Surveil Can Probably Save You Money

Saving money in the cloud

Written by Dan Callahan

I'm the VP of Global Services at CGNET. I manage our Cybersecurity and Cloud Services businesses. I also provide consulting and handle a lot of project management. I wear a lot of hats. Professionally, I'm a builder of businesses. Outside of work, I'm a hobby farmer, chef, skier, dog walker, jokester, woodworker, structuralist, husband and father.

September 15, 2022

“What if I could save you 25% on your expenses, would that get your attention?” Cough once for each time someone has tried that line on you. If you are still coughing at the end of this paragraph, go ahead and stop. I will just put you down for “more than twenty.” So, I understand your skepticism as I tell you that this tool I discovered, Surveil, can probably save you money.


Two reasons: complexity and entropy.

With Complexity Comes Opportunity

Remember telecommunications expense management services (TEMS)? A TEMS company would approach you with this offer. “Let me manage your telecom expenses and you can pay me a percentage of the savings I find. These companies thrived because of the complexity that telecom companies built into their service offerings and pricing. Folks did not have the time or inclination to keep up with the carrier’s new plans. Why not pay someone else who made it their job to do that? Besides, folks were paying TEMS companies out of cost savings. It was sort of like free money.

Surveil is a little like that, except it looks at Azure and Microsoft 365/Office 365 spending. Just yesterday I had a customer ask me if I could help them sort out their Microsoft 365 licensing. They were not sure they were using the proper licenses given how users were taking up the various Microsoft 365 services.

Enter Surveil. With Surveil, the tool can look to see if you are paying for a service that is already available via a different subscription. Maybe you bought Azure Identity Protection Plan 2 when you implemented MFA (multi-factor authentication). Now, MFA is included in the Microsoft 365 Business plans. Surveil will tell you that you could switch from (say) Office 365 E3 and AIP Plan 2 to Microsoft 365 Business Premium and save some money.

Surveil also looks at your Azure subscriptions to see where you can save some money. Years ago, I tried (unsuccessfully) to convince and engineering team to run our office lighting management app in the cloud. Surveil could have helped them not worry about runaway cloud service costs.

Entropy Happens

Sure, I could get geeky and talk about entropy and the second law of thermodynamics. But that would be just so much puffery. We can work with a simpler notion of entropy, one that anyone raising a child understands.

Entropy means things get messier over time.

What does a kid do when faced with a tidied-up playroom? Say it together: they take every toy out of its cubby, bag or box and dump it all on the floor. Now that looks better!

Fast forward to Azure. You specified an Azure environment to run one of your applications. (Congratulations on getting it into the cloud, by the way!) You could not be sure exactly how much resource you would need to run the app, so you erred on the side of more resources. Makes perfect sense.

Surveil comes in and looks at what resources that app has been using. Look at that! The app seems to run just fine on a storage tier lower than the one you are presently paying for. Money saved.

Does this sound familiar? Someone “spins up” an Azure instance to build or test an application. They move on to other projects and forget to take down the Azure instance they created. It sits there, running its meter and you do not even know it.

Here comes Surveil. It identifies Azure instances that have not been used in a while. Like, a long while. You shut them down and save some cash. You also close down potential hosts for malware and ransomware, but that is another story for another day.

Surveil Helps You Run a Smooth Operation

Saving money is great and all. But Surveil may do more for you if you use it on a regular basis to clean up your Azure and Microsoft 365 environments. Remember, entropy is a constant issue. You could use a tool that would help you manage it on more than an annual basis.

I am still researching the company and the technology. I will keep you updated. I would love to hear your feedback on Surveil!

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