Hello everyone and welcome to the Cognixia podcast, where all tech enthusiasts, current, and aspiring tech professionals, students, and everybody gets together to learn a little bit more about what’s happening in the world of emerging technologies, and how one could shape their career in this field. 2022 is coming to an end, so it is time to start planning and making all those swanky new year resolutions. If you haven’t started, do it now! Better late than never, right?
In today’s episode, we talk about cloud engineers. Every organization that uses the cloud will have a cloud engineer, they seem to be everywhere these days and the demand for this particular skill set refuses to die down anytime soon. We will talk about some top mistakes that cloud engineers must steer clear of committing to be successful in their careers and avoid the usual potholes on their journey.
But before we begin, let’s quickly look at
who a cloud engineer is.
A cloud engineer is an IT professional who takes care of any technological responsibilities associated with cloud computing – from design to planning, management to maintenance, and support. Under the bigger bracket of cloud engineers, there are more specific roles, such as:
- Cloud architect
- Cloud software engineer
- Cloud security engineer
- Cloud systems engineer
- Cloud network engineer
Some must-have skills for a cloud engineer include Linux, database, programming, networking, DevOps, Containerization, Virtualization, API, and cloud security.
Their specific responsibilities and scale could vary from organization to organization, but the mistakes they must avoid would remain quite constant.
So, let us look at the common mistakes that cloud engineers must avoid.
Mistake # 1: Assuming the cloud is Titanic
Remember how everybody believed that the majestic Titanic is unsinkable? And yet, five days after it set sail on its maiden voyage, it ended up at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean anyway. A lot of things would have happened differently if everybody hadn’t just believed that the Titanic was unsinkable, and had been adequately trained as well as prepared for contingencies. The same goes for the cloud too. One usually never gets to physically see the ‘cloud’, meaning the hardware, the data center, the servers, etc. of the cloud service one is using, and it is easy to assume that the cloud is infallible. So, a major mistake to make is over-reliance on the maintenance and built-in redundancies of the cloud provider.
To avoid this mistake, it is important to have effective disaster recovery plans in place. Have server images and responsibility charts handy. Implement a consistent updating and maintenance schedule. Run practice drills regularly so everybody is aware of what to do and how to do it. Bottomline – disaster recovery is not a matter left to chance or an afterthought. Being prepared is the fundamental key to surviving a contingency.
Mistake # 2: Overpaying
A cloud engineer would need money for so many things. Being an IT professional often involves requesting more budget and then some more. Thankfully, the cloud gives cloud engineers a rare opportunity to reduce costs, while also having more control over spending. The biggest advantage of the cloud is that most cloud providers offer a ‘pay-as-you-go’ model, so you only pay for what you use. When you stop running something, you no longer have to pay for it. However, if you forget to turn a service off, you continue having to pay for something you are no longer using, leading to overpaying. Moreover, not everything has to be on 24×7.
To avoid overpaying, calculate your requirements and plan things accordingly. Not all servers would need to run non-stop 24×7, better called reserved instances. If you have a short-term project or a requirement that just doesn’t need a long-running infrastructure, cut the reserved instances out. Instead switch to more cost-friendly options like spot instances, managed services, serverless options, etc. The key is to identify the right tool for the right job, but this also doesn’t mean you cut corners and suffer failures.
Mistake # 3: Mis-use of administrator privileges
The thumb rule in any team should be – “give an individual or a team access to what they need and deny them access to what they don’t need.” But having suitable, well-intended, well-designed policies in place can only do so much. Now so many times, people log in for domain name accounts or administrator accounts, having found access to those credentials, and then continue to do so for daily usage. This puts the entire network and the entire organization at risk. The administrator accounts are usually the most powerful accounts in the system.
One of the first things to do to avoid the catastrophic damages that can be incurred if an administrator account gets compromised is to create a new account and add it to the group that grants the administrator privileges. While this account will still have the same privileges as an administrator if it gets compromised the risk of catastrophic damage is way lesser. Second, when using the cloud via the SDK or a command line, focus on safeguarding your root identity. This often requires the use of access keys as well as secret access keys. As a thumb rule, always delete these keys once used. Also, and very importantly, consider Azure’s Rule-Based Access Control and AWS’ Identity Access Management as your best friends when it comes to managing access and security.
Mistake # 4: Assuming you can do everything on your own
We’ve all been there and done that at some point – assuming we will be able to manage everything by ourselves, ignoring the well-intentioned piece of advice, declining offers of help and assistance, and shrugging off opinions we did not agree with. Popular cloud platforms, especially Microsoft Azure and Amazon AWS have cutting-edge account-wide services which will give you valuable recommendations as well as instructions that would cover everything from best practices to potential security loopholes. Most cloud engineers we encounter are aware of these services and features but often tend to still ignore their existence.
The simple thing to remember is when you are getting personalized, actionable recommendations from your platform itself, why ignore them? Use the advisors to your advantage, it will only make you better and more reliable in your role, you literally have nothing to lose!
While each of these mistakes can prove to be quite deadly and damaging for any organization, what would be worse is if more than one occurred at the same time. So, goes without saying, do your best to avoid such a situation at all costs.
Hope this helps you get some ideas of how you can be a better cloud engineer because with this we have come to the end of this week’s podcast episode. We hope you enjoyed listening to us today, and we thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule for this.
Meanwhile, if you would like to check out our cloud courses – AZ-104: Microsoft Azure Administrator, Cloud computing with AWS, among others, visit our website – www.cognixia.com. You can talk to us over the chat there to get an immediate response to your queries.
Until next week then! Happy learning!