Understanding Your Level of Risk Across Each Cloud Consumption Model

Understanding Your Level of Risk

Across Each Cloud Consumption Model

Understanding Your Level of Risk Across Each Cloud Consumption Model

As organizations continue their transformation from an on-premise IT infrastructure to the cloud, there are some lingering key considerations to make regarding cloud consumption models. Organizations must understand what resources are required in the cloud, and what combination of cloud structures will best suit unique business needs. Not only that, but organizations must have a clear and realistic expectation of the budgets required for these structures. These brands must simultaneously ensure that budget expectations match the needs of the business by tracking ongoing spending through a mature and effective cloud governance model with continuous monitoring.

Software Asset Management (SAM) should be a key baseline component of making these structural and financial decisions, as it provides IT teams with the right direction through data inputs. This may come as a surprise to businesses that are just beginning to transform their IT infrastructure, as they assumed that pay-as-you-go cloud subscriptions would render them immune from non-compliance.

However, this is simply not the case – there are pitfalls and compliance risks across every cloud consumption model, although the severity of the risk may vary. Let’s go over how to manage compliance risks from three dominant cloud consumption models.

Managing Infrastructure-as-a-Service Risk

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) models contain the basic building blocks for cloud IT by providing access to networking features, virtual and physical computers, and data storage space. Organizations often enjoy IaaS solutions as they offer the highest level of flexibility and control over IT resources, while bearing a striking resemblance to more familiar IT resources that departments and developers have been using for years.

As an adopter of this cloud consumption model, your responsibility will be to manage the hardware layer. This means that software compliance is still an internal concern. Before even beginning their IaaS migration journey, businesses need to review their current on-premises license agreements to ensure what they own is even eligible for use in the cloud in a “bring your own license” (BYOL) model. Once eligibility is confirmed, organizations should focus on understanding how to best utilize their traditional on-premises licenses within the cloud via a SAM assessment, as this will provide the most significant return on investment. For example, Windows Server licensing with Software Assurance may provide Hybrid Benefits, allowing savvy businesses to save significant money in Azure.

Managing Platform-as-a-Service Risk

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) removes the need for organizations to manage their underlying infrastructure, like hardware and operating systems. This allows them to focus primarily on the deployment and management of applications within the PaaS environment, enabling greater efficiency. After all, your organization won’t need to worry about resource procurement, capacity planning, software maintenance, patching, or any other heavy lifting involved in running your applications on a day-to-day basis.

While compliance risks are somewhat of a concern with PaaS deployments (similar to IaaS when it comes to BYOL products), organizations should first and foremost be concerned with over-spending and predicting future budgets. IaaS / PaaS cloud investments typically start as small testbeds, but bills can quickly grow exponentially. An evaluation of your software assets will help point your organization in the correct direction.

Managing Software-as-a-Service Risk

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is an extremely popular cloud consumption model. With this model, organizations are provided with a complete product that is both run and managed by the service provider. This gives IT professionals significant peace of mind, as they don’t need to worry about maintaining their services, or managing the underlying infrastructure. Instead, IT teams only need to worry about the best way to utilize that particular piece of software.

So long as the regulatory requirements are met and the contractual agreement is understood for your SaaS solution, your organization will likely be at a minimal compliance risk. However, for many SaaS products, regulatory and contractual obligations are very difficult to understand. Not only that, but it’s important to understand how these products are influencing your overall cloud consumption to prevent overspending. Managing this correctly will likely require a consumption management platform combined with an assessment of your SaaS environment.

How Software Asset Management Can Help

While cloud consumption models offer many benefits to your organization, don’t forget that compliance, spending, and the control of the data generated by these programs is ultimately the responsibility of your organization. For this reason, organizations that heavily leverage IaaS, PaaS, and/or SaaS should consider conducting a SAM assessment to ensure all deployments are in compliance and financially optimized.

RightScale’s 2019 State of the Cloud Report indicates that the #1 priority for companies today is cloud cost optimization (for the third year running). Additionally, cloud users are ineffectively optimizing cloud spend – Flexera measured spend waste at 35% on average.

In addition to this, organizations must be confident that the data produced by these cloud solution providers is properly stored and ready to be restored in the event of a data loss event. This will prevent service downtime and the devastating loss of valuable data that could inform operational decisions. For this reason, consider using a mature backup solution that can cover data both on-premises and in the public cloud from a single dashboard – giving you peace of mind that you can restore the data you need as soon as you need it.


Depending on the cloud consumption model that’s chosen, organizations will need to understand the varying levels of risk involving both compliance and overspending. Find out how IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS can all be controlled by Software Asset Management.

Discover Your Level of Risk in Your Cloud Environment

Compliance and overspending risks exist for every cloud consumption model. Learn how to manage compliance risks for IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS deployments.

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Peter Simon

Peter Simon

Software Lifecycle Management Consultant

Certified Flexera Operations Consultant
ServiceNow Certified Implementation Specialist - Software Asset Management

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