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Cloud Enablement for Multi-Cloud Estates

Austin Fuller

6 min read

Last updated on May 17th, 2023 at 1:27pm

In today's competitive environment, organizations are increasingly asking IT teams to adopt multi-cloud strategies to create innovative capabilities, deliver new customer experiences, and remain differentiated. A multi-cloud approach involves using multiple cloud providers to satisfy a myriad of business requirements, offering benefits like flexibility in cloud services and risk mitigation.

To understand how organizations can best take advantage of multi-cloud, let’s first examine the multi-cloud concept and explore what cloud enablement looks like in a multi-cloud environment. We'll also outline some key considerations for becoming fully cloud-enabled within a multi-cloud environment.

What is Multi-Cloud?

Multi-cloud is a strategy that involves using multiple cloud computing services from different providers to manage an organization's computing resources, applications, and data. This approach means organizations can distribute their workloads across various cloud platforms, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud, to optimize performance, cost, flexibility, and security.

By adopting a multi-cloud strategy, organizations can leverage the strengths and offerings of different cloud providers, reduce the risk of vendor lock-in, and enhance resilience against potential outages or service disruptions. Additionally, a multi-cloud approach allows organizations additional flexibility in meeting specific regulatory, compliance, or data sovereignty requirements by choosing cloud providers that meet those criteria.

Ultimately, the decision to adopt a multi-cloud strategy should be carefully considered, weighing the potential benefits against the costs and challenges involved. Organizations should have a clear vision of their end goals and be prepared to invest the necessary resources for a successful outcome.

What is Cloud Enablement for Multi-Cloud Estates?

For many, there are better strategies or best practices than multi-cloud. Instead, a multi-cloud approach is usually selected when it is the most viable option to accomplish specific business outcomes. However, the current reality of multi-cloud deployments is riddled with challenges, complexities, and potential risks.

This is where cloud enablement comes in.

Cloud enablement transforms an organization's cloud operations from a drain on resources to a catalyst for success. It changes how you see your cloud, enabling faster development and more efficient operations. Through automation, governance, and strategic alignment, cloud enablement ensures cloud infrastructure and management is aligned with an organization's unique needs and goals.

To effectively enable a multi-cloud environment, an organization needs to support it with all three pillars of cloud enablement: automation & orchestration, financial management, and continuous compliance.

Automation & Orchestration

Automation is the key to scaling a multi-cloud environment by streamlining the management of policies, roles, permissions, and compliance requirements across multiple cloud platforms. In addition, this approach simplifies configuration processes and reduces the need for learning various skills and methods specific to each cloud provider.

By automating the provisioning and configuration of cloud accounts, organizations can ensure consistent policies and permissions are applied across all platforms. This uniformity helps reduce the risk of non-compliance and security breaches and ensures accounts are configured properly for internal requirements and policies.

Orchestration unifies the management of multi-cloud environments through a single control plane by integrating various cloud services and tools into one cohesive system. This centralized approach allows teams to manage cloud access, monitor financials, and maintain compliance in one place.

Financial Management

Financial management is usually one of the top priorities for any cloud environment but is an absolute must in a multi-cloud scenario. The biggest challenge for multi-cloud financial management is understanding and visualizing cloud costs. In a multi-cloud setup, siloed cost reports from individual cloud providers often give a fragmented view of cloud spend, making it difficult for organizations to understand their expenses comprehensively.

Organizations need to aggregate spending data from multiple clouds into a single platform to overcome this. This centralized approach allows for better visibility of overall costs, enabling organizations to enforce budgets effectively and optimize their cloud investments.

A unified financial management solution facilitates the attribution of multi-cloud costs back to internal cost centers. This enables organizations to allocate resources more efficiently, hold departments accountable for their cloud usage, and make data-driven decisions about resource allocation.

Viewing spend in a multi-cloud environment with Kion

Continuous Compliance

Because of how quickly a multi-cloud environment can change, compliance can’t be a single event that occurs annually before audit time. Instead, compliance must be continual as the multi-cloud environment evolves; otherwise, teams will always play catch up to meet and maintain compliance with various industry standards and regulations such as NIST, HIPAA, and SOC2. Additionally, in a multi-cloud context, organizations must manage a diverse range of workloads across different cloud providers, which complicates the process of scanning and ensuring that the appropriate controls are in place for each unique workload permutation.

The siloed nature of native tools within cloud platforms makes it difficult to establish a unified view of compliance posture across the entire organization. To overcome this challenge, organizations must implement a centralized compliance management solution that provides visibility into compliance status across multiple cloud environments. This solution should also include automatic remediation capabilities to prevent drift from a compliant state once compliance requirements are satisfied.

Unfortunately, the native tools found in AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud do not offer multi-cloud compliance remediation capabilities. This limitation means organizations must acquire additional expertise in each cloud platform to configure and remediate compliance findings effectively. For some organizations, that may not be possible, or they may find acquiring and maintaining this specialized skill set across all their cloud platforms can be too resource-intensive and time-consuming.

Specifically, organizations need to be able to apply compliance checks and remediate findings in one place for all clouds to effectively maintain compliance with industry standards and regulations and reduce the burden on their internal teams. This positions teams to be proactive and continuously monitor their compliance posture, streamlining compliance management and reducing the risk of non-compliance.

How to Get Started with Multi-Cloud Cloud Enablement

Enabling a multi-cloud environment is a significant undertaking. Here at Kion, we learned a lot of lessons ourselves when we transitioned to a multi-cloud strategy. To get started, organizations should follow a strategic approach that incorporates the following key steps:

  1. Assess your organization's needs. Begin by identifying your business objectives and determining which cloud providers and services best align with your specific requirements. Consider unique services, cost, performance, security, and compliance factors.
  2. Develop a multi-cloud strategy. Create a comprehensive multi-cloud strategy that encompasses workload distribution, data management, cost optimization, security, and compliance. Ensure the strategy is flexible and scalable to adapt to changing business needs.
  3. Upskill your workforce. Invest in training and development programs to build the necessary skills within your organization to manage multiple cloud platforms effectively. Encourage cross-platform expertise and foster a culture of continuous learning.
  4. Implement multi-cloud management tools. Leverage multi-cloud management tools, like Kion, to streamline operations, automate processes, and gain a unified view of your multi-cloud environment. These tools can help you monitor and optimize costs, maintain compliance, and improve overall visibility.
  5. Establish a governance framework. Develop a governance framework that outlines roles, responsibilities, and processes to ensure consistent management and operation across your multi-cloud environment. This framework should encompass security, compliance, cost management, and resource allocation. In addition, you should reference and incorporate the best practice framework provided by your selected cloud providers whenever possible.

These considerations will help you to outline exactly what you need from your multi-cloud environment and avoid the common pitfalls that make multi-cloud a challenge instead of a competitive advantage.

Kion offers the only single-platform approach to cloud enablement for AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud by providing all three pillars necessary for total cloud control: automation & orchestration, financial management, and continuous compliance. Considering a complete cloud enablement platform can be daunting, so we offer a complimentary trial of the entire Kion platform in your environment for 30 days. To see more or start a trial, reach out to our team to request a demo.

About the Author

Austin Fuller

Austin has nearly a decade of experience in enterprise software and cybersecurity and is an AWS-certified cloud practitioner.

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