The benefits of multi-cloud computing

The model of using multiple cloud services to house your business’s functions and features has an impressive list of advantages.

business cloud services flowchart
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Its application might be a tough concept to grasp, but the idea of multi-cloud computing is a simple one. It’s the choice of a business to distribute its assets, redundancies, software, applications and anything it deems worthy not on one cloud-hosting environment, but rather across several. 

At its surface, this concept might seem to be rubbing against the grain a bit. For security purposes alone, having all your company’s proverbial eggs in one basket appears the best way to keep your information from suffering leakage. Plus, many cloud-hosting companies will offer perks and discounts when your company use their services in totality.   

However, the model of using multiple cloud services to house your business’s functions and features has an impressive list of advantages that can provide security, flexibility, cost-effectiveness and more to increase your business’s efficiency and ensure it stays up and running 24 hours a day. 

Lower risk of DDoS attacks

For the unaware, a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack is the result of several computer systems attacking a server, a website, a network resource, or a cloud hosting unit that is successful when it causes a denial of service response to users. These attacks can be executed by anyone from an individual hacker to a federal government. If all your resources powering your website are on one cloud, a DDoS attack can not only take your website down, but also keep it down. According to a study by the Rand Group, 98% of businesses say that an hour of downtime costs their company more than $100,000. 

When you use multi-cloud architecture to power your website, it makes your company’s services resilient against these types attack because even if one cloud goes down, others remain available to take the load until your service recovers. 

Power of choice

Cloud-hosting providers come in all different and shapes and sizes, but rare is the provider that can fit all your requirements to a tee. Characteristics like upload speed, size requirements and more influence what makes the most sense for each of your business units can vary. Rather than bend your business processes to fit a specific provider’s setup and execution, play the field and explore different providers to find the best match for each part of your business to line up its functionality for a perfect fit. 

Reliability

One of the worst terms to hear when you’re a web architect is a single point of failure (SPOF). The best visual example of an SPOF came on the big screen in the 1970s. When the Rebel Alliance figured out that the Empire’s Death Star had a weakness in that small thermal exhaust port, it was only a matter of time before the whole battles station went up in smoke. Some SPOF events occur through machine errors, others come by hacker attacks. Web architects use redundancy to avoid SPOF incidents but what happens when the system host goes down? Using multiple clouds to host your various components is the ultimate form of redundancy, making for fewer SPOFs. 

Flexibility

No business looks the same today as it did a year ago. That includes your cloud solution needs. When your business gets bigger, you need the cloud to do the same for you. When you no longer need certain elements to be in the cloud, you can scale them down to a local server. Giant cloud-hosting environments usually don’t make a point of catering to your individual business unit needs. By employing more than one cloud-hosting company, particularly a mix of private and public ones, you can match your needs to the solutions that fit the best, and alter them as the need fits. 

Avoiding vendor lock-in

Let’s say you’ve got a booming start-up that is getting too big for your local servers to keep up and running at the speed your customers have come to expect. You find a cloud provider and go all in, building your new system to be completely compatible with that cloud service. But what happens when you outgrow that cloud or find a better deal for part of your business elsewhere? When you box yourself into compatibility with only one cloud vendor, you make it both time-consuming and expensive to move your systems anywhere else. You put yourself in the position of having to accept any sort of restructuring of agreements or price schedules from that company because you’re locked into doing business with them. 

Cost-performance optimization

Every company has a bottom line, and with the rate that technology is growing these days, it can be a battle to weigh need versus price. Clearly moving your systems to the cloud can allow you to reduce capital expense costs on your own hardware, servers, etc. However, cloud downtime or inefficiency can cost your company money, time and reputation, any of which can cause major damage to how you do business. Just like any other service your business uses, different cloud providers are good at different things. Finding the right combination of cloud providers to match your business needs and your checkbook can give your company an extra boost of efficiency while dropping your costs accordingly. 

Data management

Not all data is created equally. Some parcels will sit in a database for the extent of their life in your system, others will be part of computations 10 times a day for the next nine months. Rather than lump all your data into one cloud, you can diversify to take advantage of the right service for the right function. Some of your data might be an enormous volume of customer data that doesn’t go through processing, but is vital to your sales funnel. For that data, you’ll want security to be at a maximum. But when you need your data uploaded, analyzed, and downloaded back to your local intranet, speed and processing power take over leading the pack. In this instance, you’re seeking a cloud provider built more for speed and power than your IT’s security system. 

Power of managed clouds

We’ve reached the age where you don’t have to have mastery of a service to offer it to your customers. When you bring in a managed cloud service, you can deliver additional functionality to your customers without having to hire the manpower or spend your own time managing it. While the managed clouds take care of specific units, others can serve you best for security or processing purposes. 

According to a report by Business Cloud News in 2016, 57% of all organizations do not have a multi-cloud computing strategy whatsoever. That’s a big number. Considering how many markets see the leader ahead of the competition by the slimmest of margins, consider the employment of multi-cloud computing to not just being about getting a leg up, but rather about racing ahead of the competition.

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