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Top 5 Cloud Challenges of 2020

Ever since the Cloud entered the scene, one of its biggest challenges has been its absolute reliance on the wide area network (WAN). No WAN connection means no Cloud solutions available to the end users. It’s a very simple relationship but there’s no way to avoid the fact that these two technologies are intrinsically tied together and always will be.

Over the years, IT departments are being forced to do more with less when it comes to budgets. It’s easy to get caught up in the “race to zero” and treat the WAN as a pure commodity. As carriers continue to drive their prices down by competing with one another and customers continue to demand cheaper solutions, often the reliability of the WAN is sacrificed in order to drive prices down.

What’s missed by many is the hard cost associated with WAN downtime due to lost productivity. While the exact cost of downtime is different for each company, there is some expense associated with allowing a site to go down. In many cases, that cost is much greater than the cost of building a highly-available and redundant WAN.

While there’s a “race to zero” going on within our industry, there is another race going on at the same time—the race to 100% uptime. It’s very important to know which starting line your company is at before you make a decision when it comes to WAN architecture and diversity.

1. WAN reliability

Ever since the Cloud entered the scene, one of its biggest challenges has been its absolute reliance on the wide area network (WAN). No WAN connection means no Cloud solutions available to the end users. It’s a very simple relationship but there’s no way to avoid the fact that these two technologies are intrinsically tied together and always will be.

Over the years, IT departments are being forced to do more with less when it comes to budgets. It’s easy to get caught up in the “race to zero” and treat the WAN as a pure commodity. As carriers continue to drive their prices down by competing with one another and customers continue to demand cheaper solutions, often the reliability of the WAN is sacrificed in order to drive prices down.

What’s missed by many is the hard cost associated with WAN downtime due to lost productivity. While the exact cost of downtime is different for each company, there is some expense associated with allowing a site to go down. In many cases, that cost is much greater than the cost of building a highly-available and redundant WAN.

While there’s a “race to zero” going on within our industry, there is another race going on at the same time—the race to 100% uptime. It’s very important to know which starting line your company is at before you make a decision when it comes to WAN architecture and diversity.

2. Cloud migration

As with any change, if you fail to plan then you are planning to fail. Anytime you take a premise-based solution and put it in the Cloud, it’s important to make sure that you have a detailed migration plan. You must also ensure the plan is extensively tested and the current solution isn’t decommissioned until the Cloud-based technology has been tested thoroughly.

By choosing vendors with experience and relevant case studies, businesses can make sure they are increasing their chances of a smooth migration and have an experienced vendor to lean on for the planning and migration stage.

Unless your team has extensive experience with migrations similar to the one you are planning, choose a vendor with references and case studies that are very similar and hold their feet to the fire when it comes to deploying a solution.

3. Managing multi-cloud environments

If managing a single Cloud has its challenges, managing multi-cloud environments is obviously going to be exponentially harder. Current estimates show that anywhere from 70-80% of businesses leveraging multi-cloud environments. As businesses continue to leverage a multitude of Cloud solutions from different providers, the necessity to be able to successfully and securely manage their multi-cloud environment will become even more integral to keeping their users productive and profitable.

By following best-practices such as extensive employee training, thoroughly vetting Cloud vendors and active management of all vendors, companies can put themselves in the best position possible to stay out of trouble. Multi-cloud environments present both an opportunity and a challenge to IT teams, but if managed correctly they can be an incredible asset.

4. Network security

We can’t say enough enough how important it is that security should be a top priority for all IT professionals. With a lack of security professionals available to the market and an increasing number of threats every day, it can seem a daunting idea to give your data over to a third-party and trust them to keep it secure. Nobody wants their company to be the next big headline when it comes to data breaches.

When it comes down to it, most Cloud providers have more security staff and more extensive security measures in place than most businesses can afford. While they are a bigger target because they house data from many companies, in general Cloud providers offer a very secure environment. When evaluating Cloud providers, make sure you are aware of the security protocols and reaction plans they have in place should a breach occur.

Another key component of security is making sure all company employees are trained in the avoidance of malware and other common attacks. Personnel are the easiest target for bad actors. Making sure your users are trained on email and password security is essential to your overall security plan—Cloud and otherwise.

5. Cloud management

The more Cloud solutions a company leverages, the more portals there are for the IT department to manage. While volume doesn’t always mean an increase in complexity (since many times Cloud solutions are easier managed than their predecessors), management of Cloud solutions will continue to be a challenge faced by IT professionals.

This is a challenge that can be somewhat mitigated during the solution vetting process by trying to find solutions that integrate whenever possible and minimizing the number of portals and management systems that your IT team is responsible for.

Another great way to not let Cloud management become a nightmare is to leverage managed Cloud solutions whenever possible. By turning your Cloud solution into a managed service, you can lean on solution providers to take care of management that would otherwise fall to your IT team.

This is another classic example of a challenge that can be mitigated with the right amount of planning and research.

Conclusion

The Cloud is going to continue to change not only the way we do business, but also the way in which we support our users. It enables IT teams to leverage managed service providers to increase the availability of support and improve the overall end-user experience.

Identification of common Cloud problems should not be seen as a reason to avoid going to the Cloud, but rather a roadmap for making sure you avoid as many hurdles as possible and keep your company and users productive and profitable.

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About EnableIP

EnableIP is a telecom solutions provider founded by Wired Networks’ founder Jeremy Kerth and head engineer Steve Roos after they realized there was a deep market need for helping mid-size businesses establish better uptime rates for their Wide Area Networks (WANs). Armed with the best-in-class carriers and partners, Jeremy and Steve set out with a bold plan: Guarantee better uptime rates than the industry standard of only 99.5%.

Their bold plan became a reality. EnableIP’s solutions guarantee clients 99.99% (even 99.999%) network uptime. But we don’t stop there. Many telecom providers promise high availability network solutions but fail to deliver because they’re in the business of providing services, not solutions.

That’s the EnableIP difference: We deliver highly available networks by providing a complete system (called “Cloud Assurance”) that ensures 99.99% or above uptime.

We deliver this bold promise by:

  • Owning the entire customer experience. From pricing, contracting, ordering and provisioning to installing, servicing and billing—we do it all! This means no stressful negotiations, confusing setups, or finger pointing if something goes wrong. We actually deliver on our promise.
  • We manage the entire system, and monitor and manage issues as they occur so you can focus on your business—not your network.
The EnableIP solution is like no other. Contact us to get started and experience the difference of a system that truly delivers on its 99.99% network uptime promise.