The cost-savings of moving to cloud technologies have been one of the big drivers of adoption over the last decade. And while it’s true that cloud technologies enable businesses more capabilities with fewer upfront costs than traditional software, costs can also easily sneak up on you.
Companies and their employees adopt services without a real plan in place, and then when annual renewals come around, the overall expense is more than initially expected.
Have your cloud costs been getting higher than you planned? If so, we have several tips below that can help you optimize your cloud environment while lowering the amount you’re paying each month.
1. Do a User Account Audit
One thing that can cause cloud costs to get out of hand is if user accounts aren’t closed properly.
For example, if you have an office administrator handling your cloud account user provisioning rather than a cloud services professional, they could easily forget to close an account when an employee leaves.
They might also not want to lose the data in that user’s account and be unsure how to transfer it to another user. So, they leave the account open on your subscription plan.
Unused cloud accounts both increase your costs and can pose a security risk. That large ransomware attack that shut down Colonial Pipeline for nearly a week in 2021 was the result of the breach of an unused VPN account that was never closed.
Do an audit of all your user accounts in all cloud platforms that your business uses. Close out any unnecessary user accounts either for employees that are no longer with your company or that may have changed positions and no longer need access to a certain app as a result.
2. Review Your Cloud Infrastructure for Redundant Apps
When a cloud infrastructure isn’t well managed, companies can end up with redundant apps, which means they’re paying for two different apps that do the same thing.
Some employees may adopt one video conferencing app they like, while others use a different one that they prefer. This type of redundancy means unnecessary costs for your company.
The average number of duplicate apps per company is 3.6.
Find out what apps employees are using and research their features to ensure you’re not paying for an additional subscription unnecessarily.
3. Uncover Uses of Shadow IT
Some estimates put the use of cloud shadow IT at 10x the size of known cloud usage. This could mean that a majority of your cloud spending is for apps that haven’t been officially approved by you or your IT team.
Shadow IT is another of those issues that is both a problem for cybersecurity and your cloud budget. Costs can balloon with employees submitting reimbursements for tools that you have no idea they’re using, or what data is being stored in them.
It’s a good idea to conduct an annual employee cloud security survey to ask employees to list all the apps they use in their workflows. Cross-reference this against any payments that you’re making for cloud tools or cloud tool reimbursements.
4. Consolidate Into as Few Separate Cloud Platforms as Possible
You can often save significant costs on your SaaS tools by using an all-in-one platform that incorporates multiple apps for one subscription price. Examples would be Microsoft 365, Google Workspace, and the Zendesk suite of applications.
Another benefit of consolidating your cloud use into as few separate platforms as possible is that tools in the same platform will natively be integrated for data sharing and automation, increasing productivity and saving time.
5. Regularly Review Plan Levels
When was the last time you reviewed the plan levels for your cloud subscriptions? Things like the growth in your number of users and a change in workflows can mean that you would save money with a different plan than you initially signed up for.
Additionally, SaaS providers will sometimes change their plan offerings and costs, and if you haven’t checked lately, you could be missing a better deal.
Review your cloud subscriptions to ensure you are still at the most cost-effective plan level for your needs.
6. Put Cloud Cost Monitoring in Place
Once you’ve gone through the exercises above to lower your cloud costs, those costs can easily creep up again over time if you don’t keep an eye on them. You want to put regular monitoring in place for your cloud costs to ensure they stay manageable.
You could do this in a few different ways, including putting an alert in place should your cloud spend reach a certain level. Another good check and balance is to review your cloud plans and costs at least 6 weeks before an annual subscription renewal is due so you’re not locked into a plan that doesn’t fit you any longer.
Get Help Optimizing Your Cloud Environment & Improving Cost-Efficiency
Cloud expenses can easily get out of hand if you don’t have a plan. Rocky Knoll Technologies can help your Charlotte area business put cloud optimization practices in place to get the most out of your tools while paying less.
Schedule a consultation by calling 704.594.7292 or reach us online.