Maximizing Cloud Efficiency: Essential Best Practices for Organizational Success
The Voyage to Cloud Maturity

As cloud adoption accelerates, mastering Amazon Web Services (AWS) has become critical for organizations of all sizes. However, navigating the complexities of the AWS landscape requires more than just a cursory understanding. It demands in-depth technical expertise coupled with strategic alignment of cloud infrastructure with business goals. This is where a skilled AWS consulting partner like BeCloud proves invaluable.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore key AWS best practices in multiple areas that are essential for optimizing cloud operations and ensuring success. For each area, we will provide specific examples and recommendations based on BeCloud's extensive experience in conducting AWS deployments and assessments.

The Need for Specialized Skills and Training

At the core of any effective cloud implementation lies a team of cloud architects and engineers with deep AWS expertise. With new services and updates being continually rolled out, the skills gap is a major obstacle facing many enterprises today. A recent survey by the Cloud Security Alliance found that over 52% of organizations cite a lack of in-house skills as a top barrier to AWS adoption.

BeCloud recognizes this challenge and invests heavily in continuous training and certification for its AWS consultants and architects. But technical prowess is only part of the picture. BeCloud also ensures alignment of skills with organizational goals during implementation. For example, when deploying AWS for medical offices, the team will consist of engineers with strong backgrounds in topics like data encryption, access controls, and compliance audits. This tailored approach ensures the cloud solution matches both infrastructural needs and regulations.

Conducting Regular Operational Readiness Reviews (ORR)

The dynamic nature of the cloud means infrastructure must be continually validated to ensure operational reliability, security, and performance. This is enabled through disciplined Operational Readiness Reviews (ORR) conducted by BeCloud both during initial deployment and at regular intervals post-implementation.

ORRs encompass various aspects like disaster recovery planning, backup validation, and patching protocols [1]. For example, when conducting an ORR on backup systems, BeCloud validates recovery procedures by testing restores of production data to staging environments. Such tests surface issues that are addressed immediately rather than during actual outages.

BeCloud also provides ORR templates customized to each client’s environment and requirements. These can serve as a foundation for organizations to build their own ORRs. Having established frameworks prevents gaps or overlooked issues as infrastructure evolves.

Boosting Efficiency via Customized Runbooks

In compute environments, runtime disruptions are inevitable. Mitigating these in a timely manner requires standardized runbooks outlining response procedures for different scenarios. BeCloud creates runbooks tailored to each client’s unique environment and needs.

For instance, a runbook for recovering from a RDS MySQL failure would include steps like failing over to a read replica, assessing data loss, and re-syncing from backup. The runbook would have parameters to fill in for the specific database instance name, recovery point, etc. Such customization ensures teams have precise guidelines for rapid incident response.

BeCloud also provides runbook templates covering common scenarios like server reboots, cluster scaling, new deployments, etc [2]. These templates establish a uniform structure while allowing customization for environment specifics. Having standardized runbooks eliminates variability and human error during critical operations.

Incident Management via Scenario-Based Playbooks

While runbooks focus on procedural tasks, detailed incident playbooks are essential for managing unexpected disruptions like outages or security breaches. BeCloud creates scenario-based playbooks tailored to each client’s infrastructure and risks.

For example, a playbook for responding to a compromised database server would include steps like isolating the instance, forensic analysis for breach scope, revoking of access keys, restoring data from backup, and implementing new security controls prior to re-deployment. The playbook provides a pre-defined workflow for the response team.

Well-designed playbooks are invaluable in times of crisis, enabling teams to act quickly and effectively. They also improve documentation for post-incident analysis. BeCloud can provide sample playbook templates covering common scenarios like DDoS attacks, exposed credentials, unauthorized access, etc [3]. These templates help organizations incorporate security best practices into their customized playbooks.

Evaluating Risks and Benefits of Changes

Given the pace of innovation from AWS, change is constant. BeCloud employs practices like pre-mortem analysis to evaluate risks associated with any major deployments or alterations to the environment [4].

For instance, when a client wants to migrate a critical application to a serverless architecture, BeCloud will conduct a pre-mortem - a simulated post-deployment review of what could go wrong. This surfaces potential failure points like vendor dependence, rollback challenges, or security gaps upfront. The team then develops mitigation strategies for each risk before proceeding.

Such evaluations enable BeCloud to balance innovation with risk management and compliance. The goal is to ensure changes enhance operational efficiency while aligning with the organization's governance policies and risk appetite.

Crafting Effective Support Plans

Even the most robust cloud implementations can suffer performance issues or outages in third-party dependent services. BeCloud works closely with clients to architect comprehensive support plans to address such disruptions.

This starts with identifying services critical for operations, their uptimes needs, and fallback options. For example, for a client relying on Jira Server for issue tracking, the support plan would include options like premium Atlassian support, configuring high availability with a distributed database cluster, scheduled backups to S3, and maintaining up-to-date OS and Jira patches/upgrades using AWS Systems Manager.

AWS Systems Manager provides features like patch management, infrastructure monitoring, resource configuration, and automation that can simplify managing servers and software.

For third-party software issues, the plans document vendor contacts, service agreements, and patches/upgrades. Such proactive support strategies help minimize business impact of external service problems.


As discussed throughout this guide, managing cloud infrastructure requires specialized expertise combined with sound operational disciplines. BeCloud's AWS certified consultants employ proven best practices honed across hundreds of diverse client engagements.

From ensuring skilled teams to conducting rigorous Operational Readiness Reviews to crafting tailored runbooks and playbooks, BeCloud helps organizations optimize their cloud environment and prepare for the unexpected. Their combination of technical prowess and strategic support makes BeCloud the ideal partner for your cloud journey.

Contact BeCloud today to discuss how we can help assess your current AWS footprint and identify opportunities to enhance reliability, security, and performance. Our goal is to provide the expertise and frameworks to enable your organization to leverage the full benefits of the cloud.






James Phipps 8 January, 2024
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