By Justin Day, CEO of Cloud Gateway

While the advent of the cloud has most definitely dawned, there’s still some way to go for widespread adoption of cloud technology into enterprise.

Often Boards and C-Suite executives know that using a cloud platform can bring major benefits to their company; from efficiency and flexibility to cost reductions and scalability. 

With vendors clambering to sell the ‘best’ cloud package, and buzzwords such as multicloud, SASE (secure access service edge) and hybrid cloud flying about, it can be tricky for companies to understand the correct solution for their business.

Here we’ll explore how businesses can navigate the world of cloud in order to understand what they need from a cloud platform to benefit from the technology. 

The definition challenge 

Since the cloud broke onto the technology scene, there has been a significant expansion in the number of platforms, business models and key terms within the space.

Cloud technology has made some serious strides in its development and will continue to do so as it becomes further ingrained with business needs and progress. 

One of the main issues emerging from the increase in cloud technology offshoots, however, is the confusion around the definitions of these new models, primarily multicloud and hybrid cloud which are often used interchangeably.

Multicloud by definition actually means the use of multiple ‘as-a-Service’ types to aid your business such as IaaS, PaaS and SaaS. However, it has quickly become more recognised as using ‘multiple’ of the major public cloud service providers such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, Oracle Cloud and more.

Hybrid cloud is about using different types of cloud platforms to get a blend such as public cloud, private cloud and even virtualised on-premise. 

Choosing the right answer 

With so much confusion and mis-use of the terms, it’s no surprise that businesses may feel unsure as to which cloud ecosystem to opt for.

Traditionally, businesses who were early adopters of the cloud often chose to utilise a single public cloud system such as Azure or AWS. As a result, companies were forced to adapt their business models to ensure that the applications, data and assets they were placing on the cloud fitted the specifications of that one vendor. Being trapped with one provider has now made it more difficult for those companies to remove their apps and systems from that cloud platform to a more suitable location. 

As a general understanding of cloud technology grows, Boards and C-Suite executives are keen to capitalise on the benefits that the technology can bring in the hopes that it will help their business remain competitive and up to market standard. This pressure can often lead businesses into rushing into their cloud transformation and opting for a cloud solution that promises the whole shiny benefits package.

While the package may work for some apps and assets in the business, some areas would be compromised so that they can fit in the chosen platforms. 

It must be stressed that businesses need to give themselves enough time to properly evaluate their business and understand which apps can stay onsite, which need elasticity, and which can straddle the cloud and the company’s on-premise servers.

Instead of just choosing the solution and hoping it meets the company’s requirements, the business needs to understand its requirements first in order to define the solution. There are also other considerations on areas such as cost or skillset – it’s difficult to keep having people skilled in all of the different options or it becomes unviable. 

Experiencing the cloud benefits 

While companies should consider their requirements on their own merits, often the most fitting solution is usually a hybrid cloud or multicloud ecosystem.

Both work well for a company’s wide range of applications and workloads and will allow them to deploy those in the most suitable locations, instead of constricting them into an inappropriate location from lack of options.

A multicloud approach provides companies with peace of mind by minimising reliance on any one cloud provider, increasing flexibility and scalability. The hybrid option also lends itself to the transition state many organisations will be in as they migrate to the cloud; you can’t turn everything off on Friday and be in cloud on Monday so naturally, you’ll be in a hybrid state. 

Ultimately cloud technology can bring huge benefits to companies, cutting costs, improving efficiency and application performance and increasing flexibility and innovation.

However, in order to truly experience these benefits, companies must make sure they are using the right toolbox for the job and that comes with understanding what jobs you need to complete and the right tools to get those jobs done.

Hybrid cloud and multicloud strategies are often the best solutions for companies making the leap to cloud, allowing companies to make the most of their investment and helping to transform their business.