Cloud Management: Automated Alerts vs Managed Revisions

30 April 2019 | Posted by Josh Bouk

In today’s cloud-centric enterprise, effective cloud management is immeasurably important. Whether to gain visibility over a multi-cloud environment, better manage cloud security and compliance recommendations, or track and forecast resource usage and spend on a daily, weekly, or yearly cycle, an effective cloud management strategy is all-important.

But in the face of myriad native tools, third-party services, and expert consultants all clamoring for an opportunity to prove their worth, it’s easy to grow tired of breathless adverts and hard to discern which cloud management platform will perform. Often, the best first decision is to decide whether you’d prefer automated DIY tool alerts to help you keep a handle on your cloud, or a dedicated cloud management service to do it for you.

To inform your decision, in this post, I provide a comparative analysis of the two approaches.

Automated Alerts vs Managed Revisions

Beyond the obvious distinction – one is a tool and the other a managed service – the differences between automated alerts and managed revisions are seldom examined. But, in the context of cloud management, the two approaches could not be more disparate.

Automated Alerts

A pre-programed notification sent to the inbox of designated recipients when cloud health deviates outside the bounds of agreed levels. The tool performs continual monitoring of the enterprise environment and does not discriminate upon number of push notifications sent. All data parsed to the recipient must be analyzed, understood, and acted upon manually – alerts can rarely be accepted and implemented without significant intervention.

Managed Revisions

A set of optimization practices performed by a team of cloud-accredited professionals who have analyzed data, discerned best-practice action, and have confirmation from enterprise cloud decision-maker. The service performs continual monitoring of the enterprise environment but will analyze false-positive notifications, inapplicable data, and generic update alerts before sending seeking revision approval. All alerts can be accepted and implemented quickly, with minimal intervention from decision-maker.

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Benefits and Limitations

Evidenced above, the differences between automated alerts and managed revisions are many and significant. Here’s what that means in a practical sense for you and your cloud.

Alert Volume

Automated Alerts

Cloud management tools – such as Microsoft Cloudyn or AWS Trusted Advisor – are programed to send alert notifications whenever a change to the cloud is detected. In an enterprise environment, where provisioned services, spread across multiple geographical locations, are spun-up and spun-down on a near-continual basis, this can equate to hundreds of alerts every day. And for IT cloud teams, this often results in “alert fatigue” – whereby vital alerts are missed due to an overabundance of insignificant notifications. In fact, according to a McAfee report, among IT security professionals, 32% report they ignore automated alerts because so many are false-positives, highlighting the extent of the problem.

Managed Revisions

Contrary to automated alert tools, a cloud management service will only send notifications when express permission is required for a revision to take place. This can take the form of a deletion of an unused service to mitigate unnecessary spend or the implementation of encryption protocols to safeguard valuable data. Only when data needs to be acted upon will a notification be sent. This alleviates any form of “alert fatigue” and ensures vital notifications which require action are not overlooked.

Time-Management

Automated Alerts

In addition to the vast quantity of notifications sent, the time taken to analyze, understand, and act upon automated alerts is a significant time-sink task. This is not only prevalent for security alerts but extends to cost optimization as well. Considering that monitoring the cloud for changes is not the primary role of the IT cloud team – the time taken to effectively action every notification significantly detracts from their primary role.

Managed Revisions

Thanks to the significantly fewer notifications received, as well as the ability to quickly action tasks with an accept and implement command, managed revisions are much more effective for time-management. Performed by cloud accredited experts, managed revisions enable your IT cloud team to continue with their primary roles – be it the migration of sensitive workloads to the cloud or to support DevOps applications in their function.

Expert Insight

Automated Alerts

Such is their nature, cloud management tools deliver value equal to the knowledge of the user operating them. So, for organizations that lack cloud computing knowledge and resources – an increasingly large number – automated alerts delivered by cloud management tools provide little value. In support of this statement, the McAfee report mentioned above states that, among IT security professionals, 40% say that the alerts they receive lack actionable intelligence to investigate.

Managed Revisions

Delivered by a team of cloud-accredited professionals, managed revisions are delivered in accordance with best-practices. All operations are carried out by experts well-versed in using CSP tools, verifying change logs, looking at trended consumption for resources, and understanding the business purpose for the instance, adding strategic value at every stage. 

Cloud Management Services

Depending on your internal cloud expertise, environment visibility, and time resource, the benefits of managed revisions over automated alerts are copious and plentiful. On the one hand you have a set of automated alerts which require action to be taken by a workforce already stretched, while on the other, all cost optimization and security recommendations are carried out without the internal struggles.

For the precocious enterprise, investing in a cloud management service will not only deliver an array of optimization and cost benefits in the short-term, but with Gartner predicting cloud adoption will continue to rise, it’ll provide both commercial and general advantages long into the future.

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Topics: Cloud Management Services

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