ITEXPO 2023 Panel Discusses Why Multi-Cloud Strategy is Beneficial

By Bill Yates, Communications Correspondent  |  March 03, 2023

If you only contract with just one cloud provider, you’re already behind the times. 

According to Gartner, by 2019 more than 80% of companies had adopted a multi-cloud strategy. Corporations want to avoid vendor lock-in, as well as “take advantage of best-of-breed solutions,” according to Gartner (News - Alert). 

Modern multi-cloud strategies offer opportunities to increase security by deploying easy-to-retrieve backups. Using more than one cloud provider offers increased flexibility and agility, Gartner said. 

Conference attendees at ITEXPO 2023 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, were treated to a discussion on the most effective ways to use the cloud. The panel discussion was titled “Driving Infrastructure Transformation: Multi-Perspectives on Multi-Cloud.” 

Joel Maloff, chief compliance officer at Phone (News - Alert).com, moderated the panel discussion, which gathered together professionals from some of the largest cloud networking-services providers to gauge their sentiment on the trend. 

Is a multi-cloud strategy right for your company?

“It depends on the application you want to develop and the workload you want to deploy,” said panelist Shawn Michels, vice president of product management for compute and apps at cloud-service provider Akamai (News - Alert). 

Customers struggle with the multi-cloud concept. I just went to the cloud? Why do I need another one?

“Everyone is trying to reduce their friction and manage their costs,” said Daniel Beveridge, director of co-innovation and IP development at cloud-computing company VMWare. 

Beveridge said the confusion comes largely from a complex regulatory environment that changes nearly every day. Emerging security standards are driving the trend.

“Not all multi-cloud offerings are the same,” Beveridge said. 

Hence, the need for more than one cloud provider. Panelist Fernando Cardoso, solution architects manager at enterprise-cloud security firm TrendMicro, says vendors are still educating owners and managers on the benefits of a multi-cloud strategy. 

“It’s not something that comes from the C-level,” Cardoso said. “I don’t see a lot of good strategies out there.” 

“Have a rational plan before you work with multiple clouds,” said Sai Subramanian, senior director of site reliability engineering at IT service-management firm Hitachi (News - Alert) Vantara, “an objective way to get where you want to go.” 

If you haven’t considered moving to a multi-cloud solution, you better get on it, Subramanian said. “It’s like the foundation of a building. Start thinking about it now.” 

Michels said companies need to grow into the need for a multi-cloud strategy.

“It’s not a shift, it’s a maturation,” Michels said. 

Clients want a seamless experience across multiple clouds, Cardoso said. To get that, you might have to investigate what smaller cloud providers offer.

“Multi-cloud is bigger than just the big three,” Cardoso said.

OK, so what about data privacy in the multi-cloud environment, moderator Maloff asked. And how about those data sovereignty regulations that governments are pushing? 

“It’s very complicated,” Beveridge said. “People often overestimate the security of the cloud. Hacks happen every day.” 

Issues include providing security for both data-at-rest and data-in-flight, as well as user identity and access control. State actors should have the ability to decrypt your data in about five years.

“Data privacy and security is a huge question. We could probably go on about it for hours,” Beveridge said. 

Cardoso said you have to protect yourself. If you think your cloud company has you covered completely, you better think again.

“Honestly, they don’t care,” Cardoso said. “It’s almost impossible for them to track it.” 

Subramanian agreed. Just like you should use a bolt-on product to protect your Windows environment, you should use a third party to help you secure your cloud communications.

“Security is not the responsibility of the cloud provider,” Subramanian said. 

Edited by Greg Tavarez
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