What is a Cloud Landing Zone?
When moving to the cloud it’s essential to have the right building blocks in place. For many organisations, that means testing and validating a cloud adoption strategy before deploying it in a production environment. Other businesses simply need a starting point to quickly deploy workloads and applications.
Through automation and best practice, cloud landing zones offer a secure environment where organisations can launch and experiment with cloud services. In this blog, we’ll examine why cloud landing zones should be a key part of every organisation’s adoption and migration plan.
What is a cloud landing zone?
A cloud landing zone is a pre-defined, secured, and well-architected multi-account sandbox that serves as a starting point for organisations to quickly launch and deploy workloads and applications. It is designed to be scalable, modular, and secure, allowing cloud engineers to configure resources to match the needs of their organisations.
Landing zones provide guardrails that allow businesses to onboard different teams and functions and divide them over multiple accounts so workloads are secure, isolated, and managed centrally.
Within a landing zone, decision-makers can determine:
- The number of accounts to create for adequate resource and data isolation.
- Firewall settings that align with network traffic management policies.
- Access controls that align with data protection requirements.
- Network architecture to ensure internal traffic is isolated from external traffic.
- An overall operating model for data migration or future cloud services.
One of the most powerful things about landing zones is that they can be customised to suit business objectives. Once a configuration template has been created within a landing zone, it can be used for new cloud services. That speeds up deployment and ensures the uniformity of security policies.
What are the benefits of using a cloud landing zone?
As cloud adoption continues to grow at a rate of 16% each year*, public cloud providers like AWS and Microsoft fine-tune their extensive landing zone capabilities. Each platform offers several benefits including:
Increased security control
Landing zones offer a robust foundation for security and allow for policy customisation across accounts. There are also opportunities to incorporate AWS and Azure identity and access management (IAM) services into landing zone configurations.
Landing zones make workload management much more straightforward. Make your design decisions once, save them in your landing zone, and update them when business needs change.
In multi-account landing zones, cloud teams can contain potential security threats within an account without affecting others. They can also limit who has access to data, preventing exposure of personally identifiable information (PII) which coincides with GDPR compliance.
Landing zones provide organisations with a repeatable and predictable process. Each time a new workload is deployed, engineers and development teams already know how it will behave.
A competitive edge
By streamlining processes and making deployments more straightforward, you can create new products and deploy them faster than ever.
When should you use landing zones?
Landing zones can be beneficial in many different situations depending on what you're trying to achieve. Here are a few examples of when they’re a great idea:
- When teams rely on multiple user accounts to access workloads.
- If those workloads are spread across public, hybrid, or private clouds.
- When engineers need to segment access or isolate specific resources in line with security policies.
- When a business wants to limit the visibility and discoverability of workloads.
- If an organisation requires isolation of recovery and/or auditing data.
For organisations just starting their cloud migration journeys, creating a landing zone is an excellent way to meet various deployment needs. Existing cloud environments that would benefit from more security, control, and isolation are also candidates for a landing zone.
How to create a landing zone
Creating a multi-account landing zone is a step-by-step process rooted in business goals, cloud provider capabilities, and in-house expertise. Typically, a successful landing zone project unfolds across three distinct phases.
Designing the landing zone
Begin by planning and designing the optimal landing zone architecture. This foundational template will guide the creation of future workloads, making this a crucial step. Consider key cloud adoption factors relevant to your organisation:
- Adherence to security, regulatory, and compliance standards.
- Performance benchmarks and workload interconnections.
- Implementation of identity and access management policies.
- Balancing cost optimisation with workload performance and availability.
- Future scalability and flexibility considerations.
With system requirements documented and a blueprint in mind, move on to the next phase of your landing zone journey.
Deploying the landing zone
Next, construct and deploy the new landing zone. This depends on your cloud provider and system needs. Assess the in-house expertise available and determine a budget and time estimates. Things can quickly become complicated here, so consider working with a cloud migration specialist.
The right technology partner will demonstrate how to utilise the landing zone services of your chosen cloud provider. For instance, AWS users can leverage tools like AWS Control Tower while Microsoft offers the Azure landing zone.
Operating the landing zone
Given the ever-evolving nature of cloud computing alongside macroeconomic considerations, having an adaptable landing zone is crucial.
We recommend regular reviews of your landing zone's performance and capabilities. Consult your IT team - do they make frequent configuration changes across various workloads? What are the strengths and weaknesses of those configurations? Do the configurations meet industry standards? Then, incorporate their feedback to continuously refine and enhance your landing zone blueprint.
Securing your cloud environment
The only significant downside of a landing zone is the time and expertise needed to create it. For this reason, many companies choose to work with an experienced managed services provider (MSP).
If you’re ready to create the building blocks for a secure and reliable cloud environment, we can help. Our experts will guide you through the process, helping you build a system that’s scalable, flexible, and secure.