Using AWS Compliance Services to Streamline Compliance Processes and Reporting | AWS Artifact and AWS Config

Compliance requirements can be challenging for businesses, but AWS Compliance Services offer a streamlined solution. With tools like AWS Artifact and AWS Config, businesses can improve their compliance processes and reporting, ensuring adherence to industry standards and regulations. Learn how AWS Compliance Services can simplify the complex landscape of industry compliance requirements.

AWS Artifact: Simplifying Compliance Documentation and Reporting
AWS Artifact facilitates compliance documentation and reporting by providing a centralised repository of artifacts. The comprehensive artifacts collection covers various frameworks and standards, enabling businesses to address obligations effectively.

Accessing and utilising AWS Artifact is straightforward through the AWS Management Console. Businesses can easily search and download the required artifacts, eliminating the need for manual collection and organisation. AWS Artifact also streamlines compliance reporting by generating audit reports and evidence of compliance, simplifying the reporting process.

With AWS Artifact, businesses can save time and resources while ensuring accurate and up-to-date compliance information for auditors and regulatory bodies, making it an invaluable tool for increasing reporting efficiency.

AWS Config: Enabling Continuous Compliance Monitoring
AWS Config enables continuous compliance monitoring by automating rule-based evaluations of resource configurations. It provides real-time insights into compliance status, helping organisations maintain a secure and compliant AWS environment.

With AWS Config, you can easily set up rules aligned with your compliance requirements and receive notifications for non-compliant configurations. The service offers pre-configured rules for common compliance frameworks and allows customisation for specific needs.

Real-time compliance reporting provides visibility into areas that require attention, such as security group rules, IAM policies, and encryption settings. This enables your business to take prompt action and ensure adherence to regulatory standards and best practices.

Integrating AWS Compliance Services for Streamlined Processes
Integrating AWS Artifact and AWS Config streamlines compliance processes by providing comprehensive compliance management. Combining these services offers a centralised repository of compliance artifacts, simplifying documentation and reporting.

By integrating AWS Artifact with AWS Config, organisations establish end-to-end compliance management, defining custom rules and ensuring adherence to specific requirements. This integration automates assessments, detects non-compliant configurations, and generates comprehensive compliance reports. It increases efficiency, saves time, and reduces manual effort.

Examples of streamlined processes include automatically assessing configurations, receiving alerts for non-compliance, and generating compliance reports for audits. Using automation and alerts ensures proactive compliance management, enabling organisations to stay compliant with regulations and industry standards.

Harness the Power of AWS Compliance Services
Maximise the potential of AWS Compliance Services to streamline your compliance processes with WOLK, a trusted AWS Partner, who can help you optimise your compliance management and ensure regulatory adherence. Contact WOLK today to harness the power of AWS Compliance Services for your organisation.

About o.d.t Engineering

O.D.T. Engineering is based in SE Melbourne and specializes in the servicing, support, and supply of casting, material handling equipment, and production of consumables for aluminium and magnesium cast houses. With a foundation established in 1985, O.D.T. Engineering has garnered extensive experience and expertise in the industry, making it a trusted name among leading aluminium producers in Australia, New Zealand, China, Taiwan, Southeast Asia, India, Russia, and the Middle East and southern Africa.

Drivers to the Cloud

As O.D.T. Engineering expanded its operations and clientele, they realised that their existing on-premises infrastructure was becoming a bottleneck for growth. Managing the hardware, software updates, and data backups consumed valuable resources and time. They also faced challenges in ensuring seamless access to their line of business application, Syspro, for their employees working remotely. O.D.T. Engineering’s leadership understood that migrating to the cloud was the next logical step in their digital transformation journey. After careful evaluation of various cloud service providers, O.D.T. Engineering chose Amazon Web Services (AWS) as their preferred cloud platform. AWS’s robust and secure infrastructure, global reach, and extensive array of services perfectly aligned with their needs.

According to Harmony Prizeman, O.D.T.’s bookkeeper: “We were at a point where we had to upgrade to the latest version of Syspro. Additionally, our physical servers were close to their end of life. Taking both of these things into consideration, O.D.T. went down the path of cloud-based computing as an option rather than continuing with legacy physical servers.”

Why Amazon Web Services (AWS)

AWS’s compliance with industry standards and certifications assured O.D.T. Engineering that their sensitive data would remain secure. AWS is the preferred choice for SMBs due to its unmatched scalability, reliability, and extensive global infrastructure. With a vast array of services and pay-as-you-go pricing, AWS offers cost-effective solutions tailored to SMBs’ needs.

The Benefits of Working with AWS and WOLK Technology – WOLK Secure Modern Workplace

To execute a smooth and successful migration to the cloud, O.D.T. Engineering sought the assistance of an experienced AWS Advanced partner, WOLK Technology came highly recommended by other similar customers and ISV partners. WOLK Technology had an impeccable track record of helping businesses migrate to the cloud seamlessly, ensuring minimal disruptions during the transition phase.

The expertise of WOLK Technology’s team, combined with their hands-on approach to understanding o.d.t Engineering’s unique requirements, made them the perfect fit for the project. WOLK Technology’s comprehensive migration strategy involved meticulous planning, testing, and validation to minimize downtime and ensure data integrity.

WOLK Technology has experience working with LOB applications like Syspro and have a good working relationship with the consultants involved with the Syspro upgrade. This resulted in a smooth and rapid migration.

About Milestones Technology Group

Milestones Technology Group (MTG) is a leading Australian technology solutions provider. They offer cutting-edge IT services, AI consulting, cloud solutions, cybersecurity, managed services, and software development. Their team delivers personalized solutions, driving digital transformation for businesses globally.

Their recently established AI/ML Consulting services includes free workshops and presentations of possible AI solutions to alleviate businesses’ pain points, across all industries which presents further opportunities to leverage AWS solutions

Transition to the Cloud

MTG collaborates with multiple Tech Start-Ups and Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) as their outsourced technology partner. They provide strategic consulting, program/project management, IT operations management, and applications development and management services. Among their clients is a company in the Care Sector of Australia, offering several products.

When conducting organisational scans/needs analysis, MTG recommends business transformation solutions such as skills uplift, software and AI solutions, dashboard reporting, cloud services etc.

One of their key clients had a SaaS product hosted with another cloud provider. During the organisational scan, MTG was given a long list of challenges that they faced with that provider. To address this, MTG conducted an evaluation of different cloud options and suggested migrating the workload to Amazon Web Services (AWS). This was completed successfully and continues to deliver a stable, scalable and secure environment for the SaaS product users.

Why Amazon Web Services (AWS)

AWS offers several compelling reasons to choose it as MTG’s preferred cloud hosting platform. Firstly, AWS boasts a robust and mature infrastructure with a global presence, ensuring high availability and low-latency access to your web applications worldwide. With an extensive range of services, AWS provides scalable solutions, allowing you to easily accommodate fluctuating traffic and only pay for the resources you consume.

AWS having local data centres within the country meant that MTG could meet data sovereignty and data residency requirements with confidence.

AWS also offers a vast ecosystem of tools and integrations, enabling seamless deployment and management of web applications. Its comprehensive security measures and compliance certifications instill confidence in the safety of your data and applications. The scalability of AWS allows MTG to easily adjust their resources based on demand, optimizing performance and cost-effectiveness.

The Benefits of Working with AWS and WOLK Technology

Working in tandem with WOLK Technology and AWS has proven highly advantageous for MTG, offering a host of valuable benefits. One of the most significant advantages is the acceleration of their time to market. By teaming up with WOLK Technology, MTG can guarantee a tested, repeatable, secure and proven environment to their clients. This streamlined focus empowers them to swiftly bring their innovative solutions to market.

The collaboration with WOLK and AWS brings the added benefit of Well-Architected guidance. WOLK is a proven global leader when it comes to the AWS Well Architected Framework. This invaluable expertise ensures that MTG’s solutions not only meet but exceed the high-quality standards expected by their customers.

Another crucial advantage lies in the emphasis on operational automation from the very outset of their cloud-based ventures. By incorporating best-practice operational automation right from the start, MTG is well-positioned to handle growth and scalability without facing avoidable operational hurdles down the road.

In essence, the collaboration with WOLK and AWS empowers MTG to thrive in the competitive landscape of cloud computing. It allows them to expedite their product development and delivery process, deliver top-notch solutions to their customers, and ensure smooth operational scalability.

Looking Forward

With WOLK Technology, MTG can anticipate a promising array of opportunities and advantages. As a Well-Architected Partner Program collaborator, MTG gains access to expert guidance and best practices for building high-quality solutions on AWS. This guidance ensures that MTG can meet their customers’ expectations effectively and deliver exceptional value through their cloud-based offerings as security and technology evolves and changes.

WOLK Technology’s expertise in managing cloud environments also relieves MTG from the burdens of routine operational tasks, allowing them to focus on core business activities and product innovation. By entrusting the undifferentiated heavy lifting of cloud management to WOLK, MTG can reduce time-to-market and seize opportunities swiftly, positioning themselves ahead of the competition.

Furthermore, the collaboration with WOLK Technology opens doors to new avenues of growth and expansion. Leveraging the power of AWS and the support of WOLK’s operational automation, MTG has successfully launched several other workloads for their other customers.

AWS’s Commitment to Sustainability and Reducing its Carbon Footprint

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the world’s most used cloud service provider, with a market share of 32% as of Q1 2023. Because AWS is a critical part of Amazon’s services and infrastructures, it is bound to the company’s Climate Pledge, a commitment to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2040.

Learn how AWS achieves sustainability and reduces carbon emissions and why sustainability in the cloud matters.

The AWS Renewable Energy Initiatives
Amazon is committed to renewable energy projects and investing in clean power sources to help AWS achieve its net-zero objectives. There are three major ways Amazon addresses sustainability and ensures AWS reaches full carbon neutrality:

1. Amazon’s investments in green energy include wind farms and solar farms. The company currently operates 164 full-scale wind and solar power facilities and over 200 rooftop solar facilities. In 2022, Amazon became the world’s largest corporate buyer of renewable power.
2. Another sustainability investment is renewable energy Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs). A PPA is a long-term agreement between a power producer and a buyer to purchase electricity directly from the producer at reduced rates. Amazon’s PPAs are expected to help it cover 100% of its operations with renewable energy by 2025.
3. Amazon actively participates in carbon offsetting and reduction programs to further eliminate carbon emissions from its operational workflows, from industry partnerships to operating fleets of electric vehicles.

How AWS Optimises the Efficiency of its Data Centers
In addition to ensuring Amazon uses as many renewable and carbon-neutral power sources as possible, AWS hardware and infrastructure benefit from the latest innovations to improve energy efficiency.

AWS energy efficiency innovations are divided into three distinct categories: power-efficient hardware, cooling efficiency, and performance prediction technologies.

Power-efficient hardware: AWS-designed general-purpose processors such as the Graviton3 are designed to offer 25% more performance than their predecessors while using up to 60% less energy than non-Graviton equivalents.
Cooling efficiency: AWS’s latest data centre technologies use upgraded cooling systems, reducing energy usage by 20% compared to previous-generation equivalents.
Performance prediction: Amazon uses both simulated and real-time performance modelling tools to understand how their data centres use energy and how to optimise their power consumption further.

The Benefits of Sustainable Cloud Computing
Choosing AWS as your cloud service provider is an excellent way to make your organisation greener and more sustainable. According to a 2019 451 Research study, moving to AWS reduces an enterprise’s carbon footprint by 72% on average.

AWS also provides organisations and businesses with fully scalable cloud infrastructure, ensuring you can scale your operations and optimise resource utilisation as needed. In turn, scalability lets you limit energy and resource consumption, reducing carbon emissions further.

Become an AWS Sustainability Compliant Organisation with WOLK
WOLK Technology is an experienced AWS Partner with the resources to help your business comply with the pillars of the AWS Well-Architected Framework. Contact us today for a review of your business’s sustainability.

What are the basic components of security under AWS?

The AWS Well-Architected Framework consists of five pillars. Security, the second pillar, focuses on protecting your data, systems, and assets using cloud technology.

The security pillar includes seven design principles and six best practice areas. By following the guidelines laid out in this pillar, you can keep your data safe and secure.

Best Practice: Security
Keeping your workload secure is an essential part of using cloud technology. The AWS Well-Architected Framework details the best practices you should follow when focusing on security.

Organise Based on Security Requirement
Organise your accounts and workloads from a security point of view, rather than following the existing structure of your company. You can simplify the security process by combining like-accounts that need similar security procedures.

Identity and validate control objectives, using your compliance guidelines and any high-risk items discovered by a Well-Architected Review. Continue to schedule reviews of your control objectives, and update them when necessary.

Secure your AWS Account
Make sure your AWS account is fully secure. Use Multi-factor Authentication (MFA), don’t use your root user too often and configure your account contacts.

Stay Updated
Security risks are continually changing and evolving. Be sure to schedule regular meetings to review new threats and how to mitigate them.

Security recommendations are always changing. Be diligent in following the latest suggestions by subscribing to AWS Updates and the AWS Security blog. Consider consulting with outside experts at regular intervals to ensure your security is up to date.

Use a Threat Model
Create a threat model to identify new and existing risks. Once identified, prioritise the risks and address them as needed. Be sure to keep your threat model updated to reflect new security recommendations.

Automation lessens the possibility of human error. Create an automated testing service that allows you to check the secureness of your systems quickly.

Build the automated testing services directly into your systems and processes. Once built-in, these testing services can continuously check for threats and breaches, and alert you if there is a problem.

AWS Partners
AWS Partners regularly release security updates that can help you keep your data safe.

WOLK, a long term AWS Partner, is always up to date on new threats and security recommendations. To ensure your data is secure, schedule a Well-Architected Review. WOLK will identify and highlight any high-risk items, and mitigate them for you.

Failure Management and AWS: How to Withstand and Repair Problems

Every system will encounter problems and occasionally fail. What makes a system reliable is its ability to react quickly and efficiently to failures.

The goal is to create a workload that automatically returns to a standard operating level without creating a disruption.

Architecting for Resiliency
Resiliency is the ability to bounce back from failure, overload, or attack. The Well-Architected Framework has five best practices to ensure your workload is as resilient as possible.

Monitor All Components
Design automatic systems that monitor every aspect of your workload continuously. Determine key performance indicators (KPIs) based on your business goals, not your systems’ requirements. When the system notices a KPI breach, it can fix the failure.

You can also set monitoring systems to detect degradation, which lets you know that a failure is likely. Your automated systems can also take action to prevent the looming failure.

Keep Healthy Resources Separate
Instead of using a single workload, set up several smaller ones. Ensure that if a particular system fails, other healthy resources can continue to handle requests.

For essential services like location, create backup systems that can fail over to healthy resources. If you’re using AWS systems, they will automatically activate to ensure your healthy systems can keep working.

Automate Healing
It takes time for a team member to receive a notification, learn about the problem, and determine a plan of action. Instead, create automatic services that can fix failures quickly.

Consider utilising AWS systems, like Auto Scaling and EC2 Automatic Recovery, to help your system repair itself.

Static Stability Prevents Bimodal Behaviour
A workload is exhibiting bimodal behaviour when it acts differently under standard and failure modes. Design your workloads with static stability in mind, testing to ensure they always react the same way.

You also should not allow clients to avoid your workload’s cache even in a cascade failure, because it creates bimodal behaviour.

Have every automated system send the relevant team member a notification when a system is nearing failure or has failed. You also want teams notified when your systems detect a problem that will affect availability.

Well-Architected Review
If you’re struggling to make your systems reliable, WOLK, an experienced AWS Partner, is authorised to perform a Well-Architected Review.

Through the review, WOLK can identify high-risk items and any areas that are low in compliance with the Framework. The team can then mitigate the problems, ensuring your systems are reliable and resilient.

The 5 Design Principles for Cost Optimisation Using AWS

WOLK is a leading partner of AWS Well-Architected Framework and is certified to perform reviews that identify weaknesses in your cloud-based system.

The five pillars of AWS include operational excellence, security, reliability, performance efficiency and cost optimisation.

Cost optimisation is an ongoing process built on cost-aware workloads targeted to maximise investment while minimising costs. There are five design principles to keep in mind when seeking to optimise costs with AWS.

Five Design Principles

1. Implement cloud financial management
It is essential to invest resources in building capability in the technological domain of the cloud. That means investing in knowledge building programs and resources to become cost-efficient in Cloud Financial Management.

2. Adopt a consumption model
Pay only for the resources you use and target your usage to only what is necessary. Stopping resources during non-business hours can save up to 75% of the regular cost per week.

3. Measure overall efficiency
This information allows you to understand where you gain value when you reduce costs. Track the output of the workload and delivery costs using AWS.

4. Stop spending money on undifferentiated heavy lifting
This design principle allows you to focus on your customers instead of the software. AWS takes care of your data centre operations and removes the responsibility of using managed services for your systems and applications.

5. Analyse and attribute expenditure
To maximise your resources while reducing costs, you can accurately measure the value and use of workloads using the cloud.

Practising Cloud Financial Management

Cloud Financial Management allows you to realise your business value and optimise your costs. Best practices for CFM include:

● Functional ownership
The function can refer to a team or individual who is responsible for maintaining a culture of cost awareness. This group spends a designated percentage of time attending to cost optimisation activity.

● Finance and technology partnership
A relationship must be formed between essential finance and technology personnel to understand the financial goals of the company. This partnership is critical to tracking real-time cost and usage and developing a standard operating procedure.

● Cloud budgets and forecasts
There is high variability in cloud cost and usage amounts based on user activity. Budgets must be adjusted, and forecasts created using an algorithm to allow for this variance in the predictions.

● Cost-aware processes
Cost aware processes need adapting into organisation protocol, and training administered continuously.

● Cost-aware culture
By making information about cost optimisation available to individuals across teams (like a publicly visible dashboard), the workplace culture can adapt a cost-aware mindset. The directive should come from the top down and is achievable through a rewards-based training system for employees.

● Quantify business value delivered through cost optimisation
Don’t just report savings from cost optimisation, but quantify the additional value obtained. Quantifying business value makes it possible to identify the return on your investments.

Schedule a Review

If you’re interested in finding out how you can optimise your costs with AWS, schedule a review with WOLK. WOLK is a leading partner of AWS Well-Architected Framework and offers a service credit that covers the majority of expenses when working through your high-risk areas during remediation.

Educating Your Teams Through AWS

The AWS Well-Architected Framework is a fantastic tool but must be fully understood by all team members to be as effective as possible.

AWS Support offers a variety of options to help educate your teams about the Well-Architected Framework.

AWS Knowledge Center
The AWS Knowledge Center compiles FAQs for many of Amazon’s most popular web services. If your teams are unsure about certain aspects of AWS, they should start with the Knowledge Center.

AWS offers services from security to cloud services, to messaging. Before delving into the Well-Architected Framework’s specifics, the Knowledge Center can help your team members get a feel for what AWS is all about.

AWS Documentation
For more specific details about the Well-Architected Framework, including information about each pillar and how to best achieve them, have your team members visit the AWS Documentation pages.

They include whiteboard pages with a general overview of the Framework, as well as detailed descriptions of each of the five pillars.

There are also helpful answers to FAQs that your teams might have about specific best practices.

AWS Compliance
Compliance with the Framework is vital to ensuring your company runs as smoothly as possible. To educate your teams on how to achieve and maintain compliance, direct them to the AWS Compliance page.

There, they can find guides on specific compliance actions and handbooks focusing on particular areas of the Framework.

AWS Discussions
If a member of your team has a question that is too specific for general FAQs and guidebooks, post the question at AWS Discussions. In this forum, your team members can interact with AWS staff and other users of the Well-Architected Framework.

Your team member might find their answer faster through the AWS Discussions page, especially for narrow or unusual questions.

AWS Training and Certification
To ensure your team is entirely secure in their knowledge of the Well-Architected Framework, consider signing them up for courses through the AWS Training and Certification page.

Particularly for team leads or pivotal team members who work closely with the Framework, a training course can provide stability. Once trained, these team members can answer questions and offer more in-house support.

Work with a Well-Architected Partner
Even after thoroughly educating your team on how to use the Well-Architected Framework, it can be beneficial to check your compliance through a Well-Architected Review.

WOLK is an experienced, knowledgeable partner and can help you to ensure compliance.

How to Optimise Your Spend and Take Control of Cost With AWS

Cost Optimisation is the fifth pillar of the AWS Well-Architected Framework , and it focuses on enabling businesses to operate at the lowest cost while delivering high value to their customers. Through AWS, businesses can develop workloads to optimise investment spend, giving them maximum returns.

The cost optimisation pillar uses five core design principles and five best practices to guide organizations on how they can make the most of cloud services and take control over their finances.

Five Design Principles of Cost Optimisation

1. Implement Cloud Financial Management
Cloud financial management systems are essential when handling business costs. By building knowledge, suitable financial programs, and value-driven processes through AWS, your business can achieve cost efficiency.

Programs such as Cost Explorer can help an organisation track spend across all departments. AWS Budgets may be programmed to send notifications regarding cost control.

2. Adopt a Consumption Model
This involves using only the AWS programs you need and adjusting usage depending on actual requirements. This practice avoids the use of expensive and unnecessary forecasting to determine computing requirements.

3. Measure Overall Efficiency
Take control of your spending by measuring output levels and costs of each workload, then analyzing the data to find savings opportunities. AWS analytical programs can be used to measure this.

4. Stop Spending Your Money on Undifferentiated Heavy Lifting
Let AWS control complex tasks such as data operations and server management. With fully optimised AWS systems replacing expensive manual operations, your team can focus on core competencies and important projects.

5. Analyse and Attribute Expenditure
AWS cloud systems can provide accurate information regarding usage and costs within your organisation. This allows you to allocate expenditure to specific workloads to achieve monetary goals.

Five Best Practices of Cost Optimisation
Coinciding with the design pillars there are five best practices to ensure businesses gain control of their financial situation.

1. Practice Cloud Financial Management
This aligns with the first design principle, and involves organising your business to meet financial goals, through effective cloud financial management systems.

2. Expenditure and Usage Awareness
Using AWS services, like AWS Organisations or AWS Control Tower, businesses can break down and organise expenditure and usage. This helps them to manage resources more efficiently.

3. Cost-Effective Resources
A major advantage of using AWS is the cost, since it offers many cost-effective resources that can replace existing manual systems.

4. Manage Demand and Supply Resources
With AWS, you only pay for the programs that you use, giving you maximum control over expenditure on resources.

5. Optimise Over Time
AWS continually releases new services, allowing users to upgrade and progress constantly. Businesses should review existing architectural structures regularly to determine if further optimisation is needed.

Work With WOLK Today
To gain control of your costs and to optimise spending and investment, get in touch with WOLK. As a certified AWS Well-Architected Framework reviewer, we can operate alongside your business to help achieve your financial goals.