Today’s business runs on hybrid and multi-cloud, so much so, the cloud market is expected to reach $917 billion by 2025.1 And, a recent Global Hybrid Cloud Trends Report confirmed that hybrid cloud, and increasingly, multi-cloud are the new norm, with 82% surveyed embracing hybrid cloud adoption.2 Cloud gives people a way to connect from anywhere in the world. It helps companies develop and launch applications and then ensures they run smoothly. It drives operational efficiencies and delivers services and solutions in ways that transform customer experience. However, it doesn’t operate alone. Just as life partners refer to their significant others as their, “better half,” the cloud is nothing without its reliable partner, the network.
So how can you ensure your hybrid multi-cloud has the kind of network partner that will make it shine? By positioning your network so it enables agility, scalability and innovation. Here are four key recommendations to help you achieve that.
4 Principles for Building Your Dream Network-Cloud Partnership
1. Be proactive
In any good relationship, partners are able to anticipate each other’s needs. As an IT leader preparing your network for the hybrid, multi-cloud, the more you can plan for the future and be proactive, the better. However, 61% of CIOs and IT decision makers agree that they are unsure what the future of work will look like for their business in 2021.3 So how do you plan for a future that seems murky, at best? Start by looking at the individual needs of your business. Each industry, region, and end user (internal employees and stakeholders, as well as external customers, vendors, partners, etc.) has different requirements, so it is important to evaluate the specifics. There’s no such thing as a “one size fits all” solution.
Next, you will want to have a solid understanding of your company’s vision, competitive positioning, strategies, challenges and initiatives. Evaluate where you are right now and where you need to go to achieve, and maintain, a competitive advantage.
Consider working with an experienced consultative partner who brings real-world industry expertise and understands your goals. You will want to look for advisors with vast experience in both network and cloud. That way, you will learn how you can hone your network strategy to ensure you realize all the benefits of the hybrid cloud. Bringing in a reliable partner early enough to help you troubleshoot and strategize is key. By leveraging their knowledge and long-standing relationships with multiple providers, such as Cisco, for cloud and network management solutions, you should be able to short-cut your process and deliver business benefits sooner.
Remember, it helps to have a phased approach. You will want to magnify what you have today, within your traditional, non-intelligent network. And then look at next generation software you can layer on top of the hardware for greater performance, efficiency, security, etc. Which brings us to …
2. Realize it takes two to tango
Every great network and multi-cloud relationship is made up of two tiers—hardware and software. Hardware provides the reliability your business depends on. It is considered the underlay, and is absolutely necessary to implement before you can move to hybrid or multi-cloud. Whereas, software is the overlay. It brings intelligence, and is the yin to hardware’s yang. If your organization is stuck with just the underlay, it can feel restrictive. In order to boost performance, you will need to bring on your overlays. The good news is, you only need to create your underlay one time. You can literally, “set it and forget it.” Once the underlay is established, it is time to bring in the brains of the operation—the software overlays. Since they’re software-based, changing the configurations is relatively easy. This way, you can boost your performance and security, as well as expand the services you deliver—with maximum efficiency.
3. Make all the right moves
It’s important to know when it’s right to make your best moves, especially when it comes to your inter-cloud migration strategy. When formulating your strategy, ask yourself, which cloud platforms will work best for your needs. Evaluate the pros and cons of AWS, Google, Azure, etc. To do so, consider these important questions:
- What should we move first, and where?
- What are our bandwidth needs?
- What application will be deployed inside each cloud?
- What are the company’s inter-cloud communication needs?
Here too, it can be helpful to work with an experienced third-party consultant. With their ample knowledge and proven methodologies, they will help you ask the right questions—and answer them—so you can arrive at the exact right approach for your business in the quickest time.
Next, lay out your inter-cloud connectivity plans, per carrier, while also considering both your hardware underlay and your software-defined overlay.
You will also want to think about how to make your user interface the best it can be while also looking for ways to automate. Automation will make your day-to-day operations easier than using an old fashioned network. Regardless of maturity, automating can lead to significant business benefits, such as better customer experiences, improved employee productivity, decreased costs, and increased revenue.4
For instance, tools such as the soon-to-be-released Cisco Nexus Cloud, will give you an easier way to deploy, manage and operate your cloud network, with the visibility you need to make true hybrid cloud automation possible.
Before you implement any plan, it’s smart to put it to the test. A Proof of Concept (POC) is often the best way to compare vendors and determine if any additional hardware or software combinations are needed. You’ll also be able to gather the proof you need to see that your network security, application and budgetary needs are met.
4. Protect what’s precious
In any relationship, it’s important to protect a good thing when you’ve got it. Your data and your brand reputation are invaluable, so you will want to make sure your network and multicloud ecosystem have the strongest possible defenses.
Security is cited as a major challenge by 66% of those in DevOps and CloudOps roles at organizations that use cloud-native technologies.1
Each native cloud service provider has its own native security and routing solution, but you will still need to share the responsibility of your company’s cybersecurity by supplementing advanced security functionality that may be missing from the cloud platform you are using.
Integrating a unified solution may make your life easier. It helps improve your security posture with high-performance encryption and multicloud native threat detection and remediation. It also secures connectivity into and within the cloud, which is critical in all industries, but especially in highly-regulated sectors, such as financial and healthcare. If you do this now, you will be well ahead of the game, because all government agencies are required to adopt zero trust architecture (ZTA) by 2024.5
Zero trust is a collection of concepts designed to restrict resource access to only the people who need them. It is useful for managing today’s common security challenges, such as:
- Distributed endpoints and users
- Cloud computing and new service layers
- Remote access and monitoring
- Visibility and accountability
Like anything else in IT, the right zero trust policy for your organization will depend on how well your strategy aligns with your business needs.
Specifically, Presidio works with you to arrive at the exact right strategy to meet your organization’s needs. We will help you identify your ideal end-state, and show you how to reach your goals—security and otherwise—as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. Our recommendations include solutions such as Cisco Zero Trust, which offers a comprehensive solution to secure all access across your applications and environment, from any user, device and location. This complete zero trust security model allows you to mitigate, detect and respond to risks wherever they are.
In fact, Cisco provides an entire line of defense against threats through Cisco Secure. These resilience-building tools are designed to help you safeguard the most vital aspects of your business.
The network’s role in infrastructure modernization and hybrid and multi-cloud is more critical than ever. Your company’s network helps deliver innovation, security, performance and simplicity—as well as all things cloud. You could say they are—network and cloud—stuck with each other in a symbiotic relationship for a long, long time.
- Intricately: State of the 2022 Cloud Hosting Market
- Cisco 2022 Global Hybrid Trends Report: Hybrid Cloud is the de facto operating model for IT organizations. Learn from your peers.
- Cisco Blogs: Innovation: “Making infrastructure ready for the future of work,” 2021.
- Forrester Consulting Thought Leadership Paper: Cisco: “Automation + Operational Maturity = Major Business Benefits,”
- A-line Blog: “Cybersecurity is a Shared Responsibility—Three tips to strengthen your defenses.”