Why Multi-Cloud Resilience Is More Challenging Than It Seems
When the public cloud was first launched, it revolutionized the way businesses approached their data. But it would be years before hybrid- and multi-cloud strategies became popular. Until 2011, when hybrid clouds were first introduced, most companies relied on a single cloud provider for their data hosting needs.
Today, cloud adoption is increasingly multi-cloud adoption. As experts from KPMG US and TAG Cyber discussed in our recent video on trends in multi-cloud data security and resilience, 99% of companies moving to the cloud are doing so via a strategic multi-cloud architecture.
The benefits of this approach are numerous, but flexibility usually tops the list. With no vendor lock-in and a wide variety of scalable cloud services, a multi- or even hybrid-cloud architecture offers the availability to adapt to new challenges and opportunities with ease.
But what does the growth of multi-cloud mean for data resilience? What unexpected challenges do enterprises face in complex architectures, and what can they do to protect their business continuity?
Why multi-cloud isn’t an automatic win for resilience
It’s a common misconception that multi-cloud environments automatically enhance data resilience. As a cloud architect lead at CTS puts it, “The current zeitgeist of multi-cloud is primarily being driven by a desire to not go offline when your cloud provider does, and this is now on the radar of the highest echelons of organizations. Downtime is scary and bad for business, and the hyper-scalers aren’t infallible.”
A multi-cloud infrastructure may seem like a clear way to avoid a single point of failure — but it’s not quite that simple.
Choosing multi-cloud for resilience relies on the assumption that workloads are not only portable but also immediately portable among different clouds. If one cloud provider experiences an outage, a multi-cloud architecture will only prevent downtime if data and processes can immediately and seamlessly be shifted to another cloud.
In reality, most organizations are using different cloud platforms for different workloads. This allows them to leverage the lowest costs and most effective services for their unique business needs — but it also complicates resilience.
Below, we’ll dive deeper into the top challenges to multi-cloud data resilience.
One of the major challenges of a multi-cloud architecture is its increased complexity. As 451 Research notes in their report on multi-cloud resilience, this complexity can make it particularly difficult to understand the risks to applications and data. For example, having several different cloud environments brings several different sets of security settings into play and raises the likelihood of misconfigurations.
It’s also more difficult to identify multi-cloud vulnerabilities because of the variation in the shared responsibility model among cloud service providers. Each provider may have different expectations and divisions of responsibility between themselves and their customers, and understanding and effectively managing these shared responsibilities can be challenging.
Unfortunately, building a team with the expertise to oversee data resilience and security in multi-cloud environments can be difficult and expensive. Security and resilience solutions also need to be monitored regularly in each cloud, requiring skilled professionals and dedicated resources to ensure a consistent level of protection across the entire architecture.
Maintaining regulatory compliance
As enterprises adopt multi-cloud architectures across different regions and providers, it has become increasingly difficult to ensure compliance with regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). Many of these regulations include data residency requirements — requirements that can be difficult to meet when data is distributed across multiple regions and platforms.
Ensuring compliance in multi-cloud environments also involves more than just double-checking the jurisdictions that data is stored in. Compliance can depend not only on a cloud provider’s location but also on the specific services and configurations it’s providing to an organization. For example, a provider’s infrastructure services may be compliant with a regulation that its other services are not.
The rapidly changing state of the data privacy landscape further complicates compliance efforts. To meet evolving regulatory requirements, organizations must constantly assess their multi-cloud architectures and make updates where needed.
The high price of data redundancy
There are many different ways to configure a multi-cloud environment. However, the architectures that are often invoked in resilience conversations aren’t always as straightforward as they seem.
For example, one possible configuration is to store data in one cloud with a second redundant cloud on standby. If both clouds are used for hot storage, the total cost of ownership rises significantly. After all, the enterprise is duplicating its data on two separate clouds.
However, if one cloud is used as cold storage or standby until it’s needed, chances are that it won’t be able to stand up immediately. Indeed, without daily updates, this secondary cloud may not actually bring an organization back online before the first cloud provider does.
Solutions for multi-cloud resilience
To safeguard against outages, attacks, and downtime, organizations need robust solutions that provide reliable multi-cloud data resilience. Here are a few of the top features that the ideal resilience solution will have.
Comprehensive protection. Relying on a patchwork of different tools for different regions and workloads is unsustainable and difficult to manage. Instead, businesses should consider a comprehensive solution that can offer robust resilience across various cloud and on-prem environments, eliminating the need for juggling multiple tools and reducing operational overhead.
A single interface. The ideal solution will offer a centralized interface with clear visibility into data storage locations. This visibility into multiple clouds will enable enterprises to easily track and control their data assets.
Avoiding legacy approaches. Rather than legacy products that have been adapted to fit cloud environments, organizations should seek out data resilience solutions specifically designed for cloud environments. Cloud-native solutions will offer seamless integration with various cloud platforms, making implementation and management much easier in the multi-cloud.
Avoiding data redundancy. Achieving multi-cloud data resilience does not necessarily require full data redundancy, which can be costly. Instead, businesses should explore solutions that provide intelligent and efficient data resilience to minimize storage requirements while ensuring data integrity and availability.
Multi-cloud data resilience with ShardSecure
ShardSecure offers advanced data security and resilience for multi-cloud architectures. With high availability, self-healing data, and simple, agentless integration, our platform helps enterprises maintain the accuracy, privacy, and availability of their critical cloud data.
The ShardSecure platform provides an abstraction layer between applications and cloud storage locations. This approach separates data access from cloud administrators and other third parties, ensuring strong data privacy and confidentiality. It also offers support for compliance with cross-border data regulations, and it does not store or process customer data itself.
To learn more about ShardSecure’s technology, visit our resources page.