The Top 6 Challenges Multi-Cloud Platforms Face

As businesses increasingly use the cloud for day-to-day operations, communication, and data storage, many are adopting a multi-cloud strategy.

Cloud technology appeals to businesses for many reasons, such as its reduced carbon footprint. The rise of remote work in 2020 also forced many businesses to move their processes into remotely accessible cloud networks.

Now multi-cloud platforms are on the rise, businesses are seeing the advantages of working with these platforms, but they’re also experiencing challenges. This article covers the top six difficulties faced by businesses using multi-cloud platforms and offers advice on how to overcome them.

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What Is Multi-Cloud?

Before we dive into the challenges attached to multi-cloud platforms, it’s worth explaining what they are. Put simply, multi-cloud is when businesses use more than one cloud. Multi-cloud platforms are usually made up of at least two public cloud platforms and can also include private clouds. Each has its own specific purposes, applications, and services.

Multi-cloud solutions are incredibly popular with large businesses, with a 2021 report finding that 92 percent of enterprises with 1,000+ employees use a multi-cloud strategy.

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What about a hybrid cloud platform? The difference between hybrid cloud and multi-cloud is that the former is a combination of a public and private cloud that delivers one purpose or service, whereas the different cloud platforms in a multi-cloud solution have different purposes and tasks.

For example, small business phone lines with a multi-cloud platform might use one public cloud for their cloud-based phone system and another for testing and building applications.

Six Challenges Multi-Cloud Platforms Face

Multi-cloud platforms allow businesses to make the most of cloud-based technology. Few cloud providers offer absolutely everything a business needs, so leveraging multiple platforms for different purposes gives businesses a wider choice of services and features.

Multi-cloud strategies also offer extra resilience, since if one cloud platform is compromised or goes down, the business still has access to – and even backup data on – another platform.

Despite the many benefits of a multi-cloud strategy, using multiple cloud platforms is not without difficulties. Here are the top six challenges businesses experience and how they can be resolved.

1. Increased Complexity

No cloud platform is alike. Each has its own way of doing things and require its own commands, applications, and security measures to function properly. Businesses with a multi-cloud strategy may quickly discover the hidden cost of this. They may need more employees to manage the different platforms and to provide training in each of them.

So, how can businesses effectively manage a complex multi-cloud platform? Centralizing IT management and ensuring each cloud is visible and transparent to managers means cloud platform use can be monitored and problems spotted quickly.

Finding talented staff who have knowledge of a variety of cloud platforms will also make managing a multi-cloud platform easier.

2. Cost Management

Many companies use cloud software as it reduces costs, especially since the hardware and maintenance of the cloud platform is the responsibility of the provider, but multi-cloud platforms run the risk of cloud computing costs quickly spiraling.

Different cloud providers have different pricing systems, and the increased complexity of a multi-cloud platform makes it difficult for processes to be monitored. One of the biggest challenges multi-cloud platforms pose is the possibility of ‘zombie processes’ – applications or workloads running that are unnecessary, duplicated, or forgotten about.

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Careful management and regular monitoring are essential for optimizing multi-cloud investments. There’s also multi-cloud management software out there that can provide a dashboard for users to monitor costs and spot workloads or applications that are idle, overprovisioned, and wasting money.

3. Security Risks

While the best cloud platform providers offer robust encrypted cloud storage, protecting data against breaches is even more complex when a business uses a multi-cloud platform.

The increased complexity of a multi-cloud approach puts more pressure on staff to manage the security of each platform, and the regular moving of data from one cloud to another gives potential cyber attackers more opportunities to access data as it’s in transit.

A 2020 report found that 70 percent of businesses surveyed experienced a security incident in their public cloud platforms, and businesses using a multi-cloud platform reported twice as many of these.

So, how can businesses ensure their cloud platforms are protected? Any business using a multi-cloud platform will need to implement specific security measures for every cloud they use. Training employees on security measures for every platform, even those they don’t use regularly, will also reduce the risk of breaches.

4. Interoperability

When a business moves its operations to a multi-cloud platform, they’re often replacing a legacy system that was cohesive, in place for years, and had all operations together.

There are no standards for interoperability between cloud platforms, largely because cloud providers like businesses to use them exclusively. As a result, workloads on, for example, Amazon Web Services (AWS) may work very differently and cannot be integrated with workloads on Azure or Google Cloud.

Implementing an application programming interface (API) is one of the best ways to manage the inevitable lack of interoperability in multi-cloud platforms. This adds another layer between users and the multi-cloud platform and gives organizations a single, unified view of their cloud platforms.

It even offers features such as a single sign-in for all platforms and a common set of commands for workloads in different clouds.

5. Slower Connectivity

When data has to travel between different cloud infrastructures and across the internet, the network’s bandwidth is put under pressure. This is particularly frustrating for businesses that use cloud platforms for communication, such as VoIP technology, as network latency can damage the speed and effectiveness of these channels.

Slow connectivity can be kept to a minimum by IT teams if they avoid moving large amounts of data between cloud platforms and compress data before it’s moved.

6. Lack of Automation

The increased complexity and lack of interoperability also make automation more difficult. With 95 percent of IT and engineering leaders saying their organizations are prioritizing workflow automation, it’s vital that businesses adopting a multi-cloud approach consider how automation may be hampered and how they can improve this.

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If automation is a priority for your business, it’s essential that the interoperability and management of different cloud platforms is planned from the start.

Automation can help make your multi-cloud platform more visible and manageable. Research APIs and technology that can effectively and securely manage workloads and automate processes across different platforms, and ensure you’re constantly assessing automated processes so you can spot possible security gaps or wasted spend.

Conclusion

The pros of adopting a multi-cloud platform often outweigh the cons, but the challenges that come with a multi-cloud strategy should be taken seriously. Careful management, thorough staff training, and plenty of visibility of the processes taking place in each cloud are essential for managing a multi-cloud platform.

Despite these challenges, multi-cloud solutions help businesses leverage the best cloud technology features and services on offer and provide freedom and flexibility as organizations grow.

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If you are interested in even more technology-related articles and information from us here at Bit Rebels, then we have a lot to choose from.

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