With a record number of businesses moving to the cloud in recent times, it is worth considering whether or not multi-cloud environments are all that they are cracked up to be. Businesses working within both private cloud and hyper-scale multi-cloud environments report struggles with one or more intricacies of the cloud.
Whether it is inconsistent application performance, complex and expensive security, or inflexible network architecture that makes changes difficult to implement, the challenges involved with working in the cloud need to be addressed.
It is important to evaluate these technical issues from a user experience standpoint, considering the overall impact of network issues on the business’ end users. This puts into perspective the overall goal of providing a seamless user experience across a multi-cloud network that offers users access to the applications and assets housed within the business’ cloud network. With this in mind, we have listed below a few best practices to consider when implementing a multi-cloud strategy.
6 key practices for succeeding in your multi-cloud strategy
- Manage complexity
Because multi-cloud solutions require a level of expertise and careful configuration, ongoing management can present a challenge especially with assets stored in different clouds. This highlights the importance of building in flexibility from the beginning, to accommodate changes along the way and avoid expensive, unnecessary retrofits.
- Consider a cloud exchange
Following on from the point above, a cloud exchange is one way to help establish a central point between your network, public cloud providers, and SaaS providers. These can be co-located with the backbones of major cloud providers, to performance and user experience. The exchange can also house key elements of a security stack, allowing for strong, but flexible security policies.
- Create a consistent security and authentication process
Security consciousness is important for all companies. However, security should not come at the expense of app performance and an optimal user experience. While most apps can run seamlessly, security posts and unnecessary authentication procedures can often lead to performance issues and degradation. From a user’s standpoint, one or two authentication requests are OK. However, multiple authentication requests can easily impact negatively on productivity.
One solution is to create consistency in the authentication process across cloud apps. Companies that have different security protocols for different cloud apps may end up unintentionally creating a poor user experience for their users.
- Tap into your provider’s network for more secure cloud access
Businesses don’t have to build their networks from the ground up. Because major cloud providers have on-ramp capabilities that provide performance and security, it is better to leverage their networks. While this might be considered a more expensive route, it could offer businesses their own superhighway to the cloud with the promise of a more secure, more efficient performance.
- How about a cloud exchange?
A cloud exchange can help establish a central point between your network, public cloud providers, and SaaS providers. These can be co-located with the backbones of major cloud providers, with the aim of optimising performance and user experience. The exchange can also house key elements of a security stack, allowing for strong, but flexible security policies.
- Plan for application-based authentication
With application-based security measures (e.g multi-factor authentication) businesses can flexibly connect from any location without the need for VPN connections as the applications are authenticated on touch.
In summary, multi-cloud connectivity should begin with a holistic cloud strategy, with a network architecture that is flexible enough to adapt and change without being tethered to just one provider, or one set of decisions. With change being the only constant, it is important to build with flexibility in mind.
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