As cloud computing continues to grow in popularity, it’s more important than ever for small businesses to understand how to effectively manage their cloud costs. The benefits of cloud services are clear: increased flexibility, scalability, and access to powerful tools and resources. However, without proper cloud cost management, the expenses involved can quickly spiral.
This guide explores best practices for cloud cost management and provides actionable strategies to manage these costs effectively.
What is Cloud Cost Management?
Cloud cost management is the process of monitoring, controlling, and reporting on the costs of cloud computing services. Small businesses can manage cloud costs by identifying cost drivers, tracking cloud licenses and usage, and implementing cost optimization techniques to cut unnecessary expenses.
What is Cloud Cost Optimization?
Cloud cost optimization is the practice of maximizing your cloud investments and reducing costs where needed. Based on insights from your cloud cost management process, cloud cost optimization ensures you are getting value from your cloud services, and that spend is in alignment with your overall business goals.
Cloud Cost Management Tools and Software
There are a wide range of cloud cost management tools and software available to help small businesses control their cloud costs. These tools are broadly grouped into the following categories:
Cloud Cost Management Platforms
With features such as cost forecasting, rightsizing, and cost allocation, you can use these tools to monitor and analyze your cloud costs from a centralized dashboard.
Cloud Cost Optimization Tools
Cloud cost optimization tools can be used to identify and eliminate idle resources, allocate budget efficiently, and generate recommendations for savings.
Cloud Billing and Invoicing Tools
These tools help track and manage your cloud bills and invoices and give you a detailed cost breakdown. You can also use this type of software to set custom billing and budget alerts.
Cloud Governance and Compliance Tools
Cloud governance and compliance tools help ensure your business follows the applicable regulatory and security requirements with access control and auditing features.
Cloud Automation and Orchestration Tools
Cloud automation and orchestration tools are useful to streamline repetitive tasks, reducing the need for manual intervention. These tools also give you visibility into your cloud usage patterns and spending, and can help optimize your cloud license management.
Benefits of Cloud Cost Management
Cloud cost management sets out procedures to monitor, control, and optimize your cloud costs. Having a cloud cost management strategy in place has 6 key benefits, including:
1. Better Visibility
With a cloud cost management strategy in place, you gain a clear, accessible view of your cloud costs and usage patterns, allowing you to identify areas that need optimization.
2. Cost Savings
A cloud cost management strategy helps your business reduce cloud costs and avoid unexpected expenses. The right cloud management tools also ensure your spend is invested wisely.
3. Increased Efficiency
Putting a cloud cost management strategy in place improves the efficiency of your cloud services usage, leading to improved performance and reduced downtime.
4. Better Scalability
Monitoring your cloud services usage patterns and adjusting resource allocation as needed allows you to scale quickly as demands change.
5. Improved Compliance
By implementing cloud governance and compliance tools, you can ensure your cloud usage complies with regulatory and security requirements, avoiding costly fines and breaches.
6. Better Allocation of Resources
Cloud cost management strategies equip you to track and allocate costs to specific departments, teams, or projects, ensuring your investments are targeted to the right initiatives.
The Top 5 Cloud Cost Management Strategies
The following cloud cost management best practices will help you get the most from your cloud expenditure.
1. Rightsize Underutilized Resources
Rightsizing involves adjusting the size and number of cloud resources to align with the actual usage patterns in your business. By rightsizing, you avoid over-provisioning or under-provisioning, meaning you only pay for the necessary resources. Regularly monitoring resource usage and identifying underutilized resources helps your business adapt quickly to meet your needs.
2. Monitor Cloud Cost Anomalies
Monitoring cloud cost anomalies involves observing usage patterns and identifying any unexpected spikes or outliers in costs. These irregularities could result from a sudden increase in usage, misconfigured resources, or a billing error. Monitoring these anomalies can help you quickly identify and address any issues, preventing costs from spiraling out of control.
3. Leverage Spot Instances
Spot instances allow you to bid on spare cloud capacity at a discounted rate. Leveraging spot instances means you benefit from unused resources, reducing overall cloud costs. However, keep in mind that your cloud provider can terminate spot instances if they are unpredictable.
4. Configure Fixed Uptime and Downtime Schedules
Configuring fixed uptime and downtime schedules involves setting specific times for when resources should be active and when they should be shut down. This practice helps you reduce costs by only paying for resources when you need them.
5. Use the Right Storage Systems
Select suitable cloud storage systems based on performance, security, and scalability. Remember that the cheapest upfront option could cost you later on, so keep these factors in mind when trusting a new provider with your data.