“By offering total visibility and valuable recommendations, CloudCheckr helps people feel even more comfortable stepping into the AWS Cloud.”
Sarah Christen Assistant Director of Community Platforms and Cloudification Services, Cornell University

CloudCheckr helps customers who are using the public cloud at scale transform data from their cloud services into actionable insights. Enterprise IT, security, and finance teams can use the CloudCheckr platform to collaborate on managing, automating, and optimizing cloud-service costs, security, performance, and availability. Based in New York and serving both public sector and commercial enterprises, CloudCheckr employs 120 people. 

Since its founding in 2011, CloudCheckr has carefully monitored its customers’ evolving needs and adjusted its offerings in response. “We started out focused on helping public cloud users meet compliance requirements, but we discovered there was also a lot of demand for cost management capabilities for the cloud,” says Aaron Klein, co-founder and chief operating officer at CloudCheckr. “We’ve built deep functionality in both areas so that we can enable our customers to automate the parts of the cloud that can be automated, optimize their usage and security, and harness the agility of the cloud.”

One of the most common scenarios CloudCheckr encounters is customers whose cloud usage outpaces their cloud governance and cost management skills. “The reality is that the cloud is new, and relatively few users have had time to develop expertise in the cloud,” says Steve Hall, vice president for marketing at CloudCheckr. “Our goal is to provide the software to help customers use the cloud like experts, even if they aren’t yet.”

Cloud governance and cost management were two areas Cornell University decided it wanted help with after it consolidated 65 individual AWS accounts under one university account and set a goal of shifting much of the university’s computing from on-premises data centers into the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloud.

“Although we could see each sub-account’s usage, those views weren’t available to sub-accounts themselves, so they were limited in their ability to manage and optimize their own usage of AWS services,” says Sarah Christen, assistant director of community platforms and cloudification services for Cornell University. “We also needed a way to bill each sub-account for the services it consumed.”

Cornell wanted a solution that would help it use AWS services as efficiently as possible, support internal allocation of costs and invoicing for those services, and aid compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and other regulations and rules.

After reviewing solutions from various companies, the Cornell team selected the CloudCheckr platform to help manage its usage of the AWS Cloud, something CloudCheckr has specialized in throughout its history as a company. “We recognized very early on that AWS was the clear leader in the public cloud arena,” says Klein. “We decided to focus on AWS within five months of our founding.”

That focus led CloudCheckr to join the AWS Partner Network (APN) in 2012. CloudCheckr is now an APN Advanced Technology Partner, a member of the AWS Public Sector Partner Program, an AWS Government Competency Partner, an AWS Security Competency Partner, and an AWS Marketplace Seller. CloudCheckr employees hold credentials as AWS Certified Solution Architects, AWS Certified SysOps Administrators, and AWS Certified Developers. The company’s customers include about 40 percent of all APN Premier Consulting Partners and more than 175 AWS authorized resellers.

“Our partnership with AWS has been terrific for us,” says Klein. “Through our APN membership, we get concrete, valuable assistance in understanding our customers’ needs, strengthening our technical skills, and fine-tuning our go-to-market strategies. As successful as Amazon has become, it hasn’t forgotten its startup roots and shows a clear understanding that its success is going to depend on the success of its partner ecosystem.”

Users can access the CloudCheckr Cost and Security Management platform through the AWS Marketplace, as a subscription web service, or as a self-hosted version. The platform uses a cross-account role in AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) to collect data from all AWS services and make optimization and security recommendations. These services include Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS), Amazon ElastiCache, and Amazon DynamoDB. Users can rely on preset alerts and actions or set their own rules to trigger actions like “clean up security groups” or “fix buckets.”

Through the CloudCheckr platform’s intuitive web portal, the central Cornell IT department has comprehensive visibility into its cloud environment, including billing details, resource inventory, services, configurations, logs, permissions, and changes, and it can expose this information to sub-account users. The CloudCheckr platform automatically analyzes the university’s inventory and usage of AWS services, performs more than 450 compliance checks, and produces recommendations that Cornell can use to optimize expenditures, security, and performance.

With the help of CloudCheckr, Cornell is better able to understand and contain its cloud-related costs. “Before, we didn’t have a good way to allocate costs for specific cloud services to the colleges, departments, or other users who were benefiting from them,” says Christen. “Now, with CloudCheckr, we can easily see who is using which resources and invoice them appropriately.”

Cornell is also planning to deepen and extend its use of CloudCheckr security features. “At first, we were mainly interested in the platform’s cost-management features, but we became really excited about how much CloudCheckr can help with security, too,” says Christen. She goes on to point out that CloudCheckr was able to help Cornell identify vulnerabilities during a recent malware attack that targeted a specific Windows operating system. “Through the CloudCheckr dashboard, we were easily able to see anyone who was running a Windows server in the cloud and remind them to apply the patch.”

Christen considers the CloudCheckr platform to be key to the university’s cloudification strategy. “We want everyone at Cornell to be able to benefit from the agility, flexibility, and lower cost of AWS services, but of course some people are reluctant to leave their familiar on-premises data centers,” she explains. “By offering total visibility and valuable recommendations, CloudCheckr helps people feel even more comfortable stepping into the AWS Cloud.”

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CloudCheckr helps customers who are using the public cloud at scale transform data from their cloud services into actionable insights. Enterprise IT, security, and finance teams can use the CloudCheckr platform to collaborate on managing, automating, and optimizing cloud-service costs, security, performance, and availability. Based in New York and serving both public sector and commercial enterprises, CloudCheckr employs 120 people.

For more information about how CloudCheckr can help your company build and manage your AWS environment, see the CloudCheckr listing in the AWS Partner Directory.

Learn more about AWS Public Sector Partner Program