The Top 6 Strategies to Build a Successful Multi-Cloud Strategy
Managing Director, Data Center
Thought Leadership, Cloud, Data Centres, Enterprise Networking, Security
The cloud is a foundational aspect of digital-first businesses, and the number one technology for companies in Asia-Pacific to succeed in Digital Transformation. According to the results of the recent Ready, Steady, Unsure study by Cisco, 70% of companies in this region believe the cloud is the most important technology in their digital transformation strategies and 80% have adopted it - preceded only by cybersecurity.
The fact that cloud plays a critical role in companies’ digital future is not exactly new. For the last decade, companies have been moving their data, applications and workloads to the cloud in search of flexibility and scalability. What’s different now is that there is a variety of cloud providers, leading companies to adopt multi-cloud strategies, which means they are using several public clouds in combination with their own private cloud.
This approach has paid its dividends and helped companies accelerate growth and digital transformation. However, it has also led to very common challenges that include lack of interoperability in the cloud environment, complexity, deficient security, or unexpected increase in costs.
With cloud playing such a critical role in digital transformation, how can then companies successfully adopt a multi-cloud strategy and avoid the common pitfalls? Here are six critical steps to take into consideration.
Build an integrated and predicable security framework
Security is the number one concern for companies. In fact, security (as well as privacy, compliance or regulatory demands) help to explain why companies preserve their private data centers. In doing so, companies only reinforce the need to build new security frameworks that integrate their private and public clouds, as well as the edge and the network. At Cisco, we provide such integrated security platform by leveraging data, analytics and machine learning to proactively detect threats. Indeed, we are able to identify threats in hours, compared to the industry average of more than 100 days.
Optimize the network for cloud
Cloud is the delivery of computing services over the Internet. Guess what happens when the amount of clouds, services, data, and users continue to grow? That’s right: it becomes harder for the network to connect and secure all the elements. Latency and user problems will emerge, defeating the all-purpose of cloud. Cloud applications require a new network architecture, and that’s why technologies like SD-WAN are on the rise right now. Analysts predict this market will grow 8x by 2021 and Cisco’s Ready, Steady, Unsure study does validate the momentum. The report revealed that 63% of IT leaders in Asia-Pacific have opted for SD-WAN in the last three years, and only 47% for traditional routing.
Simplify, simplify, simplify
The cloud has blessed businesses in all industries with many benefits. Unfortunately, we have lost the benefit of simplicity somewhere along the way. Why is that? Because in the race to develop features, each cloud created its own set of tools, APIs, and processes. This has led to a form of lock-in for companies that makes it hard for them to move and manage workloads between clouds. However, there is some good news on the horizon here with the continuous adoption of containers, and the expanded use and maturity of Cloud Management Platforms. I’m particularly bullish on containers. The move to a container-based architecture brings greater agility and, if done correctly, also abstracts the application from the underlying infrastructure, making them far more portable as well.
Gain visibility over your cloud environment
Lack of visibility is the root of many problems companies encounter in cloud. How much of the cloud is being consumed? What security threats are there? Which apps, workloads and data are in use? Most companies don’t have the answer to these questions, which results in cloud wastage, lack of control over consumption and, consequently, higher costs. The good news is that with the right technologies in place, companies can gain visibility and control over their cloud environments.
Modernize your Data Center
With companies combining private and public clouds, and massively moving data from public cloud back to private even, companies ought to consider modernization of their infrastructure. The right new infrastructure is agnostic to whichever clouds you want to run over it and it will offer machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities to help companies make sense of the growing amounts of data. Cisco’s digital readiness report revealed that companies in Asia-Pacific are aware of this as nearly 70% said they had upgraded their data centers in the last 3 years, but 38% still think the new infrastructure is not able to support new digital needs. This is because performance and long-term value should be the top criteria when modernizing – not price, as 37% in the report have learned.
Grow cloud talent
Finally, you would assume that there’s plenty of cloud talent out there after so many years in the market. It sounds like there’s not. The same Cisco report shows that lack of talent is in fact the number one reason why companies in Asia-Pacific are not able to adopt cloud (39%). This is a high percentage, particularly if we compare it to more nascent technologies such as IoT or automation (40%). Much of this skills and talent gap in cloud is due to the app development, like containerization, which is different from creating and deploying monolithic apps. While outsourcing has been a part of the answer in addressing this challenge, that has also made cloud more expensive. Growing and training talent is essential and needs to be the way forward.
Learn more about Cisco’s technology readiness report: https://www.cisco.com/c/m/en_au/digital-ready/index.html
Learn how cisco can help you: cisco.com/go/multicloud