For any organisation, reducing costs while increasing productivity and performance is an ongoing challenge. Successfully identifying how processes can be trimmed, adapted or cut can have a huge impact on the bottom line and businesses are turning to technology – and the cloud in particular – as a result.
This trend has led many companies to adopt a cloud-first strategy. Motivated by the idea of migrating apps to public cloud providers like AWS and Azure and benefiting from increased accessibility and
The five common pitfalls of a cloud-first strategy
1. Relying on regional gateways
Instead of deploying security at every branch, many organisations backhaul traffic to regional hubs or a few data centre gateways using Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS). The lower upfront costs may make it seem less expensive than outfitting each branch with a security gateway, but it can end up costing far more in practice.
Backhauling traffic introduces a hairpin effect forcing the business to pay twice for
2. Believing that virtual appliances are ready for the cloud
A virtual appliance is a pre-configured system or solution that has been developed for a specific need. Many firms still have a wide variety of virtual systems deployed across networks which are tasked with completing vital functions using sensitive data. Often a left over from legacy setups, businesses that use them to support cloud use are likely to soon experience performance issues.
Being pre-configured for a particular job means that virtual appliances have pre-configured limits. They can cope when data flow is relatively consistent and predictable – as it would have been during the more traditional years of strict network enterprise computing where all work was conducted from within an office’s four walls – but cloud use adds traffic volatility they just were not designed for. Sudden spikes in traffic require seamless scalability but upper boundaries cannot be shifted. Unexpected data deluges could even take systems offline, much in the same way as a denial-of-service attack could.
3. Putting up with security gaps
Continued reliance on legacy solutions will see businesses falling short in the protection provided to their corporate data in a
In another attempt to keep costs low, some deploy smaller equivalents of their HQ’s cybersecurity stack at each branch. Replicating stacks exactly would cost a considerable amount, with purchasing, configuring, managing and maintaining such a complex ecosystem across numerous sites a resource-intensive undertaking. As such, enterprises deploy and rely solely on smaller firewalls and unified threat management (UTM) tools which typically have less
4. Bolting on a proxy
The use of Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encrypted traffic is increasing and so are the number of threats hiding within it. According to Google, more than 90
While seemingly the low-cost option, bolt-on proxies can have multiple drawbacks for branches. They require significant bandwidth, restricting the amount available for other functions and impacting performance. They are often also tied to vendor development cycles and the enterprise’s own appliance lifecycle, which could see tools refreshed every 3-5 years. This requires branches to accurately predict what their future SSL performance requirements will be, or be stuck with tools that cannot support performance.
These challenges may result in branches feeling that proxies are more hassle than they’re worth and completely switching them off. Yet, with 41
5. Leaving bandwidth to chance
Ensuring consistent performance for users is dependent on them having seamless access to
The steadily increasing use of applications and the bandwidth needed to run ever-more advanced functions, traffic growth, and user base can crush performance and drive up costs. Moreover, the desire to watch global sporting events such as the World Cup and Tour de France while at work can see already limited bandwidth being used for streaming. As such, companies must have the ability to manage traffic, which includes allocating bandwidth for business-critical applications and limiting how much any app can use.
Using cloud to enhance the cloud
Businesses must move away from legacy architecture and security solutions. Tools that are developed to enable cloud
This could mean adopting software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) to create local internet breakouts that provide branches with direct-to-internet access and removes the need to backhaul traffic to the centralised hubs. When then deployed alongside a global cloud security solution – which can be deployed across all offices to standardise capabilities, has elastic scalability, are advanced enough to spot more sophisticated
Ultimately, a cloud-first strategy will enhance user experience and a business’ productivity and flexibility, but a successful campaign is dependent on adopting the tools that make a company cloud-ready. Those that continue to rely on legacy tools and setups are simply negating the very