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Cloud adoption is essentially becoming a standard for enterprises today, but migrating workloads to Google Cloud for the first time can be highly challenging. This is because the GCP has numerous infrastructure-based, platform-based, and software-based services. So how does an IT manager organize this diverse set of resources to fit business needs while maintaining control and ensuring security and compliance? With a Google Cloud landing zone!

A Google Cloud landing zone is simply a foundational blueprint for cloud adoption on GCP. This framework lays out a configuration that helps your enterprise to utilize the services on GCP for your business needs. This includes network configurations, determining the hierarchy of resources, security, and identity management. Because different businesses have varying needs, there is no single universal landing zone design. Each business has to develop one that fits its organizational structure, policies, compliance requirements, and so on.

A Google Cloud Landing zone’s initial version is often not the final one. And as you innovate and adopt more cloud-based workloads, it grows dynamically along with your cloud environment. It is highly recommended that a landing zone be a prerequisite before you deploy enterprise workloads on a cloud environment, and here’s why. 

As a business migrating your operations to the cloud, a landing zone enables you to deploy, scale, and use Google Cloud services more efficiently and securely. It also standardizes your cloud environment by providing a basis for organizing your resources, managing your policies, controlling access to your cloud resources, and so on. A Google Cloud landing zone is necessary for your business to:

  • Avoid insecure stars while adopting the cloud

With a landing zone, you will be able to accurately use services like Identity Aware Management (IAM) to manage access to your data. This enables you to thwart internal threats which are the leading cause of data insecurity these days. 

  • Keep track of your GCP expenses

A landing zone will give you a clear overview of the services you’re using on GCP and their costs. This way, you won’t lose track of your expenses and incur unexpected charges. 

  • Build a consistent cloud environment

A landing zone helps you to implement a high degree of standardization across multiple accounts and VPCs. By standardizing your cloud environment, you get to build a streamlined workflow that ensures that you develop and deploy workloads quickly and easily. 

A landing zone comprises some core elements which Google Cloud requires you to configure. These are:

  • Resource hierarchy
  • Identity provisioning
  • Network
  • Security controls 
google cloud landing zones

Resource hierarchy

To organize your resources on Google Cloud, you’ll need to decide on a resource hierarchy. Here, you need to consider how your organization currently works and the ideal end product you expect to accrue from cloud adoption. There are three options to choose from depending on how you want your organization to work with the cloud. These include a resource hierarchy based on:

  • Different application environments, for example, production and testing. 
  • Different regions/subsidiaries – for if you’re doing business in different regions or have merged or acquired other businesses. 
  • An accountability framework – for when your products are run independently or you have dedicated departments with full control throughout the life cycle of specific products. 

Take caution not to map your organization structure directly on the resource hierarchy, instead focus on your business needs and choose the hierarchy that best suits these needs. 

Identity provisioning

Identity provisioning entails deciding how you will onboard users to Cloud Identity or Google Workspace. It is important in providing a way for users to authenticate themselves, to securely grant them access to your cloud resources. Cloud Identity and Google Workspace give you an opportunity to manage the security and life cycle of user accounts. With a Google Cloud Landing zone you can choose to: 

  • Use Google as your primary Identity provider or
  • Integrate Google with an external identity provider. 

Identity provisioning also requires you to configure its architecture and consolidate existing user accounts. 

Network design

Your network configuration will be influenced by a number of factors such as your preferred control model (centralized vs decentralized), scalability, security requirements, and so on. From these factors, you can determine the best network option for you. 

Security controls

When designing a Google Cloud landing zone, you’ll be required to get specific with your security decisions. Google Cloud outlines a series of situations in which your input will be needed. This can be how you want to meet regulatory requirements for encryption in transit and at rest, mitigating data exfiltration, and so on. 

Besides being a necessity prior to cloud adoption, a Google Cloud landing zone allows you to reap the following benefits:

  • It accelerates and simplifies your cloud migration process

A landing zone helps you to quickly migrate workloads to the cloud. It can significantly cut down the preparation period and processes that would take days can simply take a few minutes. 

  • Enables you to budget effectively prior to cloud adoption

A landing zone helps you to have comprehensive knowledge of the pricing of the solutions you need on GCP. This allows you to create an accurate budget for your cloud adoption. A landing zone will also help you to avoid creating accounts or resources that you don’t need, thereby saving your costs

  • It allows you to easily grow your cloud environment

A Google Cloud landing zone is often generated with scalability and flexibility built in so that as you deploy more cloud workloads it grows alongside. You don’t have to worry about creating a new landing zone when you need to deploy new workloads. 

  • Landing zones help to make your cloud environment more secure

Identity provisioning and security controls work together to secure your cloud environment. Also, you can configure both elements to align with your organization’s policies. With a landing zone, you have a well-defined cloud adoption model that allows you to implement a high level of security and governance. You can go a step further to optimize this model by putting some best practices in place. 

The best practices for creating and deploying a landing zone on GCP comprise assembling a team, project management, and implementing the best technical practices. 

  • Assembling your team

Your Google Cloud landing zone will require input from individuals with multiple technical roles within your organization. So when getting your team, ensure you bring these people together and corroborate that they have an understanding of the scope of the project so that they can work together towards a common goal. 

  • Project management

Project management is important because the process of landing zone design and deployment could take weeks. After your team has been assembled, be sure to effectively communicate the project goals and update them in case any changes occur. We recommend that you plan the initial landing zone deployment for workloads that are easier to migrate but make this scalable to accommodate future adoptions. 

  • Technical best practices

Your technical team should also follow the technical best practices such as: 

  • Using an IaaS service (for example Terraform) – to make deployment repeatable. 
  • Using a CI/CD pipeline to deploy cloud infrastructure changes while following internal guidelines. 

Setting up a Google Cloud landing zone can be complex, but happtiq there to help you! Let us be your your Google Cloud Premier Partner of choice when it comes to landing zones. Don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll help you on your cloud journey.

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