Landing Zone or Cloud Landing Zone: Introduction
Earlier, having a single gigantic cloud account, storing the entire data of an organization was a regular practice. The emerging technologies and modern infrastructures have changed the scenario. Presently, multiple individual cloud accounts are used by companies, making it complex for engineers to manage. Companies should maintain bare minimum auditing, security baseline, networking centralized log management, and governance setup as every account is an element of cloud presence.
As organizations move towards cloud migration and managing multiple cloud accounts, creating an effective infrastructure is necessary. When it comes to creating this infrastructure, then the foremost step in the process is having the Landing Zone or Cloud Landing Zone.
What is a Landing Zone in the Cloud?
In order to create a secure cloud environment, creating essential infrastructure beforehand is necessary. A landing zone acts as a blueprint or a plan that is used to ensure that the infrastructure grows and develops as planned and in an organized manner. With this blueprint, adding new services and sections in the cloud can be made efficient and effective. Moreover, it makes the setup with the existing data uncomplicated.
By creating a landing zone, companies can efficiently make the most out of the account structure, allowing them to have exponential growth through the help of automation. With that in mind, creating the landing zone is among the foremost things that companies perform while planning cloud migration. Deployment of the landing zone will have access management, desired security, and operational instrumentation, dependable connectivity, and automation of operations to create a secure and efficient cloud environment.
Why have a Cloud Landing Zone?
Having an efficient cloud environment is necessary for an organization, and landing zones help in achieving that goal. Not only that, but here are the perks that the landing zone provides.
- Cost Management:
Undeniably, having and maintaining a cloud requires expenses. However, taking the right time to create a landing zone in the cloud initially allows the organization to have transparency on the cloud spending as well as better control over it. As the money is spent correctly, the probability of unnecessary spending is minimal.
- Enhanced Consistency:
When it comes to using the cloud, then having the utmost consistency is necessary. A landing zone in the cloud offers a starting position of the cloud environment, giving the organization consistency and confidence in the deployment of the cloud workload.
- Transparent Audits:
A cloud landing zone makes sure that the business actions are traceable and auditable, allowing you to have a safe and secure environment.
- Huge Scale:
The foremost reason why a landing zone is necessary is due to cloud migration and the transition of companies towards a cloud environment. In the majority of the cases, the action will be done on a large scale. Before the deployment of the critical workload, the setup of a landing zone offers the environment with the scalability to fulfill organizational needs rapidly.
Fundamentals of Landing Zone in Cloud:
The landing zone allows rapid expansion via automation. However, organizations have to keep in mind certain considerations while designing and implementing. As every business is unique, using a pre-made template is not the action for the long run. Instead, designing an exclusive landing zone for cloud migration is an appropriate act.
- Security:The centralized Identity and Access Management (IAM) solution is the building block for compliance and the same is provided by a landing zone. It allows the users to be stored in a single managed area. In addition to that, it offers password rotation schedules, easily adding or removing users or conducting audits. One major fundamental security part of landing zones is the ability to define roles for engineers and admins to handle the platform. By defining the roles, it showcases the organization’s engineering structure. SecurityRole, AuditRole, DeveloperRole, and OperatorRole are some of the roles that can be defined with the help of the landing zone in the cloud. Each of the professional's roles will be assigned and the permissions are given accordingly so that they can perform effectively.
- Shared Services:
Deployment of several tools that are used across the entire organization can be done with the help of the shared services account. Microsoft Active Directory is one of the most commonly used Shared Services using a landing zone.
If there is any foundation that keeps on evolving with passing time, then it is probably automation. A few of the landing zone areas can improve reliability, scalability, and productivity, resulting in enhanced efficiency. Moreover, automation allows the organization’s infrastructure to remain optimized to make sure that it evolves as the demand increases. However, upcoming deployments can be hindered if the initial cloud landing zone witnesses a lack of automation.
- Network Connectivity:
Every landing zone should offer a basic networking layout that can establish a connection within cloud organizations and individual systems. The networking design can also have VPN/DirectConnect attachments, VPC peerings, and many other things. Plenty of landing zones define topology for the cloud network as it is essential for a hybrid multi-cloud strategy. However, its final inclusions depend on the specific requirements and goals of the business. Appropriate planning of the organization’s network saves from a lot of issues in the future caused by improperly created networking services.
Foundation Elements of Landing Zone:
Creating a landing zone is itself the beginning of implementing cloud transformation. However, there are certain foundation elements of the landing zone that allows a smooth transition and lay the groundwork effectively.
- Hybrid Identities:
Creating identity management controls is daunting and time-consuming. Landing zones should be made in such a way that they make the most out of the existing identity management capabilities instead of building a fresh one. The identity depository should be duplicated to the cloud environment so that the prevailing identity management controls can be expanded to the cloud environment. The key objective of this is to adapt federated authentication and identity duplication from the traditional environment.
- Cloud Subscription Management:
Creating a centralized approach to handle user and application access consistently is necessary. And, that is done through the landing zone as it provides an efficient approach to managing tenancy or multiple cloud subscriptions and the main access management while using these constructs. In order words, the landing zone ensures streamlined governance according to the set enterprise standards. The primary motive of this action is to create management groups, deploy a multi-subscription environment for shared services, and implement Role-based Access Control.
- Ops Instrumentation:
Automating the implementation of governance, engineering ops, and monitoring is done through the landing zone. Moreover, addressing cloud-specific issues like template deployment, reactive scalability, and cost management are also addressed through the landing zone. Cutting it short, service catalog blueprints, monitoring, ops automation, and central log management are all part of Ops instrumentation in the landing zone.
- Hybrid Network:
Plenty of organizations use several cloud, data centers, and environments. Moreover,they may have clients that work on multiple cloud platforms which is why creating a uniform virtual network topology on multiple platforms is necessary. By creating a hybrid network, application deployment and network isolation are made uncomplicated. Cutting it short, creating a hybrid network in the landing zone ensures connectivity across all sites and the implementation of an access control list.
- Data Retention:
Extending current policies and toolsets for data retention is a positive move while adopting cloud technology. With that in mind, the landing zone considers the arrangements necessary to fulfill the policy requirements. Even though the actual design may not make use of the exact toolset, but the motive of doing so is to make sure that there is a common implementation, fulfilling the data retention requirements.
- Security Baseline:
While adapting to the new cloud, the most daunting task is to get the most out of the cloud while having the utmost security standards. With the implementation and enforcement controls in the cloud environment, the landing zone build-out takes all these standards into consideration. Moreover, it offers the management of security controls on all the environments. Threat Management, Transmission Security, Edge Security, and Vulnerability Management, among others, are an integral part of this process where consistent architecture is deployed.
Launching a Landing Zone in Cloud:
The aforementioned points were the fundamentals and foundation elements of a landing zone in the cloud. However, the created blueprint has to be brought to reality to make it perform. An effective cloud landing zone is secure, reliable, and performs excellently. Majorly, there are three platforms to create a reliable landing zone; Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. Here are the steps and factors that you should take while launching a landing zone in any of the cloud platforms.
Why was the landing zone built?
Before you launch the landing zone, having a clear idea of why the landing zone is created should be the priority. With that in mind, classify a project to test the created concept and constantly monitor its progress.
How the Landing Zone will be used?
Ultimately, the landing zone is created to be used by services, users, and applications. Considering that fact, going in-depth about how the accounts created through the landing zone will be consumed by the user. Setting appropriate security for every account type, working with the business to analyze the usage, and reviewing the modes should be done prior to writing the code for the landing zone.
- Gather a Skilled Team:
Without a doubt, working on a landing zone in the cloud is a team activity, especially when it is about creating and launching it. Determining the appropriate skills and team structure necessary beforehand helps in a long way and ensures that the workflow remains flawless. Make sure to keep the landing zone components and team structure hand to hand to prevent silos.
- Attain support from key People:
Stakeholders and experts play a crucial role in every task, including launching a landing zone. Rather than waiting for their input, try to engage with the teams that handle the crucial points to minimize delays and hindrances. As they are directly related to the project, maintaining utmost transparency with them during meetings and attaining their feedback is beneficial.
- Adapt Cloud-native Approach:
Many organizations try to match their current infrastructure on the cloud. However, this practice is not effective in landing zones. Instead of doing so, adapting the cloud-native approach including its tools and services is the most effective way of reaching the goal. Using third-party tools that have the functionality of automation is the correct method of performing this action.
- Set Delivery Goals:
Cloud is among never-ending technologies, and there is always some scope to perform more actions. Landing zone implementation may also be never-ending unless the delivery objectives are not defined. Consider monitoring the organization’s requirements for landing zone features and be adamant about the core of the landing zone to determine its delivery objective.
- Construct a Security model:
One of the key features of a reliable landing zone is its extended security for creating accounts. Connecting with the security teams to avoid blockers and implement industry standards for enforcing security models.
- Test Landing Zone:
Akin to other critical IT components, landing zone infrastructure should be tested to ensure its stability and functionality. A successfully created landing zone should be able to perform frequent build and destroy life cycles on the test landing zones and create accounts that are illustrative of the production landing zone.
- Monitory security and compliance framework:
Successfully monitoring and reporting security and compliance controls is a key functionality of a regulated business. Tracking and constantly reviewing the tracking document should be a professional’s priority. Moreover, the compliance documents should be shared with the necessary teams to ensure extreme transparency within the management regarding the security and compliance framework.
- Frequentative Delivery:
Cloud is highly flexible and allows the professional to keep it evolving and make the necessary corrections in the future. Landing zones should be created in a way that they keep getting better and should depict their value with time.
When it comes to migration to the cloud, then landing zones are the foremost thing to consider. With automated environment setup, excellent flexibility, extended security and compliance, and shrinking operational costs are the reasons why landing zones are beneficial for organizations considering adapting to cloud technology. The goal of the landing zone should be quick adoption, short-term operational superiority, and long-term self-reliance. However, landing zones are necessary for every organization to commence its cloud journey. The success of the landing zone is judged by the time it takes for the organization to become self-reliant in adopting cloud technologies.