Fresh from the ‘Duh’ Files: Businesses operate differently now than they did 20 years ago. In fact, they operate differently in one major aspect than they did even 5 years ago. People have been dabbling in cloud-like computing all the way back to the 1990s with time-sharing, ASPs and consumer information services, such as CompuServe and AOL.

It really started to become popular, and adopted the name ‘The Cloud’ in 2006, when Amazon Web Services (AWS) introduced S3 and EC2 in 2006. At that point, it was all about having a place to store data, but cloud computing, the Big Game Changer, started to take hold in the 2010s, with an explosion of new business and consumer cloud services along with construction of the hyperscale data centers required to operate them, with Apple iCloud, IBM Cloud and Oracle Cloud all launching.

Cloud usage hit hyper speed after COVID with the emergence of the remote workforce. Every in house IT Services Department and outsourced form of IT support, like Managed Services Providers (MSPs), scrambled to ensure Cybersecurity protections for the ‘work from home’ crowd. At the same time, cloud providers instituted many new innovations to benefit this remote workforce.

So… it’s not your father’s cloud anymore. Today, many companies have moved their entire operations (short of physical aspects like manufacturing) in the cloud. Cloud computing offers scalability, flexibility, and cost-efficiency, but cloud services also come with a downside: cloud waste.

What is cloud waste?

No, it’s not some kind of ‘cyber sludge’ – it refers to money that is wasted. Cloud waste is the unnecessary spending of resources and money on cloud services. This usually occurs when cloud-based services are either not utilized or underutilized. These services are often not fully utilized or optimized. About 32% of cloud spending is wasted. This can lead to budget concerns as spending skyrockets.

That 32% figure represents opportunity. It means that you can reduce nearly a third of cloud spending by optimizing how you use cloud tools.

Here are some smart tactics that can help you reduce cloud waste at your business and save money.

Conduct a Comprehensive Cloud Audit

Audits of various areas of concern on a regular basis is always recommended. Before implementing any cost-cutting strategies, conduct an audit of how you are using the cloud. It's essential to have a clear understanding of your current cloud usage. Conducting a comprehensive cloud audit allows you to identify:

Underutilized resources

Overprovisioned instances

Unnecessary services

Generate reports using cloud management tools, then look at usage patterns, costs, and performance metrics. This initial assessment forms the foundation for implementing effective waste reduction tactics.

Implement ‘Right-Sizing’ Strategies

This consists of matching your cloud resources to the actual demands of your workloads. It is very common for businesses to fall into the trap of overprovisioning. This means securing more user licenses or features needed, which adds to increased costs and unnecessary waste.

Evaluate your workload requirements and resize instances accordingly using tools provided by your cloud service provider. These tools can identify and adjust the capacity of instances. This ensures that you only pay for the resources you truly need.

Utilize Reserved Instances and Savings Plans

Cost-saving options like Reserved Instances (RIs) and Savings Plans are among the handy tools that cloud providers offer. These allow businesses to commit to a specific amount of usage. This is in exchange for discounted rates. By leveraging these options, you can significantly reduce your cloud costs over time.

Analyze your workload and usage patterns carefully to determine the most cost-effective reserved capacity or savings plan. Find a plan that aligns with your business's long-term goals.

Install Automated Scaling Policies

Automated scaling policies ensure that your infrastructure scales up or down based on demand. This will optimize performance and prevent overprovisioning during periods of low activity.

Each of the major cloud services enable you to set predefined policies for scaling. AWS has Auto Scaling and Microsoft Azure has Autoscale. These features help ensure efficient resource utilization without manual intervention.

Track Your Storage and Optimize it

This is one of the original popular uses of the cloud: storage. But those costs can add up quickly, especially when data is not regularly reviewed and archived. It’s important to accurately estimate your storage needs so you can put in place lifecycle policies to automatically downsize lesser-used data. One example is to transition less frequently accessed data to lower-cost storage options.

Review and delete unnecessary data on a regular basis to free up storage space. Adopt a proactive approach to storage management. This can help you significantly reduce associated costs.

Cloud Resource Scheduling

You can save money by scheduling your cloud resources to run only when you need them. For example, turn off development, testing, or staging environments during nights and weekends or scale down your production environment during off-peak hours.

This is just common sense. You don’t need to cool or heat a 60,000 square foot facility at night when only the watchman is on duty – get him a space heater or a window A/C unit. The same goes for your cloud processes. Use available tools to automate the scheduling of your cloud resources based on the automated rules and policies that you define.

Get Rid of Orphaned or Unused Cloud Resources

This is just like your own computer: how many apps are still installed but never used? Get rid of them! Sometimes you may forget or neglect to delete cloud resources that you no longer need or use. This can include:




Load balancers

IP addresses

Unused accounts

These can incur unnecessary costs when accumulated over time. Avoid this by regularly auditing your cloud environment. Delete any orphaned or unused resources because they are just costly dead weight. You can often use cloud provider tools to find and remove these.

Get Rid of Duplicate Services

Consolidate the cloud services you use under one company policy. Different departments may use various apps that do the same thing. Marketing may use one task management app, while Sales uses a different one. Get organized and whittle these down to ONE company wide app. Centralize cloud resources and remove duplicate tools.

With everyone using the same cloud tool for the same function, you save money while you enhance collaboration, reporting, and data integration by removing confusion.

Institute a Serverless Architecture

Servers are headed down the same road as the horse and buggy, and there will come the day nobody needs one locally. Serverless computing allows businesses to run applications without managing the underlying infrastructure. You pay only for the actual computing resources used for your processes, thus eliminating the need for provisioning and maintaining servers, which reduces both operational complexity and costs. Consider migrating suitable workloads to a serverless model. This can help you optimize resource use and cut cloud waste.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which cloud service type is best?

As with any tool, it depends on your company’s needs. In general, Microsoft wins the day, with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Workspace close behind. AWS and Google produce a good-enough product, but both companies’ trustworthiness in the marketplace remains a question mark. Google fails to guarantee not to sell your data (a major source of their profits), and both have been known to shut down or censor enterprises for nebulous or political reasons.

Microsoft has sealed the gaps that other cloud providers are still just patching together. Microsoft 365 is a platform that is truly fully integrated and negotiates full cloud operations with ease and the best security.

On C-Sharp Corner, Mahesh Chand provides an intriguing breakdown in his article ‘Top 10 Cloud Service Providers of 2024’.

How do I choose the best cloud service provider?

There are as many levels of quality within the cloud hosting community as there are in the IT Support community. If you have an IT vendor whose knowledge and experience you trust, they will already have done the homework – rely on their expertise.

It is important to examine factors such as a potential cloud service’s level of Certifications & Standards – and to a look at the prospect’s bottom line – how healthy is the cloud host’s company? Over the decades, many once-healthy technology providers have gone under – leaving their customers in the lurch.

Cloud Industry Forum provides a roadmap of the top ‘8 criteria to ensure you select the right cloud service provider’.

How do I protect my cloud data from hackers?

1) Back up your data locally – in a NAS or SAN unit not connected to your main network – so you maintain control of your data that hackers cannot get to. You may want to go the extra mile and secure your most sensitive data locally, rather than in the cloud.
2) Use a cloud service that automatically encrypts your data, and make sure it is set up to do so.

Is the cloud completely secure?

The short answer is NO. Nothing is 100% secure, although the data you store in the cloud can be made more secure than the data you store on your local network or workstation hard drive. The best Cloud services providers use the strongest security measures available, such as:
Security Updates
AI and Auto-patching
Data Backup Redundancies
Third-party security testing

Battling hackers and malware is like a game of ‘Whack-a-Mole’ – crooks always find new ways to get around yesterday’s best security defenses. Stop one threat and another one pops up immediately. The crooks learn from their failures, and they don’t sleep on the job – neither should you.

How secure is your network?

As a reputable member of the IT Support Los Angeles community since 2002, IT Support LA offers a FREE, no-risk network and security assessment. It is a non-intrusive scan that allows us to deliver a comprehensive report that is yours to keep. No strings, and no obligation to ever use our Managed IT Services.

The best defenses are expert Cybersecurity to protect your data from theft, and a top-notch Managed Services Provider to ensure continued reliability and defenses against newly emerging threats.

With our 100% Money Back Guarantee in writing, we offer a risk-free way for prospective clients to try us out. Because we do not require a ‘hard’ contract, our clients can fire us at any time with 30 days’ notice. We have to be good.

Among the Managed IT services we provide:

IT HelpDesk Service
Onsite IT Support
Cloud migration and management
Email migration services
Backup and disaster recovery
VoIP phone systems
IT disposition and recycling
Office moves
White label services (IT to IT)

IT Support LA is an award-winning Managed Services Provider (MSP):
o  3 Years awarded Best IT by the Small Business Expo
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o  Winner of Best IT in Los Angeles by Channel Futures
o  Listed as one of the world’s Top 501 Managed Services Providers by CRN and in the top 250 in the ‘Pioneer’ listing
o  4 years listed as one of the Top 501 Managed Services Providers in the World by Channel Futures
o  Listed as #21 MSP in the World in Channel Futures NextGen 101
o  Globee 2021 Bronze Award winner for Chief Technology Officer of the Year
o  Globee 2022 Gold Award winner for Chief Technology Officer of the Year
o  Named one of 2022’s 50 ‘Best’ businesses in California by UpCity
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Be Proactive About Cybersecurity – Schedule an Assessment

It's clear that the security landscape will continue to evolve rapidly. Organizations and individuals must proactively prepare for emerging threats. This includes adopting advanced technologies and prioritizing workforce development as well as staying abreast of regulatory changes.

Put a comprehensive network security strategy in place. One that encompasses these predictions. This will help you navigate the digital frontier with resilience and vigilance.

Need help ensuring a secure and trustworthy digital environment for years to come? Contact us today to schedule a network and Cybersecurity assessment.