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Regardless of your size and industry focus, most organizations have come to understand how cloud computing services can benefit them. But what about multi-cloud? Only now are leadership and IT teams considering using a multiple cloud framework for their product needs. There are cost benefits when it comes to scaling, deploying new services, and innovation. There are security, flexibility, and resiliency benefits that be difficult and expensive to replicate on-prem, especially in SMBs trying to keep pace with changing standards.
A recent study by Flexera State of the Cloud Report found that 89% of businesses are planning to adopt a multicloud strategy in the next 2 years in order to better meet their needs. 80% are taking a hybrid approach by combing the use of both public and private clouds.
Multicloud architectures that utilize public, private, and hybrid cloud services can be a smart investment strategy for many businesses, especially for mid-market organizations. By distributing your cloud management tasks between multiple providers, you will be able to achieve greater efficiencies, take advantage of innovation opportunities, and establish complete agility and flexibility. Let's take a look at the moments that signal - it's time to move to multicloud.
When Should You Consider Adopting a Multicloud Strategy?
Every business has a different set of complex costs, needs, and regulatory restrictions that make it hard to cast an umbrella over every potential situation that could lead to benefits from hopping into the multicloud. It’s important, therefore, for decision-makers to carefully weigh their needs alongside potential drawbacks and benefits. Are there mission-critical business needs that warrant the added cost and complexity? Although it’s impossible to draw conclusions for every organization, the following are some scenarios where it could make sense to adopt a multicloud strategy:
- When you need to comply with regulatory or legal requirements that could cause considerable risks or costs without adopting multicloud.
- Enhancing business agility and competitiveness and accelerating the development of flexible tools and solutions by taking advantage of best-of-breed tools on each platform.
- Cutting downtime in cases where you already have a suite of containerized services.
- If your cloud vendor suddenly changes its strategy, service level agreements (SLAs), or pricing model, you don't have much room here to negotiate terms or control your data.
- You need to strengthen your security practices and working with a single cloud provider isn't providing enough data protection in addition to your security practices in-house.
- If you experience any downtime or outages, relying on only one cloud provider won't get things up and moving quickly. Having a disaster recovery backup with multiple clouds will keep your data safe and accessible.
- But in general, increasing efficiency and innovation opportunities, reducing costs, and improving agility, resilience, flexibility, and scalability are top-of-mind priorities.
There may be a host of other concerns, situations, and opportunities for going into the multicloud successfully, but those are just a few that organizations are already facing.
Points for Consideration
There isn’t only one direction that heads into the multicloud. There are several different approaches that will land your organization there. The key is to prepare properly, and there are some commonalities in this realm. For example:
A. Accept the Complexity
Of necessity, adding more clouds to your environment will increase the complexity of that environment. You’ll need to adjust to the formats and rules inherent in each different cloud platform. It may help to create a visual map to visualize those different cloud neighborhoods from each vendor so you can get a handle on how your infrastructure could change, and how best to adapt to it.
B. Avoid Vendor Lock-In
This is, quite frankly, one of the best advantages of going into the multicloud. Working with more than one public vendor helps you create redundancies that help you manage risks and prevent disasters if one of those platforms has problems.
C. Consider the Cost as an Investment
Every business action comes with a cost. The question is, based on your business objectives and challenges, does the return on investment make sense here? Will the solution move you forward enough to justify the expense? Only after careful consideration and weighing all of the facts can you come up with an answer to that question. By picking and choosing the different flavors of services each vendor offers, you can take advantage of their strengths to propel your business forward, which is usually a cost worth paying.
D. Focus on Automation
Put the automation tools and solutions available on each platform to work for you. This actually reduces your computing resource needs, which can save you money and increase the speed of development and deployment. With many cloud services charging granular fees, this can significantly reduce the overall cost of managing workloads and organizing containers.
E. Nail Down the Security
Always of paramount importance, it’s critical to plan ahead for every security risk possible to minimize risks and protect yourself and your clients. First, you’ll want to have a disaster recovery plan in place so that data can quickly be protected or saved in case of an emergency. Most public cloud providers have robust security resources, but you only have to keep one eye on the news to see that sometimes even the best security fails. The key is to build yourself multiple layers of security and contingency plans. Using multiple cloud platforms can complicate this process, so before moving that way, have some serious discussions and make some solid plans.
About Multicloud Security: Best Practices Regarding Serverless Functions
Security is such a crucial part of this discussion, let’s cover some best practices you can consider as you make your plans to move into the multi-cloud environment. This should help you prepare ahead to avoid and minimize potential disasters.
A. The Least Privilege Principle
Serverless functions perform tasks when triggered by events, commonly spread across distributed multicloud architectures. That means an event in one area could trigger an event somewhere else. This makes employing the “principle of least privilege” important. In other words, giving very restricted permissions and defining very specific actions that occur only under particular circumstances is key to blocking unauthorized events that could trigger other unauthorized events.
B. Locking Down API Access to Any Serverless Functionality
Limit API access to just the specific function it performs. This will limit interactions with the functionality to only those entities authorized to do so.
C. Create Network Boundaries Around Serverless Functions
Boundaries are always important. They protect sensitive data and functions from attack and misuse. If there ever comes a time when malicious code weasels its way into your systems, for example, the attacker could direct sensitive data outside of the boundaries, which would be a disaster. This is why you would create rules that ensure data does not leave the network and traffic is restricted only to your chosen destination within the network.
Questions about Multicloud Solutions in a Serverless Framework?
Businesses are already making the shift into multicloud and serverless ecosystems because they create a highly available active-active failover design across different clouds instead of the active-passive failover. In the event that one cloud service becomes unstable in some way, companies can reroute events and requests through other cloud environments to keep things moving. Businesses need to keep looking out for which environments and platforms will provide the safest, smoothest, most fully-featured ecosystems for their workloads to run on. By going into the multicloud, organizations can choose services to optimize their performance and save money, which can give them a competitive edge. Although this flexibility does come at the cost of increasing complexity, planning ahead for contingencies can reduce the risk and headaches somewhat.
What questions do you have about going into the multicloud with serverless apps? We’ve been working on this for some time now and have a lot to say about the topic! Let us know if you have any questions or thoughts about it!