Today, the term “cloud” can refer to several different concepts depending on the context in which it is used, whether it be applications, storage, infrastructure or computing.
In reality, it is a paradigm shift in how applications and services are developed, deployed and consumed. It empowers organizations to become more efficient and reduce cost while creating more scalability, flexibility and efficiency. It has revolutionized the way we store, process and access our data in a modern digital era.
Or has it?
Yes – but the specifics of how cloud is deployed can have a massive impact on achieving the intended results and outcomes in full, in part or at all. Cloud environments can easily become complex, and complexity generates risk.
There are many different choices that organizations must make (such as choosing public cloud, private cloud, software as a service or platform as a service). If they make these choices without fully understanding their impact, it dulls the competitive edge that cloud promises to deliver.
The benefits of cloud are easy to list. Realizing them is more complex
Using the cloud effectively involves successfully keeping track of a complex environment, a constantly changing landscape and various technology choices.
First, organizations must choose the right combination out of a multitude of technologies and models (public, private, multicloud or hybrid) from a wide range of providers (each with different tools and interfaces) and decide where to limit control to prevent technology sprawl and its associated costs (and risks).
Once these decisions are made, everything needs to be tied together and made compatible with legacy applications and applications that are not optimized for cloud. Security must be top of mind, no matter the architecture. There’s also the matter of risk and expense.
Moving to the cloud doesn’t automatically yield cost efficiencies. Costs can explode if the solution is not implemented correctly. Reducing costs and optimizing cloud creates an attractive model, which – if done correctly – can allow organizations to redirect funding to more important projects or innovations that can help them achieve their strategic growth outcomes.
It’s an ongoing, constant requirement to manage and optimize the cloud solution to keep the environment in its intended state. This means maximizing the use of resources, rightsizing, automatic scaling, and optimizing workload distribution. The environment must be rightsized to allow for better cost control while doing all this optimization to help lower the overall risk. This includes optimizing security controls, access controls and encryption, and having the correct monitoring in place to protect the data and applications.
It is not enough to implement the right cloud environment; it also has to be managed. Simplifying the approach or relying on a managed cloud provider (like NTT) allows your organization and employees to focus on what’s important, which will drive more innovation and better business outcomes. Let the experts focus on the day-to-day; you won’t reach your strategic goals if you’re only focusing on keeping the system running.
Complex cloud environments undermine the benefits they promise
Cloud complexity can slow down the development of new applications or services and decrease speed to market. The right deployment reduces risk, and automation can drastically improve your time to market. Speeding up the adoption of cloud-native technology can increase the pace of digital transformation, boosting innovation. This technological backing enables organizations to create new, industry-specific use cases that can set them apart from their competitors.
A complex cloud landscape is difficult to monitor effectively. Stringing together different cloud services and providers can increase the risk of vulnerabilities being exploited, resulting in services being disrupted and opening the business to data breaches.
Compliance is also important since different countries have different regulations and industry standards governing cloud. Observability solutions and managing the full stack of technologies linked to cloud can greatly reduce the risk of outages and data breaches that can interrupt operations, leak sensitive information and often cause serious reputational damage.
The complexity of cloud systems can hinder an organization's ability to scale rapidly. You can only leverage cloud’s flexibility if the environment and your deployment method is optimized.
5 ways to reduce cloud complexity
Reducing complexity begins with the multitude of choices to make when you’re creating a cloud environment. Simplifying the process starts with analyzing your current environment to allow a solution or architecture to be designed that meets your business needs, focuses on creating standards and is a true “secure by design” solution.
- Standardize and optimize processes. This will help to minimize errors, achieve more consistent deployments and significantly reduce time to market. Embracing infrastructure as code (or GitOps) enables the automation of deployment processes, leading to greater efficiency, consistency and accuracy – thereby simplifying the approach to management.
- Use a cloud management platform and related tools for centralized control and monitoring capabilities across multiple cloud environments. A centralized approach streamlines management tasks, enhances visibility and improves overall operational efficiency.
- Embrace a cloud-native architecture to leverage the innate tools and services that cloud providers offer. This leads to a focused development process using the capabilities and efficiencies offered by the cloud platform to build scalable and resilient applications as well as optimizing costs.
- Get expert guidance or partner with a managed service provider to alleviate the complexities associated with cloud deployment and choosing the right cloud provider. Experts can optimize the deployment process, address challenges and ensure the efficient usage of cloud resources, enhancing overall operational performance. It will also help to reduce the overall cost of training resources, freeing resources to focus on driving innovation and meeting business needs.
- Educate and train your teams on best practices, architectural considerations and the implications of security and cost management in the cloud. By ensuring that your workforce is well-informed, you can maximize the benefits of cloud adoption while minimizing risks and potential inefficiencies.
WHAT TO DO NEXT
Read how cloud migration got TIP Trailer Services ready for the long haul. To help deal with the complexities of renting out trucks and trailers in 18 countries, NTT helped migrate their IT environment to Azure.