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Effective Cloud Management Is Really Multi-Account Management

Shane Quinlan

8 min read

Just being “in the cloud” is not enough - cloud is about how you build and run software, not where. Cloud management is how you wrangle the distinct benefits and characteristics of cloud as part of the overall IT strategy, as our clients NASA, Encamp, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) would tell you. Good cloud management provides easy-to-understand visibility and oversight of your cloud accounts, services, resources, and software to guarantee optimal performance, security, and cost efficiency.

Companies with more mature cloud adoption create and manage multiple accounts to ‘sandbox’ resources efficiently - e.g., creating separate cloud service provider accounts for development, staging, and production. This simple separation keeps related services within one account while isolating unrelated services. The separate accounts also simplify controlling access rights: only authorized personnel can change or view confidential information.

However, managing multiple cloud accounts can be a huge headache, increasing the risk of misconfigurations, administrative overhead, and unmanaged complexity. To manage multiple accounts simultaneously and break down silos, you need an integrated approach.

The prominent job-hunting platform Indeed partnered with Kion to build a multi-account management approach that enabled Indeed to grow new account signups by an impressive 150% in just two quarters. This scale wouldn’t be possible without the visibility, automation, and repeatability of a multi-account management approach.

Let’s take an in-depth look into multi-account management and explore why you need to employ a multi-account approach. We’ll discuss some complexities of managing multiple cloud service provider accounts and offer solutions for making multi-account management work for your business.

The Growing Need for Multi-Account Management

Efficiently managing cloud resources is now business-critical, and multi-account management is the way to do it.

Managing costs, workloads, security, and compliance issues for your cloud resources can be daunting. Multi-account management targets the following areas:

  • Cost management — Controlling cloud costs is essential, as they can quickly spiral out of control without proper oversight. Multi-account management helps your organization track expenses and identify cost-saving opportunities to manage your spending efficiently.
  • Security — Organizations often depend on built-in cloud security tools, making it challenging to manage security controls. The basic tools may not offer the granular control you need to secure your various environments. Multiple accounts can isolate workloads — the different sets of applications and services running on cloud infrastructure — and restrict resource access, decreasing the chances of unauthorized entry or data breaches. Managing their overall security with the same approach helps keep consistent controls across all accounts.
  • Compliance — Compliance is more crucial than ever, particularly in highly-regulated industries. Good multi-account management helps you stay compliant by consistently ensuring the security of your data storage and management processes.
  • Workload management — Navigating multiple cloud platforms and services to oversee your workloads can be time-consuming and inefficient. Multi-account management lets your organization get a complete view to use each resource optimally.

Challenges with Single, Monolithic Accounts

As their number of resources and management tasks skyrocket, many organizations discover that a single, monolithic account just won’t cut it. The challenges of monolithic accounts include:

  • Limited financial monitoring — A lack of adequate financial monitoring and spending guardrails on a single account may cause unexpected expenses and billing shock. It’s hard to detect and control unnecessary spending without clear visibility into each project’s usage and costs. It’s like managing a university budget without breaking up bills by department - where can you prioritize corrective action?
  • Lack of necessary tools — Monolithic accounts may lack the specific tools that enable organizations to monitor and report at scale, leading to inefficiencies, inaccurate information, and reporting delays that ultimately impact your bottom line.
  • Increased attack surface — Each new instance increases the attack surface of a single account, making it more vulnerable to security threats. A mishmash of security and access policies, access points, and compliance standards within an account can open exploitable security vulnerabilities.
  • Limited scalability — Cloud service providers limit the number of workloads per account. As you scale up to this limit, you must set up multiple accounts to accommodate your growth.

“Bottom line: a monolith-account approach kills productivity and adoption. This approach prevents you from giving access to cloud resources to more folks on your team because "everyone gets keys to the same castle."”

The reluctance to provide access to others in your org stifles growth and innovation. One of Kion's strengths is the ability to rapidly and easily give anyone access to the cloud - with guardrails. Multi-account is a key part of that.

Benefits of Multi-Account Management

Complex, modern cloud environments need a multi-account approach that eliminates traditional monolithic account management. Organizations must view multi-account management not as an optional “nice-to-have” feature but as a basic requirement for successfully navigating the cloud’s intricacies.


Managing a single, monolithic account becomes cumbersome and inefficient as organizations expand their cloud operations within that one, bloated account. Multi-account management simplifies scaling cloud operations by adding new, separate accounts as needed. This approach can cut management overhead and improve performance by focusing on each section, like an individual project or environment.


Multi-account management offers flexibility in managing workloads and applications. Take more control over your organization’s cloud environment by isolating workloads and applications.

Enhancing Governance

With a multi-account strategy, your organization can apply more granular policies and controls across its cloud environment, improving compliance and reducing security vulnerabilities.

Build Once, Deploy Everywhere

Multi-account management means you can simultaneously deploy resources across multiple accounts and regions, streamlining deployment and reducing time to market.

Preventing Misconfigurations

If you house all your resources in one account, any errors made during development could ripple through to production. This can cause downtime, data loss, or security vulnerabilities. Multi-account management can isolate resources into separate accounts, helping prevent misconfigurations. Then, a misconfigured file in the development account won’t affect anything in production.

Addressing Objections to Multi-Account Management

Adopting a multi-account approach to cloud management may seem intimidating, and your team might not be on board at first. Let’s explore some common objections and how to tackle them.

Objection 1: Managing Multiple Accounts Is More Complex

Managing multiple accounts may appear more complex, but it can simplify management in the long run. A single account may make it hard to isolate resources and workloads for proper access control and security measures. By separating resources and workloads into different accounts, your team can better control access and security measures to optimize cost and performance.

Objection 2: Managing Multiple Accounts Can Be More Expensive

Managing multiple accounts may incur additional expenses, but it can ultimately lead to cost savings through improved resource allocation, monitoring, and optimization. By dividing workloads into distinct accounts, your teams can better track expenses and use cost-saving measures like reserved or spot instances. Automation and central management tools also reduce the personnel required for multiple accounts, offsetting some of your expenses.

Objection 3: Multi-Account Management Adds Steps

Although adding multiple accounts may seem like an extra step in the management process, it can actually simplify management. Your teams can better isolate resources and workloads, giving them more control over access, security, and performance. Centralized management tools and automation also streamline account administration to make it more efficient while decreasing overall complexity.

Implementing Multi-Account Management

To successfully implement a multi-account management strategy, you must shift away from the monolithic approach and create a holistic overview of cloud resource management. Consider these critical steps:

  • Create a centralized view of all accounts to provide better control and visibility into resources, costs, and security.
  • Assess your organization’s specific technical and business needs. This process includes evaluating your current cloud infrastructure to identify areas for improvement.
  • Break down traditional silos between accounts to give your teams more oversight and insight into their cloud environment.
  • Establish consistent policies across accounts to simplify access control and permissions management.
  • Invest in suitable tools and resources to ensure a successful multi-account strategy.
  • Select a management provider that meets your needs. Search for a multi-account management provider that offers the required features and services, such as cloud management tools, a user-friendly self-service portal or interface, and comprehensive support options. Assess their reputation, pricing, and customer service to confirm they match your organization well.

Implementing a successful multi-account strategy takes thoughtful consideration and collaboration across teams and partnering with the right solution providers. But the advantages of breaking down traditional silos and taking an integrated approach to cloud management can be immense as you enjoy improved security, enhanced cost optimization, and greater efficiency.

Kion’s Solution for Multi-Account Management

Through working with large, complex organizations like NASA, Kion realized that multi-account management is necessary for any organization serious about achieving cloud enablement.

If your cloud team is firmly rooted in a monolith, it's time to reconsider your strategy. The multi-account approach helps you stay efficient, compliant, and competitive — regardless of market or industry.


Multi-account management is essential to any successful cloud strategy. It provides better security, improved cost optimization, and greater team efficiency. Kion’s experience proves that a multi-account approach is the key to unlocking success in the cloud. The multi-account approach helps any organization in any industry achieve its goals.

With careful planning and collaboration between teams, including investing in suitable tools and resources, implementing a multi-account management system will unlock the true potential of your cloud environment.

Request a demo to learn more about how Kion can help you seamlessly manage multiple cloud accounts.

About the Author

Shane Quinlan

Shane is the VP of Product at Kion.

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