How can business introduce a multi-cloud strategy into their operations?

The trend toward multi-cloud (applications being deployed across two or more cloud platforms) is surely top of mind for any IT decision maker this year. The growth of multi-cloud adoption amongst businesses is expected to increase exponentially over the next 12 months, with Gartner predicting that multi-cloud will be the common strategy for 70% of enterprises by 2019. The key now is for businesses to gain an understanding of what each cloud can do for them and manage such a strategy effectively in order to harness each cloud’s respective benefits.

The business benefits of multi-cloud adoption

Implementing a multi-cloud strategy brings a wide array of benefits to organisations. Instead of being constrained by one framework across the entire business, multi-cloud offers the flexibility for each department to select a service that works best for their needs.

More broadly, the advantage of utilising multiple cloud platforms means businesses avoid being locked in to a single vendor, which can otherwise leave them at risk of being exposed to unexpected price hikes and changes in service. By investing in multiple cloud providers, a business has more choice as to where they run their cloud workloads, giving them leverage to minimise any additional costs.

>See also: The multi-cloud/hybrid IT environment will come to dominate the enterprise

A multi-cloud strategy also allows for added geographical flexibility when managing data. The leading cloud providers all have data centres across the globe, however some companies may require that data for specific workloads is stored within certain national boundaries.

A multi-cloud strategy means businesses can easily meet those requirements, while still engaging with a global cloud platform. As long as they’re managed effectively, businesses can also minimise the risk of widespread data loss or application downtime due to a localised failure.

Security and the cloud

With GDPR coming into effect in just a few short months, and with large scale security breaches dominating the news agenda, data security is at the forefront of every IT decision leader’s mind.

As the multi-cloud strategy continues to gather momentum in 2018, new technologies such as serverless computing, containers and machine learning are going to grow in popularity thanks to the security benefits they bring to the cloud.

Serverless computing in particular will grow in popularity as it enables cloud instances to be scaled and patched instantly, reducing cyber-risk. Machine learning, meanwhile, will help servers identify patterns of malicious behaviour and respond faster than human administrators can.

>See also: Moving to the multi-cloud: Is service aggregation the future of the cloud?

A multi-cloud strategy can help to prevent large scale data loss in the event of a breach, as the information is spread out across several different platforms. However, this relies on the multiple clouds being managed effectively.

The key characteristics of successful multi-cloud deployment are tight integration and a consistent operation – businesses should consider the fact that a single security solution may not cover them equally, resulting in additional planning required around security and governance. As multi-cloud adoption continues to rise in popularity, the importance of having complete control and oversight of all layers of data will become increasingly vital.

Making a multi-cloud strategy a reality for businesses

Whilst the benefits of multi-cloud are clear, businesses could run the risk of security breaches if they fail to effectively manage data as it moves between clouds, or take into account that each cloud may come with its own security standards.

With the cloud sector developing at a such a rapid pace, and skilled technicians with the relevant expertise in short supply, it becomes imperative that businesses look to partnerships to keep their IT infrastructure running smoothly.

This is where organisations can begin to consider the option of ‘multi-cloud as a service’. By working with a managed cloud provider, businesses are able to tailor their cloud offerings in a way that suits their individual needs and well as ensure data security is being managed effectively. This also means that any upcoming, complex regulations can be understood and abided by quickly and consistently across all cloud platforms.

>See also: Organisations need a multi-cloud strategy ‘urgently’ – IDC

As cloud becomes the new normal, and multi-cloud adoption continues to grow, IT decision makers need to make sure they have a clear strategy in place when it comes to integrating these solutions across their businesses.

It’s vital that this strategy is implemented in a way that causes minimal disruption and is scalable. Doing this will give businesses the range of tools needed to build infrastructures that will help them keep pace with technology innovation – and avoid stalling behind competitors.

Sourced by Lee James, CTO EMEA, Rackspace

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