IT is now at the heart of every business and maximizing the use of your technology should be a top priority. Breaking down all the moving parts of can help you uncomplicate tech. We’ve already written about solutions for optimizing your IT environment, but Governance is a company-wide solution worth more than a paragraph explanation.
Governance aligns your technology with your business goals and establishes clear processes and best practices across users and departments. This creates a cohesive and transparent IT landscape. Keep in mind, governance tends to establish a hierarchy, and when it comes to governance with technology, your business decision makers and senior-level IT staff are at the top.
Now, governance is a broad topic that can be applied anywhere within a business structure. Within IT alone, there are numerous ways to establish governance. We’ve already shared a guide to establishing governance in Microsoft Teams to help businesses clarify what functionalities are available to whom in the collaboration platform. On a large scale, you can also create IT Governance, Cloud Governance, and Identity Governance within your organization.
When everyone knows how to use the technology provided to them, IT becomes simple, efficient, and works for your business. Let’s dive in!
Gartner defines IT governance as, “the processes that ensure the effective and efficient use of IT in enabling an organization to achieve its goals.”
IT governance is a broad form of governance that expands across your entire business. It essentially determines what technology you need, how it is used, and who oversees the protocols and processes in place. IT governance brings business-wide organization to your IT, so all members understand how to use the tools provided to them.
For example, when applying IT governance to the Cloud, decision-makers for your business’s IT should decide what can me migrated and how the cloud should be organized for easy access to resources. IT governance should also factor into processes such as Mobile Device Management. Mobile Device Management has become more and more important now that everyone has a phone, and many people are looking to work from their personal devices. Establishing IT governance allows your business to control the security of your data and how it is accessed by establishing rules and procedures for accessing data from a personal device or phone as opposed to a company-controlled device.
When establishing IT governance, there are a few considerations that should be laid out for both your decision makers and other employees.
- What are your business goals? What are your goals for IT? How can the two work together?
- Who is responsible for managing different elements of IT?
- How can organizational resources be accessed? From what devices?
Just like IT governance is key to maintaining an efficient and easy-to-manage IT environment, cloud governance is important when your business chooses to migrate to the cloud at any capacity. Leadership and users need a common understanding of what is on the cloud now, what will be on the cloud in the future, and how to use the cloud.
Whether it be related to cloud implementation, or optimization of a new cloud environment, governance will create clear intention and guidelines as to how the cloud should be used. This ensures all users are on the same page and understand how they specifically should use the resource.
Cloud governance includes leadership’s decision as to what should be migrated to the cloud and when to consolidate hardware and software. This decision should also include the clear timeline and procedures to effectively migrate without interrupting day-to-day work. This decision can also include guidelines for processes such as automation, which can include cloud backups and security scanning.
A few key questions to ask when it comes to establishing cloud governance are:
- What can be migrated, and what should remain physical?
- When should various resources be migrated?
- How can users access the cloud?
- How will we train users on how to use cloud resources?
Identity governance allows for the easy creation of new employees and managing of access and resource assignments. These accesses are predetermined by the role of a user within the company. This will ensure you know how your company information and resources are used.
While managing all the company users and their specific permissions may seem overwhelming, there are ways to make this process less daunting with specific processes and guidelines that are predetermined with identity governance.
End-user training is key when creating new users. Users need to understand what resources are available to them. They should know what they are and are not allowed to do. However, it is also important that users’ permissions align with their role so they are not accessing information they shouldn’t be. Automation can help speed up the onboarding process if you establish groups of permission levels for different roles within your organization. Then, you don’t need to assign everything manually. Microsoft’s Azure AD is a great tool to automate processes associated with the user identity lifecycle.
There is a lot to consider when it comes to identity governance, but here are a few questions to get you started:
- What do our onboarding and offboarding processes look like?
- What permission levels do different roles within the organization need?
- Will we manually assign access or automate the process?
- How will we group permissions?
- How will we decide if permission levels need to be changed?
Is Governance the Right Choice?
There are many different types of governance you can apply to your business, but simply put, governance is the setting of guidelines and processes that lay out how your business—across different departments—will use technology to meet business goals.
Maybe you don’t need governance right now. But, if you value organization within your business, governance may be the best solution to simplify technology, which tends to get complicated. Governance also gives your business flexibility, so when unexpected events hit, you can pivot with ease because you already have a set of best IT practices for your business. With heightened organization, flexibility, and uncomplicated IT, you can ensure your technology is working for your business, not against it.
So, if you are a fan of simplifying technology and having greater flexibility, it’s time to start thinking about governance in your business. If you have more questions about how to simplify IT for your business, contact PEI today!
Anna Ross, PEI