We’re reaching a point of maturity when it comes to cloud computing. Organizations are solidifying their use-cases, understanding how cloud impacts their business, and are building entire IT models around the capabilities of the cloud.
The bottom line is this: Organizations are now specifically defining their cloud as it impacts their business directly.
Now, IT leaders and business decision-makers can classify the services that they need and consume as they grow.
As you grow out your cloud strategies, remember that cloud growth will only continue. Gartner recently pointed out that more than $1 trillion in IT spending will, directly or indirectly, be affected by the shift to cloud during the next five years.
“Cloud-first strategies are the foundation for staying relevant in a fast-paced world,” said Ed Anderson, research vice president at Gartner. “The market for cloud services has grown to such an extent that it is now a notable percentage of total IT spending, helping to create a new generation of start-ups and “born in the cloud” providers.”
So, with cloud adoption continuing to grow and expand, it’s critical to ensure the stability of your cloud ecosystem. Whether you’re investing in the public, private, or hybrid cloud – balance is vital to provide minimal outages and optimal performance. To that extent, there are three easy things to keep an eye on as you evolve your cloud strategy: Monitoring, Replication, and Security.
- Monitoring. We’ve discussed this before – but the concept is simple when it comes to the cloud: You can’t manage what you can’t see. Cloud environments are often complex, intertwined, systems accessing multiple resources spanning some data centers. Most of all, many organizations are leveraging the power of a hybrid cloud to stay competitive. With this in mind, and as you look at your cloud ecosystem – ask yourself ‘just how good is my monitoring and reporting environment?’ Often, you might have to leverage different tools to ensure you have complete visibility into your entire cloud platform. Consider these monitoring metrics:
- Network Performance (site-to-site, cloud, on-premise)
- Latency Monitoring (application, user, data, etc.)
- Application Monitoring (performance, delivery, access)
- Login and Access Monitoring (users, APIs, data points)
- License Usage (data, application, users)
- Resource Usage and Utilization
Of course, your organization might have other specific requirements around cloud monitoring. Ensure that you have access to reports which can give you actionable, predictive, analytics around your cloud so that you can stay ahead of any issues. This measure goes a long way in helping your cloud be stable.
Replication. This step falls under a broad category of resiliency, uptime, and failover. Your cloud is a direct part of your business. So, what happens if a critical component goes down? Do you have a backup plan? Cloud replication involves data, applications, users, cloud resources, and potentially more. There are strong systems which can help you replicate between on-premise and even cloud-to-cloud deployments.
Furthermore, you can create great data replication architectures around your most critical points. Your replication requirements may undoubtedly vary, but it’s always important to test out your replication methodologies and ensure that they’re operating optimally. This means testing failover, ensuring that remote data points are replicating correctly, and continually evolving your environment around what needs replication. Cloud is never a stationery project; there’s always an evolution. So, the better your data and cloud replication strategies, the less downtime and loss will be experienced.
Security. This subject is a hard one to cover in one bullet point. However, your cloud security strategy must be genuinely holistic. Cloud security allows you to secure a variety of different types of workloads, data sets, applications, and more. This goes beyond just deploying a next-generation firewall. Now, you can leverage cloud-to-cloud security, compliance-based – secure – replication and storage, and even security analytics. In creating a cloud security strategy, make sure to answer the following questions:
- Where is my data being stored and who has access to it?
- Do I have visibility into all network paths, onsite and remote?
- How am I controlling data and user access?
- Have I documented all of my cloud services?
Modern cloud security strategies will revolve around everything from identity management to encrypting key data points in motion. A big piece of advice is to monitor and secure your cloud services. And, once you create your security strategy, always test it out. Conduct vulnerability testing and ensure that everything is up-to-date and verified. Too often administrators set good security policy and forget to evolve. Or, they’ll lose visibility into the components within their cloud ecosystem. Remember, rogue accounts, poor access strategies, and misconfigurations are leading causes around breaches and data loss. Lock down your users, data points, and access into your cloud ecosystem. From there, you create real cloud stability.
Moving forward, IT managers will need to keep a close eye on their cloud ecosystem. Remember, the business and the requirements of the IT environment defines cloud. This premise means reliance on this infrastructure will continue to grow. Unlike legacy data center systems, the cloud can be a complex – ever evolving – IT and business process. This means cloud stability will also translate to business stability; and user confidence. It will be critical to ensure your cloud environment can support business goals by providing uptime, resiliency, security, and next-generation capabilities.
For any questions or assistance on how to create, support, and maintain a custom cloud infrastructure for your organization, please contact MTM Technologies.