Using different clouds proved to be worthwhile for large companies. Even small and medium-sized businesses are attracting more value from the use of multi-cloud, if they are doing it right.
IT is growing in most companies because employees need a variety of tools and the right infrastructure for their day-to-day work. As more workloads, apps, and services need more and scalable resources, companies rely on the cloud. It’s hard to commit to a single cloud provider – even if it’s all about Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Companies that also want to integrate Platform and Software as a Service (PaaS and SaaS) usually do not care about using multiple vendors.
The simultaneous use of multiple clouds is not only useful for large companies, but also for the middle class. However, since the IT departments of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) often entrust individuals with different topics, nobody can specialize and focus on cloud use alone. Digitization often needs to be done away with if those responsible do not get external IT support for it. For cloud services, SMEs, therefore, prefer to rely on just one solution that covers a wide range of topics instead of several different solutions, each of which requires experts.
This is too short: A single provider does not have the best solution for every application. Especially when it comes to PaaS and SaaS, users are better off with different, specialized solutions. This will give you the results you want more quickly and, thanks to Muti-Cloud, will be more flexible because you can book, scale and unsubscribe from the most appropriate cloud services as needed. On the other hand, if such an offer is lacking, departments are easily tempted to use shadow IT. You then post cloud services to the IT department.
Prevent shadow IT with the right services
Multi-Cloud, which addresses the needs and desires of users, and is strategically deployed, can mitigate shadow IT. Because if departments are satisfied with the official offer of the IT department, they have no incentive to use other cloud services. If the IT department itself offers various tools and responds quickly to the requirements of the departments, the motivation to fall back on shadow IT is eliminated. As multi-cloud expertise is often not sufficiently specialized in SMEs and resources are limited, they often rely on external specialists.
A strategic approach to multi-cloud
If SMEs choose to use more than one cloud provider, it pays off to work with a cloud integrator right from the start, even as the cloud strategy evolves. He brings expertise in the cloud environment and has experience with multi-cloud projects in SMEs. In the first step, he analyzes the specific needs of the company, describes the requirements and use cases. In addition, the cloud integrator collects data on services already used and the existing infrastructure and deals intensively with the customer’s motivation to use multi-cloud: Where are there gaps? What do the employees want? Here it is important to ask the needs of both the IT and the specialist departments.
The results are used by the IT integrator to prioritize topics and services and identify appropriate cloud providers. He outlines the advantages and disadvantages of different offerings, such as identity management, multifactor authentication or backup and disaster recovery. The cloud integrator also knows the appropriate environment for development environments, tools for communication and collaboration, such as Office365, and database services Providers. So SMEs do not have to tackle the biggest hurdle in multi-cloud – finding and choosing the right offerings.
Only on the basis of all this data, the service provider develops a suitable strategy together with the company. By doing so, SMEs avoid unnecessary overhead, such as the uncoordinated use of cloud services and associated errors.
If requirements and strategy are fixed, fine selection is the key. Cloud offerings must be integrated with existing infrastructure and must meet at least the company’s security and privacy policies. It’s a good idea to only list certified cloud providers. It should be planned that security and data protection are also the responsibility of the user in the case of public cloud services.
Once suitable clouds have been selected for the multi-cloud and their security is ensured, the next hurdle is already waiting: the right reference model. Even when choosing a suitable model, it will be difficult. There are reference models that are tailored to the needs of SMEs.
The more clouds the user uses, the more complex the administration of the services and the planning of the costs will be in addition to the reference model. In addition, IT managers must assign rights and adapt the services to current needs. Again, it is worthwhile to resort to manufacturer-independent service providers. They know the best models and advise expertly. They also prepare users for the distribution of costs that is changed by multi-cloud and provide an overview.
From theory to practice
When strategy, security and reference models for the multi-cloud are involved, implementation is the key. The cloud integrator supports migration: It knows the effects on the existing infrastructure, can correctly plan necessary downtime and thus creates the conditions for the migration. He knows how dependencies change – for example, a stable, fast Internet connection is essential – and which processes need to be adapted to the multi-cloud. The IT service provider integrates the multi-cloud and helps in operational operation. He always involves the IT staff in all steps so that they can then operate the cloud services themselves. In addition, he can take over migration, integration and the operation of the cloud completely. Then he also continuously optimizes the infrastructure.
Multi-cloud environments are a useful solution for mid-sized businesses. Get in the planning and implementation of external support, they can easily find the right offers for IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS. Without having to build up extensive expertise, they flexibly deploy cloud services tailored to their needs. If necessary, they can also outsource the operation of different clouds.