• August 22, 2019
  • Catagory Managed Cloud Services

Ready to mix and match with multi-cloud?

By : Justin Folkerts

Hybrid cloud environments are constantly evolving and today one cloud is no longer enough—diverse workloads mean you must be ready to embrace a multi-cloud model.

Whether it’s one, two or more of the public cloud such as Microsoft, Amazon, Oracle or Google, or turning to a managed IT services provider to help you leverage economies of scale, it’s likely you’re already facing the realities of multi-cloud, including the benefits and the challenges.

What is multi-cloud?

A hybrid cloud brings together an on-premise data center (a private cloud built on cloud technologies) with a public cloud, while multi-cloud brings together multiple cloud services from different providers, both public and private. In the same way organizations might have chosen a best-of-breed approach to their on-premise applications deployment, the multi-cloud paradigm allows for the selection of the best cloud provider for a given workload.

The multi-cloud model is driven in part by open source and the desire for organizations to leverage cloud technologies to best serve customers, suppliers, partners and even employees. Further accelerating the momentum of the multi-cloud is the ability to run services from providers such as Microsoft and Amazon Web Services (AWS) in a private data center thanks to Azure Stack and AWS Outposts. Add the ability to run VMware on AWS, and organizations can mix and match cloud services as much as they want to meet the specific requirements of any given workload.

The right cloud for the right workload

Like the best-of-breed approach to on-premise software applications, multi-cloud offers many benefits, including the ability to pick the right tool for the right job on a case by case basis, rather than just one provider that may excel on one capability while lacking robustness in others.

Similarly, it allows you to avoid being locked into a single cloud provider and take advantage of innovation from a variety of vendors, while also enjoying the flexibility and scalability you need as your business grows and your needs evolve. A multi-cloud strategy also gives you some measure of control, including cost governance, as public cloud strategy can sometimes cost more than a private cloud approach, depending on the workload.

More clouds, more challenges

Running a multi-cloud environment is not without its challenges, however. Not all clouds are equal and not all providers do things the same way. AWS and Microsoft Azure might offer the same service, but have different processes, so what the customer is responsible for on their side may differ depending on the provider.

Using a mix of cloud providers can add even more complexity to compliance and security too. Not only do you have to worry about your own data center being compliant with industry standards and regulatory frameworks such as privacy legislation, but you need to be certain your providers are up to snuff too by understanding all compliance requirements and creating the necessary policies.

While cloud providers may tout their security features, you still need to have the right in-house resources to manage application and workload security in a multi-cloud environment, which makes identifying and containing security threats even more complex. This includes securing connectivity across the multi-cloud environment—after all, data is the lifeblood of your business, and a multi-cloud environment means mean you need to securely and cost-effectively move data between one cloud provider and another, as well as to and from your own data center.

Get help with multi-cloud management

If you’ve already embraced the hybrid cloud, you’re in a good position to take advantage of multi-cloud. But as with all IT infrastructure demands, there’s a lot to be said for tapping the expertise of an experienced managed service provider to help you with some of the heaving lifting. They already have solid track record of managing, securing and optimizing multi-cloud environments, which enables you to focus on strategic initiatives without add more to your plate.

  • January 25, 2018
  • Catagory Hybrid Cloud

Ready to take the fast lane to the public cloud?

Risk, security and speed are the three elements we find small- and mid-sized enterprises are most concerned about as they ponder moving data or applications to the public cloud.

That’s why Supra ITS recently made the investment to let customers connect directly to Amazon Web Services (AWS) using AWS Direct Connect and to Microsoft Azure using ExpressRoute. These “fast lanes” to two major public cloud platforms are being offered at no extra cost for our customers as part of their managed hybrid cloud that’s already managed by us.

Selection and Security

As major cloud vendors such as Amazon, Microsoft, Oracle and Google expand their footprint on Canadian soil, we’re seeing that interested customers want flexibility – they’re not picking only one vendor. Rather, they’re using multiple cloud platforms depending on the data or the workload. For example, AWS is popular for elastic storage, while Microsoft Azure’s appeal is the ability to run AWS workloads. At the same time, customers are continuing to maintain their own private clouds, either on-premise or managed by someone else. Most likely, they are combining all three in a hybrid model.

The fact that the major public cloud players are opening Canadian facilities means they’re addressing the data sovereignty issue that keeps many organizations from embracing public cloud. Now they can be assured their data stays in Canada, whether it’s on the move or being stored. Our part of the equation is that we have Tier 3 data centres in Canada that connect to these cloud platforms. We’ll soon make available similar direct connections to Oracle and Google public cloud infrastructure.

The Last Piece of the Public Cloud Puzzle

Offering direct connections to Amazon using AWS Direct Connect and to Microsoft Azure using ExpressRoute is the last piece of the puzzle that address the risk, security and speed. These direct, secure connections to major public cloud platforms are part of Supra ITS’ overall commitment to helping customers be “public cloud neutral.” It enables our customers to embrace a true hybrid cloud model that is fast and secure because data is not being transferred over the public internet.

Reduced latency and improved performance, of course, are the obvious benefits of a direct connection to the public cloud. But in this era of frequent data breaches and increased privacy regulation, security can be a deal breaker when companies consider moving to AWS or Azure. By putting in place these fast lanes to the public cloud, combined with our existing end-to-end security that spans our customers’ on-premise IT infrastructure, the public cloud services and our own data centres, we’re able to mitigate the risk of public cloud adoption.

Set-up costs for the connections are normally included as part of transition services for Supra ITS’ managed IT customers, and the ongoing costs are included for those customers where we manage their private and public cloud. Other AWS and Azure costs are extra and depend upon the usage.

A Partner for Public Cloud Success

Cloud computing is no longer the future, it’s reality. As noted by research firm InfoTech, there’s been lots of hype about cloud, but the adoption trends are real, and Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure are leading the charge. At the same time, private clouds – both — on-premises and in hosted services – continue to grow. This presents an opportunity to transform IT to be an effective broker of services from the hybrid cloud.

At Supra ITS, we see our role as being a guide and resource for small- and mid-sized enterprises that are looking at how best to incorporate public cloud into their overall cloud strategy, whether it’s Amazon, Microsoft, Google or Oracle. Our neutrality enables customers to combine their on-premise, private cloud and public cloud deployments to fully take advantage of the full benefits of a managed hybrid cloud model.

Data Security

Different Level of Securities in the Cloud

If you are a SMB, you are probably doing hoping that cloud will keep your data safe and secure. However, there are also many business owners who are often skeptical about whether they can trust cloud or not.

Of course they can. Yes, there have been cases of data leaks with cloud as well but then there is no medium which is 100 percent secure, right? The key is to be safe, sound, and alert.  And in cloud computing, you are responsible for protection of your own data.

There are different types of security in Cloud and the level of security you need depends on what you are using cloud for:

Basic Protection – If you just want to store files on websites such as Dropbox or Google Docs, you need the basic level of security. You want minimal security for your data so that it is not widely available. Good news is now these websites are secured and contain the minimum necessary encryption to keep hackers at bay and your data secure.

Serious Protection – If you are using cloud for more than data storage, you need a more serious level of protection. For example, if you are using cloud for powering applications or database that means there are more entry points for hackers and hence need of more protection.  In order to secure such data in cloud, you can work with a qualified company that provides secured managed cloud services. You must ensure that your managed service provider meets industry security rules.

Highest Level of Protection – If you are looking to secure some really sensitive information or serious records, you need to have highest level of protection. For example, companies that accept online payments through credit/debit card or companies handling online banking account, or companies in healthcare industries must comply with PCI and HIPAA regulations (whichever applicable). Data in these websites is highly sensitive and companies must understand potential risks. They must adhere to security regulations.

What are the Security Risks in the Cloud?

– If a cloud service is not properly designed, there is risk of hackers breaching into your confidential data. In addition to hackers, other factors like natural disasters or unforeseen damages may also lead to data loss.

-If credentials are stolen or are shared with multiple people, there is a risk of account or service traffic hijacking

– Many cloud providers share platform to save on cost. This means when one component is harmed, there is a risk on other components as well

– Third parties building on to existing APIs can also cause security threat to data stored in the cloud.

Which Security Measure should you take?

Using stronger two-factor authentication techniques and encryption wherever possible automatically reduces the chances of data breaches significantly. If you are not aware of the technical intricacies involved in cloud, it is always recommended to hire a good cloud service provider that allows you maximum control over encryption techniques. Other precautions like sharing keys with trusted people only, regular monitoring, avoiding layers, and using a defensive in-depth strategy is the key towards a safe and secured cloud services.

The Bottom Line

There is no option more convenient for data back than cloud. It can hold large amount of data at an affordable cost. Cloud offers regular backup of data and easy to use as well. In such a scenario, it is quite difficult for most businesses (especially SMBs) to stay out of cloud. Also, you cannot ignore the fact that data stored in your computer or any other platform is not completely secure from hackers either. Keeping all these points in mind, it is always a good idea to use cloud for data storage but with required precautions.