With cloud computing being the standard for enterprise IT architectures today, businesses are opting for multi-cloud strategies to make their systems more robust and efficient.
According to an IBM study, 85% of enterprises today utilize multi-cloud workloads. That figure is expected to rise to 98% by 2021 as more companies realize the advantages of multi-cloud management.
In spite of that, businesses are making costly mistakes in multi-cloud strategies that also impact the performance of their systems.
What are these mistakes and how can enterprises overcome them?
What is a multi-cloud strategy?
Enterprises may use more than one cloud platform or application to achieve their business objectives — this is known as the multi-cloud. Multi-cloud strategies can be made up of public, private, or hybrid clouds or a mixture of all three.
Where single-cloud strategies rely on one vendor to solve all of an enterprise’s infrastructure needs, there exist multiple vendors in multi-cloud strategies which overcome the disadvantages of vendor lock-in.
Multi-cloud environments also allow enterprises to choose the best providers for each need based on factors like proximity or SLAs. For example, an organization in California may strike a deal with other American-based cloud providers due to the increased reliability and server uptime.
Overcoming shadow IT (one of the biggest problems affecting enterprises today) is another benefit of using multi-cloud strategies in enterprises.
The scale of shadow IT in enterprises (image source)
With a multi-cloud strategy, companies can use different cloud providers and applications to meet the needs of each business department. This drastically cuts down on shadow IT while giving employees a lot more flexibility in using the applications they require to perform their tasks effectively.
How does having an inefficient multi-cloud approach affect organizations?
Overspending is a recurring issue in multi-cloud strategies. As numerous cloud applications are used, businesses can spend way over their expected budget if there is no policy in place to govern its use.
To prove this point, customers waste more than $6.4 billion a year on average from inefficient AWS usage. That is a lot of wasted money, especially for enterprises where every dollar counts in maintaining healthy business operations.
Poorly planned multi-cloud ecosystems also make the infrastructure complex rather than making it easier for development teams.
This leads to problems in many areas, including governance, compliance, and communication between relevant team members, ultimately leading to decreased productivity and lower revenue in enterprises.
What are the common multi-cloud strategy mistakes and their solutions?
Building a multi-cloud strategy without the technical capability
For many organizations, moving to the cloud is already an uphill technical battle.
Combine that with the complexities involved in implementing a multi-cloud strategy and you have a failure waiting to happen. This is especially true if the organization’s IT team does not have sufficient experience with the cloud.
A study by Gartner shows that only 20% of employees today have the skills required for their current and future roles. This is nowhere near ideal for digital transformation efforts, especially for enterprise cloud solutions.
At the same time, implementing a cloud-based architecture is not as straightforward as it seems due to the scale of operations in enterprises.
So, it’s important for businesses to take things step by step when implementing a multi-cloud strategy. There must be a clear, easy-to-follow pathway from planning, building, testing, and deploying assets (i.e. rightsizing) across multiple cloud environments to cut down on errors and inefficient implementations.
The people working on the cloud matter as well. Since it is a relatively young industry, enterprises must invest in training and education for their team members working with cloud environments.
Weak and inadequate multi-cloud security
Security is a major issue in multi-cloud strategies. Over $50 billion was lost to data breaches alone in the last five years—an alarming stat that shows how costly weak security can be to enterprises.
While cloud providers do provide security features to customers, it is still the responsibility of the enterprise to secure its infrastructure. Application-level security features, for example, do not prevent an unauthorized employee from accidentally modifying critical cloud resources.
The key to a secure multi-cloud strategy is to impose strict governance and authorization controls. Some examples include allowing only cloud engineers to make changes to cloud resources and to always use updated applications.
Policies aside, companies should use containers to further reduce vulnerabilities in multi-cloud implementations. Containers virtualize cloud applications in isolation, which means errors or threats will only affect the particular container rather than the entire ecosystem.
Adopting a cloud infrastructure that is vulnerable to cloud sprawl
Cloud sprawl happens when companies deploy too many unused or underutilized workloads in their cloud infrastructure.
This is particularly prevalent in multi-cloud strategies with poor resource planning and management. For example, a developer may deploy several AWS instances for work purposes but forget to shut it down correctly after the work is done.
Cloud sprawl also poses security risks as idle resources are likely to contain production data which can be exploited, thus affecting the daily operations of enterprises.
Just like improving security, overcoming cloud sprawl relies heavily on governing the use of cloud resources. Ideally, machines and workloads should only be deployed whenever necessary and with approval from department heads.
How cloud visualization tools can help overcome multi-cloud strategy mistakes
A good chunk of multi-cloud mistakes arise from poor management and a lack of insight in understanding how cloud assets interact with one another.
With a visualization tool, businesses have access to a visual view of every asset in their multi-cloud implementation, making resource planning and management much easier.
Cloudivize helps enterprises to overcome their multi-cloud challenges by visualizing relationships between every AWS resource.
With Cloudivize, enterprises can track each AWS asset to identify their usage and performance metrics. This allows you to easily manage and make changes to your multi-cloud strategy to improve its efficiency and reduce costs significantly.
Request a demo today to find out how Cloudivize can help your organization improve its multi-cloud strategy with our interactive visual management platform.
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