Why Multi-Cloud Strategies Present Multiple Challenges

What is the multi-cloud?

Welcome to the IT Cafe. What’s today’s cloud du jour? Why, the multi-cloud of course. It’s what everyone is buzzing about—but not everything being said is positive. That’s because while some organizations like the flexibility of a multi-cloud environment, managing this strategy can also cause quite the headache.

In case you’re not familiar with the multi-cloud (it’s often confused with a hybrid cloud), it involves employing two or more cloud providers instead of one. Organizations using this strategy often do so because they like the power of choice, and not having to rely on one vendor alone. They also may feel the multi-cloud offers “the best of both worlds,” allowing them to allocate specific workloads to whichever platform provides the best fit. In addition, teams within different departments may want to use a specific provider based on their experience with one, or strictly due to cost.

So, while there can be benefits to the multi-cloud strategy, there are also potential problems organizations need to be aware of. We’ve identified six key areas in which organizations frequently find themselves struggling.

1. Portal Management

Each cloud provider utilizes their own portals and processes which the organization must then manage. With each additional portal and process, the situation becomes even more complex. Something as simple as identity and access management can turn into a nightmare with each provider requiring differing password and authentication measures.

2. App Sprawl

In a multi-cloud environment, it can be difficult to monitor what applications are running and which environment they’re running on. Because employees may prefer one platform over another, this can result in an app running simultaneously across multiple clouds (resulting in both security complications and additional spend; more on both of those in a bit). 

3. Security

Different providers have different levels of security, and varying levels of response times in the event of a security breach or data loss. With a multi-cloud strategy, it’s also nearly impossible to get a 360-degree view of all activities. With employees working across different platforms, a virus may slip through due to one provider’s lack of security protocols and then infect the operations of another. This makes it difficult to know where the virus originated and which provider you should be speaking with to resolve the situation.

4. Compliance

From HIPAA to CJIS, regulations are on the rise, and constantly changing. Part of the beauty of the cloud is that your provider manages this for you; however, not every cloud provider is compliant with the same regulations. Some organizations engage with cloud providers with varying levels of compliance based on the sensitivity of data, but there’s no guarantee employees managing sensitive data won’t run an app on a platform that’s not up to standards. For that reason, it’s vital that all providers are compliant with whichever framework your organization is bound to.

5. Cost Control

Every cloud platform has its own set of billing systems, pricing structures, etc. This makes cost control and planning a full-time job—both a budgeting nightmare for IT staff and a billing nightmare for accounting. Most providers also charge when traffic moves in and out of their platform, and with multiple clouds it’s common for data to cross provider lines frequently. These network traffic costs can add up fast.

6. Skill Requirements 

Managing multiple clouds often requires having an expert of each cloud on staff. The cost of hiring professionals to manage each cloud can become expensive. And, those with training know that they’re in demand; for example, IT-experts certified in AWS command a 28% higher salary than their peers without it.

Working with a Managed IT Services Provider

Organizations that are unable to successfully manage the complexities of a multi-cloud system often turn to Managed IT Services. With Managed IT Services, organizations delegate their multi-cloud operational and support duties to a single cloud provider. This allows those with the expertise in a variety of platforms to eliminate hassles and keep IT running smoothly.

Bundling with a Virtual Private Cloud Provider

Another option is to forgo the potential messiness of a multi-cloud altogether and adopt a Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) strategy. With a VPC, your systems run on a shared infrastructure owned by one provider, greatly simplifying your IT operations. Plus, using a reputable VPC eliminates all six issues identified earlier:

  • Only one portal to manage
  • Apps are contained to one cloud
  • Security is heightened
  • Compliance is gained across the board
  • Costs are controlled
  • Internal skill requirements are reduced

DSM, Florida's preferred cloud provider, offers VPC services to businesses, government, and healthcare organizations. Plus, the DSM bundling program can really save you a bundle. Speak with one of our IT experts today to learn more about the benefits of VPC bundling.

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