Businesses grapple with security and operational complexity in hybrid cloud environments

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Hybrid cloud and multi-cloud have become the norm as enterprises seek to improve business agility and scalability, but adoption is not without challenges.

A new study from Cisco and 451 Research sought to assess how enterprises are doing with their cloud environments and examine the benefits and challenges of using cloud-based services. 451 Research surveyed 2,500 cloud, DevOps, and networking professionals for the Cisco-sponsored survey.

“While the hybrid cloud offers a range of opportunities and benefits for organizations, many are acutely aware of the challenges of operating in these environments,” said the 2022 Global Hybrid Cloud Trends Reportwritten by 451 Research analysts Nicole Henderson and Eric Hanselman.

“Cloud-native architectures and emerging technologies compete for staff attention and budgets, while security and networking challenges remain at the forefront. Adding new elements to an existing infrastructure raises the level of operational complexity, and organizations are grappling with ways to tame this problem.”

The top issue with hybrid and multi-cloud operations, according to survey respondents, is security, followed by operational complexity and cost containment, said Dhritiman “DD” Dasgupta, vice president of managing products for the Cisco Cloud and Compute team, which blogged about the study’s findings.

There are several reasons why respondents ranked security as the top challenge. “First, securing access to and within public cloud environments is a relatively new discipline for IT organizations, which have spent decades securing applications, data, and users using perimeter-based ‘firewall’ approaches,” Dasgupta said.

“Second, security risks increase as applications and data move from one environment to another. In fact, 58% of respondents said they move workloads and data between on-premises and public cloud environments every week. »

Security issues are likely exacerbated by a lack of skills and budget in many organizations, which can lead to a strategy that fails to protect data and workloads in cloud-native environments where development takes place faster and where automation is used more.

In addition to influencing an organization’s security strategy, the use of cloud-native application architectures also affects networking strategy, according to research.

In terms of operational complexity, hybrid cloud forces IT organizations to manage disparate public cloud and on-premises domains, including compute, network, and storage infrastructure.

“Independently, each public cloud and on-premises resource has its own visibility, monitoring, and governance tools,” Dasgupta said. “Additionally, while traditional IT teams are typically centralized, each line of business may have its own application development, cloud operations, and DevOps teams, making it difficult for these teams to collaborate.

“In response, 55% of our respondents say they have created a cross-functional team with technical and sales representation. Additionally, 50% have centralized their CloudOps and NetOps functions for operational efficiency and to achieve business goals such as obtaining price concessions from public cloud providers. »

The study also showed that cost management is not the primary motivation for enterprises to adopt multiple clouds. Instead, respondents in DevOps and CloudOps roles say the top reasons for using cloud-native technologies are to improve workload performance, security, and mobility.

Other key findings from the study include that 82% of respondents have adopted hybrid cloud, while 53% are moving workloads between onsite and offsite environments weekly.

Organizations that use more than three cloud providers use alternative cloud providers outside of AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud, which may include pure public cloud providers or cloud services offered as part of a broader portfolio such as telecommunications operators.

Meanwhile, businesses with more than 5,000 employees are slightly more likely (8% of respondents) than small businesses (5%) to use more than 10 public cloud providers, as larger organizations have more requirements business that can drive usage across platforms and outside the view of IT.

When it comes to SaaS, organizations are spanning even more vendors, with 23% of respondents using 20-100 different SaaS vendors for their business, in categories like email, collaboration, and video calling , customer relationship management and human capital. management.

Additionally, respondents agree that greater collaboration between networking and cloud operations teams has many benefits, with better cloud security (45%) at the top of the list for respondents, followed by higher overall operational efficiency (41%) and better cloud application performance (39%).

Additionally, 57% of people in networking roles strongly agree that it is important for their DevOps team to be involved in the development of their organization’s network strategy.

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Sharon D. Cole