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Multicloud adoption: The challenges of multicloud management

Multicloud environments can create cloud security and governance challenges. Cloud training and visibility are critical to multicloud strategy success.

Jan 18, 2024 • 4 Minute Read

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  • Cloud
  • Engineering Leadership
  • Business

Companies that run on technology are forging ahead with multicloud adoption due to—or perhaps, in spite of—significant market volatility.

But multicloud environments aren’t always the right choice for everyone. Before joining the race to multicloud, consider the challenges of implementing multiple clouds and the strategies needed to succeed with cloud computing long term.

Table of contents

Why organizations adopt multiple clouds

According to Pluralsight’s 2023 State of Cloud report, more than 65% of organizations currently operate within multicloud environments, and another 20% report they’re actively pursuing an additional cloud platform for their cloud environment. To support this rapid adoption, 71% of leaders also plan to increase cloud budgets over the next year.

It’s not difficult to see why so many companies are leaving single cloud environments behind and heading down the multicloud road. By leveraging multiple cloud providers, organizations can strategically distribute workloads and applications, mitigating risks associated with vendor lock-in and potential service outages. This approach fosters flexibility in cost optimization, as it allows organizations to select cloud computing services and providers based on specific strengths and pricing models. 

Multicloud setups also promote redundancy and business continuity, as well as improved data access, low-latency deployment, and geographic reach to deliver superior customer value and innovation.

What are the main challenges in implementing a multicloud strategy?

Despite the benefits, multicloud isn’t without its challenges. While it’s easy to get caught up in the race to multicloud adoption, the truth is that not all organizations are at a level of cloud maturity and employee dexterity to successfully extract value from multicloud. 

Most organizations are still stuck in tactical mode and struggling to reach peak performance with their current cloud solutions. To compound the problem, only 9% of technologists report having extensive experience with more than one cloud provider.

Adding another cloud provider to the mix without the right talent, processes, and cloud infrastructure only makes the benefits of multicloud drift further and further away. Before organizations rush into multicloud to keep up with the competition, it’s critical they understand the key challenges of multicloud and invest in the infrastructure and employee upskilling to drive ROI.

Multiple cloud providers increase security complexity

Cloud security is a formidable challenge for even the most seasoned of technologists. Multicloud environments add a level of complexity that make them much more difficult to secure, especially in a market where both cloud and cybersecurity are among the top tech skills gaps. 

Each cloud provider approaches security differently in terms of security policies and shared responsibility models, and the onus falls on internal teams to identify and compensate for those differences.

If it’s not absolutely required by the business, it’s unnecessary to layer on additional levels of complexity. So the first step of addressing multicloud security is ensuring the organization actually needs a multicloud environment. If it doesn’t, get rid of it. 

The second step is prioritizing investment in security tools that monitor data visibility, access management, key management, and workload management across the multicloud environment.

And last, but certainly not least, is training employees to make sure they’re comfortable with the ins and outs of the selected cloud providers. With sharpened technical skill sets, employees will be more likely to spot security threats and remediate vulnerabilities before they become a problem.

Debunk common cloud data security myths.

The multicloud maze muddles cloud governance and cloud visibility

Governance is closely tied to security. As an increasing number of organizations adopt multiple cloud providers to power daily operations, managing these providers becomes more important than ever.

For example, many organizations find themselves in a multicloud environment not out of intention, but by accident. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) has made it incredibly easy for users to find and implement cloud tools without IT involvement. Some employees don’t fully grasp the policies for why and how to implement providers, and others solely focus on onboarding cloud resources that meet their own needs without considering larger organizational objectives. 

The result is a disjointed cloud environment with scattered access management and low visibility. When the integrity of a cloud environment is compromised, it puts additional strain on management overhead, cloud costs, and security risks.

Creating and enforcing strong cloud governance policies will bolster visibility and security within a multicloud approach. These policies will likely evolve alongside emerging cyber threats and technology advancements (like artificial intelligence) in the coming years, enabling cloud practitioners to bring multicloud management into a more comprehensive and centralized control panel.

As cloud environments become increasingly mature, it will be critical for employee skill sets to advance alongside them. Lack of education is a main contributor to the accidental multicloud environment and can contribute to disparate architectures. Investment in continuous employee education and cloud training is the only way to successfully implement effective cloud data governance policies.

Power to the people: Organizations need cloud upskilling strategies for success

People, process, and technology make up the “Holy Trinity” of a successful organizational framework—but it’s people that stand at the core. After all, people create processes, select technology, and allocate funding and resources to all three prongs of this framework. If organizations want to turn this triangle into a flywheel, it’s critical they invest in cloud training and their people, especially in the context of multicloud success.

Advice on multicloud adoption

The allure of multicloud remains undeniably strong for organizations, but it won’t be the right fit for everyone. My advice: Don’t blindly rush into multicloud adoption. The path to realizing its full potential is paved with careful considerations and strategic investments—specifically in cloud training and talent development. 

It’s crucial for companies to embark on this journey with a clear understanding of their own cloud maturity and a commitment to empowering their workforce. By cultivating a culture of continuous learning, bolstering security and governance, and aligning cloud strategies with business objectives, companies can confidently set the stage for success that transcends the complexities of multicloud. 

Kickstart your cloud journey with the Pluralsight cloud transformation strategy guide.