and their ecosystem becomes less secure, less efficient, and more expensive.

So, the question becomes: how can you eliminate these challenges?

Foundations as a Service

Without a solid foundation for an AWS ecosystem, maintenance can become laborious, involving repetitive, time-consuming tasks. But without this level of attention, cloud configurations may atrophy, exposing your organization to security risks, such as the recent attack on Australian transportation and logistics organization Toll Group, where sensitive data was leaked to the dark web.

To avoid such critical incidents, there are common elements that every cloud environment requires in order to safely deploy workloads in AWS, including:

  • Centralized security and logging services
  • Security controls applied to all accounts
  • Security guardrails to prevent misuse
  • Identity & access management with role-based access to AWS accounts

But even if you start off following best practice for compliance and security (and that’s a big if), it’s likely you’ll experience ecosystem degradation unless you have a team dedicated to maintaining and updating your cloud services.

Without ongoing maintenance, your dev and production environments will start to diverge, leaving your production environment out of date—halting the release of new services while issues are fixed. A developer poised and ready to release some code will instead be drawn into a time-consuming project to update the environment.

In another scenario, your DevOps experts might leave, taking all that knowledge and skill with them. Replacing them won’t be easy in a competitive job market. While you’re busy recruiting your environment will slip further out of date.

With Stax’s evergreen cloud ecosystem, you can remove these risks and enjoy ongoing benefits which improve your cloud posture.

Streamlining the Day-to-day

With Day One done and your workloads deployed to AWS, what is the next priority? In the case of a migration, once you’ve done the Lift and Shift, Day Two means you can get on with refactoring, right-sizing and building new cloud-native apps.

But you’ll need to ensure you have necessary guardrails and security controls in place before you get started. Under AWS’ Shared Responsibility Model, AWS assumes responsibility for underlying infrastructure services, while customers are responsible for the security of their own accounts.

In practice, getting started in the cloud may involve engineers writing automation scripts to bypass the manual creation of accounts, setting up user access, permissions and security controls. Writing these scripts takes time, as they must be created and tested prior to being put into production (and be maintained thereafter, potentially by a team of specialists), which can lead to inflated costs due to delivery delays, and increased risk of human error.

There’s also ongoing maintenance. AWS release new services daily, and monitoring these can create a lot of work for engineering teams—checking for new releases, reviewing them, testing the implementation and finally rolling out across all accounts, both old and new.

When this maintenance is not performed, the production and development environments can grow out of sync, which we call ‘drift’. This can impact delivery of new services and slow your team down, as issues relating to out-of-date accounts are fixed.

Stax helps you solve these problems, with secure guardrails and repeatable patterns designed to industry best practice standards, allowing you to tailor your cloud ecosystem to your specific needs.

Start Strong, Stay Strong

With ongoing maintenance and operational health monitoring, Stax provides an evergreen solution, ensuring your cloud stays safe and secure with new updates and features being rolled out regularly. By removing the need for ongoing upkeep, organizations and users can focus on delivering value by building and deploying applications, rather than diverting attention to configuring and maintaining AWS environments.

Stax enables and monitors best-practice security controls—including CIS AWS Foundations Benchmark, the AWS Well-Architected Framework and other enterprise standards—ensuring controls are enabled and enforced on both existing and new accounts. This makes standing up new accounts a quick and easy process, with no chance of new accounts drifting from existing baselines.

After migration you may find you have applications sprawled across various accounts, and consolidate them using CloudFormation—the AWS model for collecting, provisioning and managing related AWS and third-party resources as a stack. This model relies on Infrastructure as Code: the use of high-level descriptive coding language to automate and speed up the provisioning of infrastructure.

Stax provides oversight of CloudFormation stacks deployed across all accounts from one single location—within Workloads. Workloads allow you to easily manage, deploy and update your applications from one place, without the need to navigate between accounts.

Automatic provisioning of SSO allows engineers to grant access to newly created accounts simply by editing permissions, saving time on configuration and routing activities.

Stax can analyze AWS spend, and highlight potential optimizations. You may over-provisioning instances, using expensive storage options unnecessarily, or just paying for infrastructure that’s not being used. Whether the solution requires right sizing or a larger re-architecture project, Stax can help you reduce wasted AWS spend.

In other words, Stax streamlines working in the cloud— Day One, Day Two, and beyond.

Keen to learn more?

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