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3 min

3 Factors to Consider When Optimizng a Multicloud Environment

As organizations place their workloads in multiple public cloud environments, they must take steps to streamline management, ensure security and control costs.

For a time, many organizations tried to keep their workloads running within a single public cloud environment. With only one public cloud to keep track of, IT leaders could more easily maintain a unified view of their resources, costs, management and security postures. 

But as public cloud hyperscalers have become an increasingly integral part of enterprise IT, more organizations have adopted a multicloud approach by integrating two or more public cloud environments to support their IT operations. Sometimes, these decisions come down to something as simple as which cloud vendors an IT leader is familiar with. However, there are also strategic reasons for why a particular cloud environment might be the best fit. For instance, a cloud vendor might have specific partnerships that make it an obvious choice for certain workloads. 

Whatever factors lead an organization toward a multicloud approach, IT and business leaders need to ensure their environments are in optimal shape.

Managing the Cost of Multicloud Environments

When many organizations moved resources to the public cloud for the first time, they experienced sticker shock. Too many IT and business leaders assumed that the cloud would automatically be less expensive than their on-premises environments, and often they simply performed a “lift and shift” of their resources, failing to rearchitect their workloads for the public cloud. The same thing can happen when organizations first embrace a multicloud approach: With more people spinning up more resources in more environments, costs can quickly get out of control.

Cloud vendors have native tools to help organizations monitor and manage costs. And through our value-added services, CDW can help organizations generate predictive cost models and alert stakeholders of potential cost increases.

Managing Data Across Cloud Providers

The top concern for any organization with a multicloud environment should be managing workloads so they are always fully available and offer a high level of performance. Some of this starts with application and network design. If a given program uses data from different public clouds, network latency can create lags that negatively impact the experiences of users. 

Here again, organizations can benefit from working with a trusted partner to help them manage their multicloud environments. In a managed services model, a partner handles the day-to-day management of cloud-based services and technical support, freeing up internal IT staff to tackle more strategic initiatives. For less intensive engagements, an organization may opt for cloud consulting services or periodic health checks.

Multicloud Security Demands Limited Access

Security problems can pop up quickly in a multicloud environment if organizations do not adopt (and then follow) guidelines to govern who can access given resources and how. As a rule, organizations should follow the principle of least privilege, granting users access only to the data and systems that they need to do their jobs. This doesn’t mean that organizations should toss up roadblocks that prevent employees from being productive. But it does mean that data – especially highly regulated or otherwise sensitive data – shouldn’t be easily accessible to people who don’t need it. 

There’s a sense among some that multi-cloud environments are difficult to secure. However, public cloud and multi-cloud environments can sometimes be easier to secure than an on-premise data center, precisely because the tools exist to constantly monitor environments and quickly remediate problems. It’s simply a matter of implementing them.

Story by Keith Irby