At first, the question stumped me. After all, public cloud computing is a well-established model at this point, and virtually every organization is taking advantage of cloud software, infrastructure or platforms on some level. Even organizations that are keeping a sizable chunk of their resources in-house typically have a reason to do so — whether that has to do with cost, security or the need to run legacy applications on certain infrastructure. (It’s not as though these IT administrators simply haven’t considered the cloud.)
But after I thought for a moment, I realized public cloud offerings change so quickly that many organizations really are missing out on a number of opportunities to leverage the cloud to improve operations. By considering the following cloud engagements, many companies will be able to improve their IT environments, enhance security and leverage the cloud more effectively.
Multicloud Environments: Key to Balancing Negotiation Power
Until recently, organizations have often gone all in with one of the large public cloud vendors and have simply stayed there. More and more, however, IT managers are realizing they can achieve cost or performance improvements by tying resources from multiple vendors together in a multicloud environment. One company CDW works with had all of its resources with a single cloud provider and was spending $20 million a year on its cloud environment. When the company went to renegotiate its contract, the vendor (knowing its client lacked the flexibility to quickly pivot to another provider) essentially said, “You’re going to pay what we tell you to pay.” If for no other reason than to be in a stronger negotiating position, companies should consider multicloud opportunities.
Single-Tenant Environments: Now Available from Public Cloud Providers
Although security and compliance are no longer the definitive cloud roadblocks they were once considered to be, some organizations lack the option to place certain data in multitenant public cloud environments. Often, this ends the conversation around the cloud, and companies simply choose to keep those workloads in-house. However, public cloud providers are now offering dedicated single-tenant environments, allowing organizations to utilize infrastructure as though they own it — but still pay for the resources in a consumption-based model. With the accelerating pace of change in the compute and application landscapes, it often makes better sense for organizations to go this route rather than purchase on-premises infrastructure to house sensitive data or workloads.
Next-Generation Firewalls: Delivering Cloud Security “As a Service”
Historically, security solutions such as firewalls have been implemented within an organization, standing as a safeguard between internet traffic and enterprise data and systems. However, vendors such as Fortinet have begun offering their next-generation firewall solutions via an “as a service” model. In this setup, the NGFW service is delivered directly from an organization’s internet service provider — essentially providing security at the edge, rather than at the core of the network. This allows organizations to connect remote and branch sites directly to the internet (rather than routing traffic through a central data center), which can result in improved availability and cost savings. Additionally, delivering NGFW capabilities via the cloud relieves companies from the burden of constantly patching and updating their firewalls.
Bringing It All Together with Help from a Trusted Cloud Partner
Cloud offerings are constantly evolving, and it can be difficult for internal IT administrators to stay abreast of changes and independently evaluate which tools will bring value to their businesses. By working with a trusted third-party partner such as CDW, organizations can lean on experts who do this work every day and intimately understand the risks and rewards of various solutions.
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