What Is Cloud FinOps? An Engineer’s Guide

By Michael Meyer

Published on October 17, 2023

A futuristic digital cloud representing Cloud FinOps.

What is Cloud FinOps? 

Cloud FinOps is the combination of cloud computing and financial operations. It's a field that has been growing in popularity, especially as more companies look to outsource their financial processes to third-party providers. Cloud FinOps can help you save time, money, and resources while improving your company's efficiency and quality of service.

However, there are some challenges associated with this new technology – mainly concerns around data privacy and security. Indeed, the race to the cloud introduces interesting tension; while many data leaders migrate their data environments as a cost-saving measure, costs can spiral out of control if the cloud is not properly managed or secured. Automations can run amok, for example, or security may be compromised – creating costly, needless operations or security fines. However, with the proper oversight, usage analysis, and cost tracking, these risks can be mitigated and the investment in cloud can be a value multiplier. 

In this blog, we’ll outline these challenges, paying particular attention to engineering concerns and best practices.

What are the basics of Cloud FinOps?

Cloud FinOps is a framework for managing the infrastructure and processes of your financial services organization. It's a way of thinking about how you operate, as well as how you measure success. It can be broken down into two main components:

Cloud FinOps Infrastructure

Your cloud environment should be built on top of a container-based architecture with automated deployment and elastic scaling capabilities. This allows for rapid iteration and the ability to scale up or down quickly based on customer, partner, or internal user demand within your organization.

Cloud FinOps Processes

Cloud FinOps requires that you rethink how workflows are performed across teams to maximize efficiency while minimizing costs (both human resource time spent manually performing tasks and machine resources used). In addition, this means automating manual processes wherever possible so that humans can focus on higher-value work such as analysis rather than mundane tasks that can be automated.

What are Cloud FinOps best practices?

Cloud FinOps is a relatively new concept, but many companies are already adopting it. Here are some best practices for Cloud FinOps:


To optimize your cloud infrastructure, you need to automate as many processes as possible. This includes automating the provisioning and deprovisioning of resources and automating security configurations so that they don't change when someone leaves or joins the team.

Cost Optimization

The goal of cost optimization is not just to reduce costs; it's also important to ensure that your company isn't wasting money on unnecessary resources or services. For example, if there's a service running on one server but can be moved onto another server without affecting performance or availability (and thus saving money), then do so! Also, pay close attention to non-production environments and avoid having them running unnecessarily.

Regarding top challenges, data security and cost control are two of the most common concerns among engineers. Performance optimization is another area that requires attention, as cloud environments can be unpredictable and difficult to monitor.

What are the types of Cloud FinOps tools?

Cloud cost management tools are used to monitor and report on your cloud spend, as well as help you optimize it. They can be either integrated into your existing financial system or stand-alone tools that provide a dashboard for viewing all your cloud costs in one place.

Cloud cost management tools are software solutions designed to help organizations monitor, track, and optimize their cloud spending. These tools provide visibility into cloud usage and costs, allowing organizations to identify areas where they can reduce costs and improve efficiency. While many cloud cloud providers have tools for FinOps, for more niche problems engineers may want to build a specified dashboard in house.

Cloud Cost Management Tools

Here are some common features of cloud cost management tools:

Cost tracking

This feature tracks the cost of cloud services across various providers, services, and accounts. This enables organizations to identify and manage their expenses effectively.

Usage analysis

They may also provide insights into cloud usage, including consuming specific resources, services, and accounts. This helps organizations identify areas to optimize resource usage and reduce costs.

Budgeting and forecasting

This feature enables organizations to set and monitor budgets for cloud usage and also provides forecasting capabilities to help predict future spending.

Alerts and notifications

This feature generates alerts and notifications when cloud spending exceeds predefined thresholds, enabling organizations to take corrective action quickly.

Optimization recommendations

Some cloud cost management tools offer optimization recommendations, such as right-sizing resources, purchasing reserved instances, or switching to cheaper services to help reduce costs.

Overall, cloud cost management tools are essential for organizations looking to manage their spending effectively, providing insights and automation capabilities to optimize cloud usage and reduce costs.

Cloud Security Tools

These tools help to ensure that only authorized users have access to sensitive data by monitoring user activity and alerting administrators when suspicious activity is detected. They also provide encryption, tokenization, and other security features to protect data at rest or in transit between systems (e.g., between an on-premises application and its cloud counterpart).

What are key Cloud FinOps team roles?

Cloud FinOps engineers may want to learn about the different team roles. You may be wondering: who does what? And how do they interact with each other?

Cloud FinOps Engineer (or DevOps Engineer)

This person is responsible for automating processes and creating tools that make it easier to manage infrastructure and applications. They also help with monitoring systems so that they can alert when something goes wrong with an application or server.

Cloud FinOps Manager

The manager's job is to ensure that all team members are working efficiently together. They are often involved in hiring new employees because they know what qualities are needed for each position within the company; this allows them to find people who will fit well into the culture at large."

What should engineers know about Cloud FinOps security?

Cloud security best practices are an important part of any cloud environment. 

Security audits can help you identify vulnerabilities and areas your company may be exposed to risk. 

Cloud security solutions can also protect against threats such as malware, ransomware, data loss, and more.

What’s the future of Cloud FinOps?

Cloud computing has been around for decades, but we've only recently seen an uptick in adoption rates and interest from large enterprises. The next few years will be crucial as companies continue to adopt these tools and processes, which will help them achieve greater efficiencies while maintaining security standards – all while keeping costs down.

As we look at what lies ahead for Cloud FinOps solutions, we must consider how AI could change this landscape even further by providing an automated solution that can handle all aspects of managing your infrastructure without any human intervention required! For now, “keeping a human in the loop” as you implement AI and ML automation in the cloud is considered a best practice.


We've covered the basics of Cloud FinOps and how it can help you to improve your performance and efficiency. We also looked at some of the challenges of implementing Cloud FinOps, such as security and compliance issues. If you're still unsure whether this is something for your business, here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Do I want my team members to be more efficient?

  • Is there a way that we can improve our performance by automating manual processes or cutting down on human error?

  • Can we use AI/ML models to make better decisions faster than ever before?

CTA image banner of Alation's On-Demand Webinar, "Reducing the Costs of Cloud Migration & POPIA Compliance"

  • What is Cloud FinOps? 
  • What are the basics of Cloud FinOps?
  • What are Cloud FinOps best practices?
  • What are the types of Cloud FinOps tools?
  • What are key Cloud FinOps team roles?
  • What should engineers know about Cloud FinOps security?
  • What’s the future of Cloud FinOps?
  • Conclusion
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