In today's cloud-native landscape, resource management and operational efficiency are top-of-mind concerns for DevOps and Cloud Platform Engineers. One critical, yet often overlooked, aspect of this is implementing a robust tagging policy for cloud resources. But why is it so essential, and how can policy-as-code mechanisms like Open Policy Agent (OPA) help enforce it?

Why resource tagging is crucial

Tagging serves as a way to attach metadata to cloud resources, making it easier to manage, search, and filter those assets. From categorizing resources by environment (prod, staging, dev) to assigning ownership, tags offer a simple way to gain insights into resource usage. Missing or inconsistent tags can cause inefficiencies, higher costs, and even security vulnerabilities. One of the most popular concerns we see is: "How many of our EC2 resources are tagged and how many are not?"

The role of Policy-as-Code in tagging cloud assets

Policy-as-Code, typically implemented using tools like OPA, comes into play here. With the capacity to codify rules in a declarative language like Rego, DevOps teams can automate compliance checks for tagging policies. This automation ensures not just uniformity but also a certain level of governance over your cloud ecosystem.

Enforce Tagging Policy with OPA

Using OPA, you can write policies that automatically verify whether resources in your cloud setup have the appropriate tags. Any non-compliant resources can be flagged, and corrective actions can be initiated. This is part of a broader cloud governance strategy that aims to standardize resource configurations, thereby optimizing costs and enhancing security. (This process can be automated through Firefly.)

Identifying Non-Compliance

By continually monitoring resource states, OPA can highlight the "drift" or deviations from the defined policies. The policy-as-code approach makes it easier to figure out which resources are not complying with the tagging policy. Being able to quickly identify these non-compliant resources ensures that you can address issues before they snowball into larger problems like undetected escalating cloud costs.

How Firefly can help

Implementing a tagging policy is not just a best practice but a necessity for effective cloud governance. Policy-as-code tools like OPA offer a programmable way to enforce these tagging norms and keep your cloud infrastructure well-organized and compliant. Firefly includes more than 100 OPA policies built-in with our Cloud Asset Management solution.

So, if you're looking to elevate your cloud governance game, start by creating a comprehensive tagging policy and utilize the power of policy-as-code to enforce it.