As organizations scale up their operations and rely more heavily on cloud technologies, efficient and cost-effective cloud networks become paramount. As per the 2022 Data Center Resiliency Survey by Uptime, 80% of data center managers and operators faced disruptions in the last three years. This is a slight uptick from the usual range of 70% to 80%. Additionally, the number of outages causing losses exceeding $100,000 has risen significantly. These statistics underline the importance of having a optimized and secure cloud network. In this article, we will explore the challenges businesses face in managing their cloud networks and provide practical solutions to optimize and secure these networks. By implementing the strategies discussed here, such as opting for cloud-managed services, organizations can reduce operational costs, enhance data security, and minimize the risks of outages and breaches.
Before delving into the solutions, it’s essential to understand why cloud networks have become complex and messy in recent years. One common reason is the need for more guidance from cloud network architects during the initial setup. Many networks have been built without proper planning, leading to a tangled web of interconnected components.
To address this, enterprises need to re-evaluate how their clouds are managed, controlled, and secured. An assessment of quarterly spending can help identify areas of overspending and optimize operational costs. Staying updated with new cloud products and features is also crucial to maximize performance and efficiency.
Assessing Operational Costs
One of the first steps in optimizing cloud networks is to evaluate and optimize operational costs. Many organizations overspend on their cloud environments, resulting in unnecessary expenses. By conducting a thorough assessment of quarterly spend, businesses can identify areas where costs can be reduced without compromising performance.
Keeping Pace with Hyperscalers
Hyperscalers constantly introduce new cloud products and features, pushing the boundaries of cloud technology. To take full advantage of these advancements, organizations must stay updated and assess which elements of their infrastructure are no longer relevant. This requires a commitment to upskilling and fostering a culture of continuous learning among network administrators and engineers.
Automating Cloud Operations
Automation plays a crucial role in optimizing cloud networks. Although some teams may perceive automation as a threat to job security, it actually empowers organizations to have more control over their environments and enhances security. For instance, automation can help healthcare providers and banks ensure the secure handling of sensitive data, improving operational efficiency and minimizing the risk of breaches.
Outsourcing Cloud Maintenance and Monitoring
Outsourcing the maintenance and monitoring of cloud environments to managed services providers can be beneficial for smaller teams or organizations with limited resources. Managed services providers like Cloud Flare or Aviatrix Solutions can handle the day-to-day management of cloud networks, allowing businesses to focus on core activities while ensuring the security and scalability of their multi-cloud and multi-SaaS environments.
Leveraging Software-Defined Networking (SDN)
Software-defined networking (SDN) offers a flexible and cost-effective approach to network management. By decoupling the control plane from the data plane, organizations can centralize network management and automate provisioning, configuration, and security policies. SDN also enables network administrators to dynamically allocate resources and adjust network configurations based on changing demands.
Implementing Strong Access Controls
Effective access controls are crucial to safeguarding cloud networks. Organizations should enforce robust authentication mechanisms, such as multi-factor authentication (MFA), to prevent unauthorized access. Additionally, implementing role-based access control (RBAC) ensures that users have the appropriate privileges based on their roles and responsibilities.
Encrypting Data in Transit and at Rest
Data encryption is a fundamental aspect of cloud network security. It protects sensitive data from unauthorized access during transmission and storage. Organizations should implement encryption protocols, such as Transport Layer Security (TLS) for data in transit and encryption at rest for data stored in cloud storage services. Encryption keys should be managed appropriately and stored securely.
Implementing Intrusion Detection and Prevention Systems (IDPS)
Intrusion detection and prevention systems (IDPS) help identify and mitigate potential security threats in real time. These systems monitor network traffic, detect suspicious activities, and proactively prevent unauthorized access or malicious attacks. Implementing IDPS solutions provides an additional layer of security for cloud networks.
Conducting Regular Security Audits and Penetration Testing
Regular security audits and penetration testing are essential to identify vulnerabilities and weaknesses in cloud networks. These assessments help organizations proactively address security gaps and ensure compliance with industry regulations. Conducting thorough audits and penetration tests allows businesses to stay one step ahead of potential security threats.
Implementing Data Loss Prevention (DLP) Measures
Data loss prevention (DLP) measures help organizations prevent the unauthorized disclosure or leakage of sensitive data. By implementing DLP solutions, organizations can monitor and control the movement of data within their cloud networks, detect potential data breaches, and enforce policies to prevent data loss.
Monetizing Data with Cloud WAN
To drive innovation and revenue growth, organizations can leverage cloud technologies to monetize their data. For example, a car rental brand can collect data from smart cars to gain insights and create new revenue streams. Cloud WAN, a distributed computing architecture, enables organizations to process and analyze large volumes of data efficiently. By creating overlays and establishing communication between different components, businesses can effectively harness the power of their data.
Designing for Scalability and Flexibility
Organizations should design cloud networks with scalability and flexibility in mind to accommodate future growth. By adopting a modular approach and leveraging technologies like containers and microservices, businesses can easily scale their applications and adapt to changing demands. This ensures that cloud networks can support the organization’s evolving needs without compromising performance or security.
Embracing Cloud Managed Services
Another survey conducted by Uptime states that almost 40% of organizations have experienced significant downtime due to human error within the last three years. Among these incidents, a staggering 85% were attributed to staff not adhering to established procedures or were a result of deficiencies in the processes and procedures themselves. This highlights the critical importance of addressing both individual adherence to protocols and refining the underlying systems to enhance overall operational resilience.
Organizations can benefit from partnering with cloud-managed service providers like Futran to overcome these challenges of managing complex cloud networks. These providers have expertise in optimizing and securing cloud environments, allowing businesses to focus on their core competencies. Cloud managed services provide businesses with access to a team of professionals who can handle the day-to-day management, monitoring, and optimization of cloud networks.
Also read Exploring AWS Managed Services by Futran
Futran’s Cloud Managed Services for AWS and Azure offer comprehensive support in optimizing and securing cloud networks, ensuring businesses can fully leverage the power of cloud technologies. With a team of experienced professionals, Futran provides end-to-end management, monitoring, and optimization of cloud environments, allowing organizations to focus on their core competencies. Whether it’s reducing operational costs, enhancing data security, or driving innovation, Futran’s Cloud Managed Services are designed to meet the unique needs of businesses in the ever-evolving cloud landscape.