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6 steps to build a comprehensive cloud tagging strategy

Updated: May 11


6 steps to build a comprehensive cloud tagging strategy

It can cost you a lot later on if your cloud resource tagging strategy is poorly executed or there is no strategy at all. These six steps will help you create the perfect tagging strategy.


When something can't be identified, it's difficult to manage it. The management of cloud computing resources is greatly enhanced when they have meaningful names, or tags.

Users typically assign unpronounceable labels to cloud resources, but when they are properly crafted, user-assigned tags can organize cloud resources and facilitate everything from policy changes to billing audits to security and availability.


Get a better understanding of what tags are and how to build a cloud tagging strategy.


What is a tag?

As the name suggests, a tag combines a key (a category name) with a value (what the category is). As an example, there is often reference to Environment as a key, and Development, Testing, and Production as values.

In addition to identifying resources more easily, user tags can also provide multiple identities for cross-referencing. A resource might be tagged with Environment-Production and Organization-Finance, for instance.


● A cloud tagging strategy consists of the following steps

● A successful cloud tagging strategy depends on two things:

● Creating an effective tag; and

● Consistency in their use and application.


The act of tagging isn't one-time. This is more of a commitment to a method of managing and monitoring cloud resources that should pay dividends in proportion to how seriously you take the project over the long term. Follow the steps below to develop your strategy.


Step 1. Use a team approach to find tag requirements


Popular use cases for cloud tagging

Creating a tagging strategy begins with assembling a team, which represents all the organizations that are interested in referencing cloud resource information. Team members will collect all uses of data and then decide how tags can facilitate those uses.


To avoid committing to something before obtaining all the necessary information, some users recommend that the initial team process should first focus on defining general requirements instead of tags. Tags are likely to be beneficial in the following three specific areas:

● Settlement and finance

● Monitoring and operational aspects

● Planning and organizing


Step 2. Group by data usage

Tags should be considered after collecting the data usage. Experience suggests that the best approach is to group data usage requirements by organization in order to ensure that you can separate stakeholders' requirements and map each type of data usage to a tag or set of tags. In the "who-knows" dimension of tagging, it can be as simple as creating a set of keys and values to identify the organizations that made a significant contribution to the team.


Step 3. Set up tags for common tasks

The next step is to analyze the "what-knowledge" dimension, which is how the data will be used. I recommend not creating specialized usage tags for each organization in this case. Tags are useful for facilitating tasks like cost allocation and budget reconciliation that are usually done the same way everywhere, so set them up with a common tag set.


Step 4. Generalize roles

The "how-used" dimension is created by tasks such as access management and applying security/compliance constraints. These activities may cross organizational boundaries, as does the "what-knowledge" dimension of tagging. It is common for the tasks and associated data to directly relate to a worker's role. In order to avoid having thousands of key/value tags, it's important to generalize roles as much as possible.


Use the keyword "Role" to identify your role, and then assign roles as broadly as possible, in accordance with your constraints. In order to separate worker and supervisor rights, you can add the "JobLevel" keyword.


Step 5. Determine how to tag

You're now ready to tag. The operations group that manages the cloud is best suited for tagging resources. As the saying goes, "tag everything.". You should tag every current resource with every tagging combination, even if not all of them are being used at the moment. When you create a new resource, tag it immediately before you use it.


To label resources, identify the tags associated with them, send the results to the original planning team for review, and then apply the labels from the top. It is common for companies to run reports at this point to see how the tagging strategy organizes resource data, and to aid in refining the tags.



Step 6. Create a tag plan

To document your results, create a tag plan. Any changes in tags or tagging methods must be kept current in this plan. There should be a document listing all the current tags and their reasons, a description of how resources should be tagged, and a list of the organizations responsible for tagging. There should also be examples of how each organization uses each tag.


Before you begin planning your tag strategy, take the time to consider these preliminary steps. The wrong tag plan, or no plan at all, could potentially cost a business time and money in the long run.