A short discourse on how the widespread adoption of cloud computing in businesses has increased the demand for effective management solutions.
Cloud computing is ubiquitous across segments now; enterprises of every size and scale utilise this advanced technology to run their businesses efficiently. The positive aspects of cloud adoption encouraged enterprises to explore the possibilities of cloud adoption. While large enterprises and multi-national companies were the first to make a move, with time, small and medium businesses and start-ups too started adopting cloud-based services. However, the prevalence of the pandemic played a significant role in the widespread adoption of this digital solution.
Due to pandemic movement was restricted and changing the smooth flow of operations, continuing business in the usual manner was impossible, making cloud adoption imperative. According to an IDC-SAP study, 74% of mid-market enterprises are moving more applications to the cloud. However, this shift in most cases has been towards multiple cloud platforms; larger enterprises are increasingly adopting hybrid solutions, while small and medium companies are opting for multi-cloud strategies.
Most of the organizations are deploying their applications through private and public clouds, there is an increasing demand for (CMS) cloud management solutions. Multi-cloud management (MCM) enables the development of a uniform and consistent system to handle the workflow and applications in the clouds. In short, it organizes enormous amounts of data to prevent any overload on a single cloud platform.
Need for a multi-cloud strategy
Relying on a single service provider can have several risks including, data loss, data theft and other data appropriation challenges. Minimising these hazards is possible by adopting a multi-cloud strategy which speeds up the digital transformation while allowing flexibility and scalability to the organisation.
Risk/Threat management: In the case of an infrastructure attack, a multi-cloud user can quickly switch to another cloud service provider or back to a private cloud. MCM also offers several services to lessen the risks, such as vulnerability testing, API assets consolidation, and independent systems, which provide robust authentication mechanisms with a multi-layered security approach.
Challenges in a multi-cloud environment
Managing a multi-cloud strategy is easier said than done. Several operational challenges prohibit organisations from easy adoption of multiple cloud platforms.
- Determining the best service provider for the task at hand: The identification, selection and deployment of appropriate services to the best service provider is a typical challenge that every organisation faces while implementing multi-cloud strategies. Every Cloud service provider specialises in providing a particular type of service. Companies need to decide which service provider would be apt for it.
- Replacing the existing legacy infrastructure: In most cases, the existing legacy infrastructure has been in place for years. It becomes essential for the organisations to analyse all the aspects and fit in the service providers who can effectively cater to the requirements to facilitate a successful transition. Cautiously integrating and operating multiple diverse technology solutions can help avoid work disruptions.
- Complex cost management: Most organisations shift towards the cloud to reduce costs. They can save the server cost and the expense incurred in maintaining on-premise data centres. However, an ill-managed multi-cloud environment can prove to be a costly affair. Effective cost management is possible only with appropriate cloud management software. Cloud management software helps in a consistent measurement and monitoring of costs and performance of the various cloud service providers.
- Data Security: It is important to secure sensitive data at multiple layers as there is a constant data exchange between multiple clouds. It is very difficult for attacker, as more levels an attacker must penetrate to access a valuable resource.
Role of collaboration in a multi-cloud environment
While cloud management software can help in deriving various analytics and data outputs for better management of the multi-cloud environment, achieving them without effective collaboration between the different teams working on the distinct clouds and cloud service providers is not possible. Teams can share their insights, adjust their requirements and seek suggestions and assistance from the service providers to maximise the performance of each cloud service. Furthermore, informed cloud consultants can advise teams about the features and facilities of the cloud services that are available, their advantages and disadvantages, and how to manage and integrate them.
Virtual collaboration: A growing necessity
Virtual collaboration is necessary for the effective management and functioning of a multi-cloud environment in the prevailing circumstances. While the restriction of movement and other operational problems have made it difficult to continue working in the pre-pandemic style, virtual collaboration tools have helped organisations achieve the maximum out of their multi-cloud setup. An industry estimate states that more than 63% of high growth companies had already adopted the productivity anywhere model. The same study found that 83% of the employees covered under the survey wanted a hybrid work model. This industry outlook indicates that more and more companies are embracing a hybrid or remote working model, and those left behind would soon opt for one of these. Thus, real-time collaborations and consultations would be possible only through the virtual medium.
Collaboration being essential to derive the maximum benefit from a multi-cloud environment, is possible only through the virtual medium in the present circumstances, so organisations need to adopt it at the earliest. Furthermore, cloud-based communications can come to the assistance of companies in effective teamwork and cooperation. Unified Communication solutions based on the cloud (UCaaS) can assist in effective virtual collaborations. It enables steady connection regardless of the location, device or application used by different members and service providers. Users having a valid user credential can access all communications services through a single interface, making it easier to adopt new methods of operating and collaborating. Combining all communications channels- voice, video, text, instant messages, email, presence and collaboration applications- on a single unified platform, UCaaS remodels and streamlines the modern workplace. It creates a single digital environment that can facilitate employees to connect, work and share while managing the efficient functioning of the cloud environment.
Joyjeet Bose, Sr. Vice President, Tata Teleservices