Making the cloud a success
Use A Briefing Note
Use A Briefing Note 150 150 CloudGovCo

Instead of a slide presentation on your #cloud project, use a briefing note with six paragraphs:

  1. The Challenge. This defines “where we are now” and is always either a problem or an opportunity.
  2. The Undesired Outcome. This defines “where we don’t want to be”–what will happen if the problem or opportunity is not addressed.
  3. The Desired Outcome. This defines “where we do want to be,” which should obviously be better than the undesired outcome.
  4. The Proposed Solution. This defines what must be done to avoid the undesired outcome and achieve the desired one.
  5. The Risk Remover. Why the proposed solution is likely to succeed and unlikely to fail.
  6. The Call to Action. The decision you want made that will put the solution into motion to achieve the desired outcome.
Adopt a Cloud Framework
Adopt a Cloud Framework 150 150 CloudGovCo

Adopt a #Cloud framework to drive success in a Centre of Excellence. There are six key frameworks you should know. 1) Google Cloud Adoption Framework (Themes: Learn, lead, scale, secure); 2) Google Site Reliability Engineering; 3) AWS Cloud Adoption Framework (Business Perspectives: Business, People, Governance. Technical Perspectives: Platform, Security, Operations.). 4) AWS Well Architected Framework; Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework (Strategy, Plan, Adopt, Migrate, Manage. Govern); and 6) CSA Cloud Controls Matrix. #Google #AWS #CSA-CCM #Azure

Managing Covid
Managing Covid 150 150 CloudGovCo

Far Eastern nations like Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Viet Nam and China have had a superior response to the #Covid pandemic than western nations, and have used technology more effectively. (We’ll get to the apps further down.)

China, of course, had the disadvantage of being ground zero and struggling to identify a new cause of pneumonia.

In the West there has been magical thinking, especially in the USA, UK, and Sweden. In the USA there was denial that Covid could affect white Americans even as multi-cultural California headed for lock-down. The UK and Sweden thought they were exceptional and believed in the psycho-magic of #HerdImmunity.

We know the results. This morning John Hopkins reports the USA had 582,594 Covid confirmed cases and 23,649 deaths. The UK had 89,571 and 11,747 deaths. Half as many deaths as the USA but with only 1/5 the population of the USA.

It’s difficult to compare because of differences in data collection and other factors like different reporting periods and so forth.

However, deaths are the most reliable indicator and John Hopkins analyses mortality rates daily.

The UK, for example, under-reports deaths by not counting those outside a hospital and it has a low rate of testing so its confirmed numbers are also low. Based on the numbers above, the USA has had 72 deaths per million population, while the UK has 2.4 times as many at 176 per million.

Sweden, in an early phase of the pandemic, has 89 per million. Germany has 56.4 and Canada has 20.75 deaths per million.

For comparison South Korea, which chose suppression, has had only 4.3 deaths per million.

The UK was an advocate of the discredited herd immunity theory before it went into lock-down, and is now on track to be the worst case in Europe. The theory holds that if at least 60% of people catch Covid then the total herd of people will be prevented from catching it. It makes many assumptions, such as it’s impossible to catch Covid a second time (we don’t know that), and that deaths will be minimal.

The proven methods are suppression and mitigation, based on experience with the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, Sars, Mers, Ebola and other epidemics. The Far East and New Zealand generally went for suppression, which means going in hard and fast at the outset with large-scale testing, identification of cases, tracking of contacts and quarantine of infectors. Mitigation depends more on social distancing, voluntary isolation, and lock-down to slow the spread of disease to a manageable rate that won’t overwhelm hospitals.

Even so in many cases mitigation was only adopted when disaster was nigh. Canada, for example, was allowing thousands of travellers unchecked through Pearson Airport even after the USA restricted flights, and is still  struggling to expand testing. It only introduced quarantine plans for international travellers today on April 14.

And the USA. of course, was initially the poster child for denial and belief in putting the stock market first.

It seems like some medical authorities and politicians get into a frozen brain state when faced with something novel.

It’s difficult to know what technological tools are being used in China because all of the western reporting is framed about the dire Chinese surveillance state.

National language is also a barrier in finding out about #CovidApps being used in the Far East.

South Korea is using a combination of apps, phone and credit card data to track carriers of the disease. Seoul has an open data portal so you can geo-track local cases.

Taiwan is rolling out a phone app to ensure people who are quarantined stay in their homes. People are also phoned twice a day to confirm their presence.

Singapore also has several apps, including TraceTogether, which uses Bluetooth to track people you have been near. It’s cool because the contact data is stored on your phone only for 30 days.

Unlike a similar app being developed in the UK where data will be stored in a central government registry. Of course it is: the UK is the most surveilled state in the West.

Let us know if you have more information about Covid apps.



Optimize Data Transfer Spending
Optimize Data Transfer Spending 150 150 CloudGovCo

Cloud Service Providers charge for data transfer as NASA recently learned.

Optimising data transfer costs is a key component of financial management in controlling #CloudCosts.

You may be charged for data transfers within your cloud solution, depending on the contract and service-level agreement. This may especially apply to transfers between zones and regions.

  • Evaluate the architecture and design of your solution to avoid unnecessary costs.

You will be charged for data-out transfers from the cloud to on-premises. Your Internet Service Provider will also charge for data transferred over an Internet connection. If you are using a VPN (virtual private network) to enhance security, it will also carry a cost.

  • Evaluate where data is stored to minimise egress charges

Plot workflows to minimize the traffic charges that occur when components scale across different platforms — either from the data center to the cloud, or from one cloud to another.

  • Evaluate the use of a dedicated and direct connection to the cloud to reduce data transfer costs.

You will be charged for data transfers from your application to the Internet.

  • Evaluate the use of a content-delivery network to reduce latency on storage and reduce data transfer costs to the Internet.

You will be charged for data transfers between data centres.

  • Optimize cross-zone/region or cross-cloud traffic by compressing the traffic or using a WAN optimizer.

You will be charged for data retrieval and export from archival data storage such as Amazon Glacier and GoogleCloud StorageNearline. These transfer costs can easily surpass the cost of storage.

Planning for Corvid
Planning for Corvid 150 150 CloudGovCo

With everything that’s happening about the #Coronavirus, it might be very hard to make a decision of what to do today. Should you wait for more information? Do something today? What?

Read Tomas Pueyo’s extraordinary article to get the data, understand the epidemiology, and how your community should be responding to #Covid.

If you overstocked on #ToiletPaper and onions (onions!), you can extrapolate your needs from this home emergency advice and this meal planner, which we wrote on our sister site some years ago.

Pass this on to friends so they can register for their own weekly newsletter of micro topics.

Thanks! and stay safe.

Cloud Cost-Containment Policy
Cloud Cost-Containment Policy 150 150 CloudGovCo

A #CostContainment policy describes automation goals for cost control in the #Cloud.

  • Shutdown workloads after hours
  • Rightsize instances
  • Require tags
  • Use specific expiration dates
  • Eliminate inactive storage
  • Comply with software licences
  • Use allowed instance sizes/types
  • Use discounts
  • Use lowest-cost cloud
  • Use lowest-cost regions
  • Understand data retrieval and export charges
Cost Containment Monitors Cloud Usage
Cost Containment Monitors Cloud Usage 150 150 CloudGovCo

A periodic review of #CloudGovernance should verify that policies and procedures exist to ensure that a cloud solution has a return on investment and contributes to cost containment (including chargeback), continuous cost optimization, and relevant cost controls for managing usage and billing.

These concerns are not so much present #OnPremises or are taken for granted because typically the IT department does not make them transparent to the end business user.

Cost containment monitors and controls cloud usage, and analyzes usage to perform continuous cost optimization. Monitoring should be weekly at a minimum to avoid surprises at the end of the billing period.

Multi-cloud use should be managed carefully because it could have hidden costs. The theory is that costs are reduced if a cloud has a competitive advantage for a type of service. However, tools for multi-cloud management are immature and administrative costs could be very high. Tools for different clouds have poor integration so it is difficult to get a good over view.

Privacy/Data Protection Ensures Security
Privacy/Data Protection Ensures Security 150 150 CloudGovCo

The Five Eyes intelligence agencies are it it again, MacDailNews reports MI5 is trying to get politicians to break encryption and  #PrivacyProtection. Their demand is that the government must be able to read everything you do to keep you secure. Say What?

Back doors in #encryption will give criminals access to our bank accounts and more. Apple CEO Tim Cook says.

There have been people that suggest that we should have a back door. But the reality is if you put a backdoor in, that backdoor’s for everybody, for good guys and bad guys.

The mainstream press plays along, casting the discussion as a spectrum from privacy to security. It’s not. Privacy and data protection provide security. The alternative is pervasive surveillance in dictatorships such as China. Learn about security threats to your well being and what to do with our free security awareness training.

Corvid-19 is actually eating the world
Corvid-19 is actually eating the world 150 150 CloudGovCo

There’s a phrase that software is eating the world but #Corvid19 has shown its financialisation that is killing us. Back in the day the morning business news used to report on jobs in the real economy but soon after deregulation of financial markets in the late 1970s the morning news started featuring the stock market. Media stopped reporting on employment and job figures.

The idea was that the West would shift to designing products and the East would make them. This was nonsense at the time because it was obvious that design expertise would eventually follow manufacturing, so now the West is generally de-industrialized and dependent on financial services. Mostly, we don’t know how to make stuff anymore.

Deregulation was led by UK Margaret Thatcher and USA Ronald Reagan. The neoliberal idea was that by freeing money from monetary controls global wealth would increase at the top and trickle down. Money was free to move around the world but workers were not. So jobs outsourced to the cheapest producing countries and, yes, the rich became the 1% like Michael Bloomberg with his insane accumulated wealth of more than $64 billion.

And now Corvid-19 is actually eating the world. It is exposing the financial bubbles and magical thinking that drive the stock market and cap the real opportunities and wages of workers trapped in a gig economy.

Here are a few ideas of what is needed to restore a healthy economy:

  • Ban short selling, which is purely speculative.
  • Ban automatic machine trades which artificially create chaos.
  • Restrict stock buy-backs by executives.
  • Tax large financial transactions.
  • Tax wealth at the source.
  • Provide a universal minimum income to transfer wealth from the 1%.
  • Provide universal health care.
  • Stop corporate welfare.
  • Develop industrial policies so manufacturing is restored.
  • Stop privatization of public goods and public-private projects.
  • Ban the use of economic sanctions
Protection From Malware
Protection From Malware 150 150 CloudGovCo

This malicious software is usually delivered through an innocent looking email attachment or an unpatched computer. For protection in the #cloud and #onpremises implement Security Awareness Training and:

  • Segment networks with Virtual Local Area Networks (VLAN)
  • Implement a zero-trust security framework
  • Classify data based on its sensitivity to loss using CIA (Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability)
  • Understand where important data is kept and create an effective backup strategy
  • Maintain an air gap to backup systems so they don’t become infected
  • Manage network switches out of band
  • Firewalls should quarantine emails with attachments that come from outside the organization
  • Employees should not open attachments from unknown people or addresses
  • Change default passwords across all access points
  • Use multi-factor authentication (MFA)
  • Data recovery programs should be in place and tested
  • Business continuity programs (BCP) should be in place and tested
  • Train staff to recognise suspicious emails
  • Apply software patches to keep systems up to date