How to Enforce Public Cloud Tagging Strategies Across Your Enterprise

6 August 2020 | Posted by Matt Willis

An effective public cloud tagging strategy provides better visibility of your cloud infrastructure by assigning metadata labels to your resources. These tags are separate to your code architecture and are only meaningful within your business – letting internal teams or your cloud management provider build a strategy that is bespoke to your cloud needs.

With the help of an effective public cloud tagging strategy, vital information such as cloud spend or usage is easier to find, helping to improve cloud financial management.

Our previous blog, How to Tag Cloud Resources, details the best practice methods you should follow when implementing a public cloud tagging strategy. Including how to design your tagging vocabulary, and how to tag in AWS, Azure, or GCP.

With these key points covered, this blog will explain how to ensure that the public cloud tagging strategy you devise is understood and implemented across your enterprise.

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Four Ways to Enforce Enterprise Public Cloud Tagging Strategies

By creating a strategy that is clear and relevant to your business needs, you’ll stay on track with your initial cloud financial management goals. Here are four ways to get your public cloud tagging strategy going:

1. Communicate Your Plans

It's vital to understand the needs of internal teams and stakeholders when implementing a public cloud tagging strategy. Ultimately, cloud tagging will optimize and improve processes within your business, so ask teams and stakeholders what they want to see improved. This ensures tags represent the needs of your entire business, not just individual teams.

2. Audit Your Cloud

After you understand your team's and stakeholder's needs, you must now better understand your cloud assets.

For an effective public cloud tagging strategy, you'll need full visibility and understanding of what exists in your organization's cloud. Multi-cloud or hybrid environments are the new norm, and intricate pricing structures only add to the complexity of truly understanding cloud infrastructure and spend. 

Conduct a comprehensive cloud audit to identify cloud usage, reduce cloud waste, and optimize cloud spend before continuing. This will improve visibility of what exists in the cloud, letting you devise a strategy that is bespoke to your public cloud requirements and aligned with team and stakeholder needs. 

3. Automate Your Processes

Initially, it may appear more straightforward to keep your tagging strategy simple and only increase its complexity as the system grows. This will make plans easier to understand for internal teams and stakeholders. 

However, an over-simplified strategy with fewer tags will require more work after deployment, and won't fully solve the problems you faced in the first place. To overcome this, don't reduce the number of tags you use. Instead, include as many tag values as your business needs, and standardize the tag values to eliminate the chance of mistakes. Then, automate your tagging processes so it's straightforward to assign relevant tags no matter how large your system grows. Here are two methods of automating your tagging process:

  • Set up an automatic tag enforcement within your chosen cloud provider's tag editor. Each provider will have different methods of applying this, intuitively tagging resources with a standard set of values defined by you. Or, let a trusted cloud inventory & financial management provider handle the manual work for you, to improve efficiency across your public cloud infrastructure. 
  • Utilize infrastructure as code for launching resources by creating predefined templates. You can do this by using Cloudformation, ARM, Terraform, or Chef, for example. Following this, add your required tag keys that are outlined in your companies tagging strategy to the templates. This requires the user that launches it to enter a value before successfully launching. Then, only allow people to launch through these predefined templates to automate processes.

4. Use an Enterprise-level Cloud Cost Platform

Managing and decoding tag values can become difficult when handling thousands of resources. Disparate systems or separate spreadsheets make it easy to lose track of tag values, definitions, spelling variations, and even typos that inevitably occur when manually managing cloud tagging strategies. Put together, these minor instances can become major roadblocks to implementing effective public cloud tagging. 

Using a centralized database to manage cloud inventory and financial data will help your enterprise overcome these problems. A cloud management platform provides real-time visibility of your cloud resources, no matter how large or complex. This gives you greater understanding of where to focus your public cloud tagging strategy, so it is effective across your entire enterprise.  

Build a Powerful Public Cloud Tagging Strategy

An effective public cloud tagging strategy can help your business  organize the cloud and understand usage or spend. This can be achieved alone, or you can enlist the help of an expert cloud management provider to gain a deeper understanding of how to optimize your cloud environment. 

At Cass, we perform a thorough audit of your cloud assets. We identify misapplied tags and recommend best-practices to enhance your tagging policy, to reduce manual work for your internal teams, and reveal new ways to optimize your cloud infrastructure.

Learn more about our cloud management services and discover how we can improve cloud cost management for your enterprise today.

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