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Cloud Outlook 2020

New challenges and developments in multi-cloud.

As meshcloud, we are proud to look back on a successful year 2019, in which we won multiple new customers. During this time we've had the great chance to accompany different types of companies in their cloud transformation. While our customers belong to many different industries, e.g. Automotive, Financial Services or Utilities, we've been able to observe many similarities in their move to the cloud – showing the relevance of cloud management and cloud governance among large organisations.

At meshcloud, we support large organisations in their cloud transformation. Our platform provides consistent governance with cross-platform Identity and Access Management, Tenant management, Compliance & Security and Cost Management and is used by large enterprises to deliver secure cloud environments to thousands of teams while staying in control and reducing complexity.

Based on our experiences in this past year, here are some predictions on upcoming cloud challenges in 2020:

Experiments come to an end: Bringing the Cloud Journey to the next level

A lot of companies have surpassed the experimental stage of using cloud. They are moving towards production deployments of cloud applications, have to manage rising costs and face tightening security requirements. While in the beginning of a cloud journey, we often times face scattered cloud initiatives across different parts of the organisation, we now see more and more companies consolidating these initiatives and bringing them to the next level, setting up professional guardrails, preparing for wider user groups. One of the biggest challenges in this move is a reorganisation of responsibilities, especially in terms of security, as the use now will surpass a couple of cloud experts.

In order to fulfill these requirements, there will be a consolidation of deviating cloud governance activities, bringing them together and solving them consistently across different cloud providers, often conducted by a dedicated team of (multi-)cloud experts. These new solutions have to be set up for scale in order to address the rising demand for cloud resources. Self-service and automation help to accelerate the time-to-cloud to a couple of minutes for increased productivity.

Watch out: Organizational lock-in is on the move

Being obsessed with avoiding vendor lock-in on the workload level a lot of companies have managed to transfer workload to infrastructure like Kubernetes and data to open-source databases like MySQL, PostgreSQL or MongoDB. At the same time the maturity of managed Kubernetes offers has greatly improved. However, as the use of cloud grows organisational processes and integrations towards cloud platforms are being established. And they are a new way for cloud providers to keep their customers close. As most organsations use more than one cloud provider to meet all their requirements, they are confronted with multiple organisational models. This is rather challenging, as the integration of new platforms becomes time and resource consuming and slows down the actual adoption of the new technologies.

We are very happy to be working on a declarative definition of organizations ("org-as-code") that enables companies to define their organization once, while meshcloud takes care of translating this into the different cloud platforms. The concept is known from infrastructure as code and based on the idea of defining a desired target state in an abstract way, while the system works out the specific implementations in the background. Having this, it becomes very easy to integrate new cloud platforms and provide technological freedom. (Learn more about org-as-code in our multi-cloud maturity model)

Security Complexity is bursting

When cloud is widely used across the organisation and the number of cloud projects is continuously growing, it is essential to have clearly defined security concepts as well as proper process documentation to keep transparency on ongoing activities. Especially cloud access management (e.g. provisioning and retrieving access rights to cloud tenants) must be handled consistently, as the amount of managed permissions grows exponentially over time: more users, more projects, more cloud platforms. An easy and highly automated approach will help to keep control and enables to run continuous governance in order to comply with security frameworks and certifications.

At the same time, multi-cloud teams will have to help cloud users and DevOps teams to implement security concepts (e.g. via landing zones in their cloud tenants to achieve consistent security configurations across accounts and help them to deal with the increasing responsibility of DevOps practices.

Therefore, for 2020 we see an increased demand for clear governance of (multi-)cloud environments. Consistent cloud configurations and policy definitions will be key as companies scale up their use of cloud. Not only do they have to be controlled once implemented, their definition and scalable rollout will be in focus in order to provide a basic security level for all cloud activity, which helps to align cloud configurations and accelerate basic security assessments, even in regulated environments.

Are these topics relevant to you in 2020? At meshcloud, we provide best practices for multi-cloud management and multi-cloud governance, integrated into a powerful software platform. Feel free to reach out and get in touch with our multi-cloud experts.

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