A winning strategy: Why multi-cloud has to be the end game
Analyst firm 451 Research estimates that...
Hybrid cloud has become one of the hottest topics of discussion in the technology industry, and deservedly so.
Analyst firm 451 Research estimates that 69% of enterprises will be running hybrid IT environments by 2019, while Gartner predicts that 90% of organisations will adopt hybrid infrastructure management capabilities by 2020.
Hybrid is clearly here to stay, but it’s not the only cloud trend garnering the attention of CIOs and CTOs around the world. In recent months, it has been overtaken by its close relative ‘multi-cloud’, with 79% of businesses already admitting to working with more than one cloud provider. As such, it is widely considered to be the future of cloud computing, opening up new opportunities for innovation, such as enabling organisations to ‘fail fast’ and rapidly roll out new services to customers.
As the name suggests, multi-cloud refers to the use of multiple cloud vendors and providers within a business architecture - across a mix of public and private platforms - thereby enabling organisations to separate different workloads into different environments depending on their specific requirements.
From both a business agility and cost-efficiency point of view, achieving a balance of both public and private cloud options is proving to be a winning tactic. However, there are still some people who are yet to be fully convinced.
Navigating cloudy skies
Perhaps the most obvious reason for any hesitation around multi-cloud adoption is that deploying cloud platforms and services from multiple vendors can be seen as a rather complex process, especially when it comes to efficiently weaving multiple different clouds together in a way that doesn’t hinder productivity or innovation.
The inherent technical challenges of multi-cloud deployments have the potential to cause difficulties and amplify already-existing business pressures, especially for those organisations that lack the in-house skills required to carry out such a transformation.
This is something many businesses have quickly realised as they have continued along their deployment journeys. Indeed, technical and skills challenges were identified as critical learnings from managing multiple clouds by more than half (57%) of senior IT leaders in a recent study.
This followed closely behind integrating legacy systems (62%) and simply understanding the new technology (61%), both of which highlight the importance of finding the right partners and properly planning deployments as opposed to jumping in headfirst.
Finally, as with virtually any technology in today’s climate, security is also a concern. Some businesses are under the impression that integrating multiple different systems into one environment has the potential to result in security holes. With strict legislation such as the new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) changing the way businesses think about data security and privacy, it’s an issue that is at the forefront of many minds.
But this is just one - somewhat misguided - side of the multi-cloud discussion. When it comes to transforming with cloud technologies, there are several reasons why multi-cloud is proving itself to be the correct end game for businesses in all industries.
The go-to game plan
So, why multi-cloud? Firstly, it means businesses can avoid vendor lock-in and reduce their dependence on a single vendor. This has become a key concern for the majority of enterprises, especially those that have found themselves having to rely on traditional vendors that aren’t able to offer a complete cloud package.
Not only does a multi-cloud approach therefore enable businesses to leverage the best of every cloud platform available to them rather than having to compromise, it could also save significant sums of money. Customers are no longer at the mercy of a vendor’s decision to increase costs, with the freedom of choice that multi-cloud offers also enabling them to maximise ROI and become much more cost efficient.
According to a recent survey, cost optimisation was seen as the biggest driver to adopting a multi-cloud setup, with the flexibility to spread across both public and private platforms and spin up whatever resources are needed to solve specific needs optimising the return on cloud investments. This is true from both a CapEx and OpEx perspective. Businesses that have long-term, steady compute requirements can run this privately and keep their costs predictable, while still having the flexibility to turn to the public cloud for any variable capacity needs.
Secondly, using a mix-and-match approach enables organisations to effectively leverage extended capabilities, as they can pick the best products to suit specific business needs. Different vendors will naturally innovate in slightly different areas, meaning businesses taking a multi-cloud approach can exploit developments as soon as they become available rather than having to wait for their vendor to catch up.
Ultimately, in today’s technology landscape every institution should have a plan to operate in a multi-cloud way. The journey may not be entirely straightforward, but a balance of public and private platforms is quickly proving to be the ideal deployment option for enterprises.
That’s why, for any serious business looking to be a leader in its field, establishing a multi-cloud environment simply has to be the end game.
Mark Baker, Field Product Manager, Canonical
IT Employees Predict 90% Increase in Cloud Security Spending
As companies get back on their feet post-pandemic, they’re going all-in on cloud applications. In a recent report by Devo Technology titled “Beyond Cloud Adoption: How to Embrace the Cloud for Security and Business Benefits”, 81% of the 500 IT and security team members surveyed said that COVID accelerated their cloud timelines. More than half of the top-performing businesses reported gains in visibility. In fact, the cloud now outnumbers on-premise solutions at a 3:1 ratio.
But the benefits are accompanied by significant cybersecurity risks, as cloud infrastructure is more complex than legacy systems. Let’s dive in.
Why Are Cloud Platforms Taking Over?
According to Forrester, the public cloud infrastructure market could grow 28% over the next year, up to US$113.1bn. Companies shifting to remote work and decentralised workplaces find it easy to store and access information, especially as networks start to share more and more supply chain and enterprise information—think risk mitigation platforms and ESG ratings.
Here’s the catch: when you shift to the cloud, you choose a more complex system, which often requires cloud-native platforms for network security. In other words, you can’t stop halfway. ‘Only cloud-native platforms can keep up with [the cloud’s] speed and complexity” and ultimately increase visibility and control’, said Douglas Murray, CEO at cloud security provider Valtix.
Here’s a quick list of the top cloud security companies, as ranked by Software Testing Help:
What are the Security Issues?
Here’s the bad news. According to Accenture, less than 40% of companies have achieved the full value they expected on their cloud investments. All-in greater complexity has forced companies to spend more to hire skilled tech workers, analyse security data, and manage new cybersecurity threats.
The two main issues are (1) a lack of familiarity with cloud systems and (2) challenges with shifting legacy security systems to new platforms. Out of the 500 IT employees from Devo Technology’s cloud report, for example, 80% said they’d sorted 40% more security data, suffered from a lack of cloud security training, and experienced a 60% increase in cybersecurity threats.
How Will Companies React?
They certainly won’t stop investing in cloud platforms. Out of the 500 enterprise-level companies that Devo Technology talked to throughout North America and Western Europe, 90% anticipated a jump in cloud security spending in 2021. They’ll throw money at automating security processes and investing in security upskilling programmes.
After all, company executives will find it incredibly difficult to stick with legacy systems when some cloud-centred companies have found success. Since moving from Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) offerings to the cloud, Accenture has saved up to 70% on its processes; recently, the company announced that it would invest US$3bn to help its clients ‘realise the cloud’s business value, speed, cost, talent, and innovation benefits’.
The company stated: ‘Security is often seen as the biggest inhibitor to a cloud-first journey—but in reality, it can be its greatest accelerator’.