News in the Channel - issue #13



business has unique requirements and goals, leading them to seek out specific solutions that best align with their strategy. This has created a landscape where a one-size-fits- all solution is no longer viable. Instead, a bespoke combination of cloud services, ranging from Infrastructure-as-a-Service and Platforms-as-a-Service to Software-as-a- Service, is being increasingly favoured. This trend towards multi-cloud usage is not just about diversification for its own sake. It reflects a deeper understanding within the SME sector that different CSPs can offer varied advantages, whether in terms of cost efficiency, scalability, security or specialised services. As a result, SMEs are more empowered than ever to tailor their cloud infrastructure to their precise needs, driving efficiency and innovation. Challenges in integrating multiple CSPs As we venture deeper into the multi- cloud landscape, it’s crucial to address the challenges SMEs face when integrating various CSPs. One of the most significant issues arises when providers aren't open or don't utilise APIs that facilitate communication with other platforms. This can lead to an inability to exchange or extract data, crucial for generating comprehensive reports. SMEs often find themselves unexpectedly ensnared in financial commitments, whether through hidden costs to access certain platform features, or charges incurred when migrating away from a service. Another challenge is the proliferation of interfaces and platforms that staff must familiarise themselves with. This not only poses a steep learning curve but also increases the risk of inefficiencies and errors. Additionally, ensuring compliance becomes more complex with each new platform, demanding rigorous oversight and integration into the broader security framework. Solutions to these challenges q  Vet for openness and interoperability – Prioritise CSPs that demonstrate a commitment to openness and have a track record of interoperability with other services. This can be ascertained through detailed discussions with potential providers and by seeking references from other clients. w  Cost transparency – Engage in transparent conversations with CSPs about all potential costs, including those associated with

migration and access to essential features. This ensures that financial commitments are clear from the outset. e  Unified management tools – Utilise cloud management tools that can consolidate control over multiple platforms into a single interface. This can significantly reduce the learning curve and improve efficiency. r  Compliance as a priority – Work closely with CSPs to understand how their platforms can be integrated into your existing compliance framework. This might involve seeking providers that offer customisable security features that align with ISO 27001 standards, for example. Key considerations for choosing CSPs When selecting CSPs, there are several factors that SMEs must consider to ensure they align with their specific needs and objectives, including: q Data access and ownership – Understanding the nuances of data access and ownership is paramount. It’s essential to confirm whether your data is indeed yours, or if it becomes the property of the CSP. This affects not only how the data is used but also the ability to move or manipulate it in the future. w Quality of support – The standard of support offered by a CSP is a critical determinant. This encompasses not only the responsiveness and availability of support services but also their ability to understand and align with the business’ objectives. e Innovation and roadmap – Assessing a CSP’s commitment to innovation is key. Considerations should include their plans for implementing emerging technologies such as AI and automation, as well as the flexibility they offer in terms of customisation. This will ensure that the CSP can grow and adapt alongside your business. Strategies for overcoming technical hurdles Addressing the technical challenges of a multi-cloud strategy begins with a comprehensive procurement process. This step is crucial, as it enables SMEs to fully understand the technicalities and potential challenges of different platforms. The right procurement approach involves evaluating each potential service in terms of its open architecture, support capabilities, cybersecurity measures and compliance readiness. By doing so, SMEs can identify the

Another challenge is the proliferation of interfaces and platforms that staff must familiarise themselves with. This not only poses a steep learning curve but also increases the risk of inefficiencies and errors.


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