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Controlled Self-Service – A Resource-Control Requirement

The first of the five essential characteristics of cloud computing as defined by NIST is “On-demand self-service. A consumer can unilaterally provision computing capabilities, such as server time and network storage, as needed automatically without requiring human interaction with each service’s provider.”CloudComputing.561c1f14cab08

While many ask “where will that self-service portal come from?” and many vendors have endeavored to provide a good answer, most IT executives, especially at larger corporations, must take issue with the inclusion of the word “unilaterally.” Rarely is anyone ever given unilateral access to anything and noted best practices forbid it. This is especially true when using Microsoft Azure which offers a tremendous selection of powerful services and resources. Insecure access is simply not an option.

The solution to both the source of the portal, and the need to express tight control, are best answered right now by the creation of custom portals that are bespoke designed for just this purpose; to allow self-service access to Azure resources based on user role and identity, all according to established policy and business rules. When you enforce the policies you control the portal, you control resource access, which means you the user and avoid unwanted use or access.

Critical to this process is the establishment of clearly defined business rules governing access to specific Azure and other resources. Since they are a core component of the network operation, users must become very familiar with the policies governing their utilization. Beyond that, they must form the foundation of the construction of the self-service access portal.

Hanu has been engaged by two multinational corporations to build custom self-serve portals to manage their resources on Azure. Both companies needed a controlled process to offer Microsoft Azure to their staff. They did not want to just give the staff carte blanc access to the Azure Portal. A custom self-service portal allows customers to limit their Azure spend and to control “shadow IT”.

For more information on controlled self-service portals, including highlights of some of the portals we’ve constructed, talk to the experts at Hanu. Learn from our experience.

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