Opening the door to greater cloud visibility


There’s no denying the journey to true cloud adoption has been, and continues to be, an uphill struggle rife with obstacles and pitfalls. A Cloud Industry Forum report revealed that, after trailing behind America, the UK’s cloud spending just recently overtook that of on-premise for the first time. While this could be seen as a victory, these are in fact just the first tentative steps of the long and winding cloud journey, with much more work to be done.

The next step for end-users will be taming and better-understanding this new cloud landscape. Equally, the next step for the channel will be to become knowledgeable, and serve as guides equipped with the tools to help end-users embark on this journey and create an entirely new revenue stream in the process.

Welcome to the Wild, Wild West

While encouraging that a significant number of UK organisations are harnessing multiple clouds to run data, apps and other services, how they do so - and how they manage it - is a different story.

Many organisations subscribe to disparate cloud environments for their varying needs yet don’t have total, vendor-agnostic visibility. I’m sure you’ll agree this could, and has, led to all manner of security concerns. These concerns pave the way for the channel to consult, comfort and capitalise on the next stage of the cloud journey.

Around a third of our partners claim that more than half of their customers report issues when it comes to keeping their cloud environments compliant, due to the sheer number of cloud applications they use. Meanwhile, generally, half say the majority of their customers do not have complete visibility of the security of all their endpoints across their multi-cloud infrastructure.

It’s no surprise therefore that most businesses are concerned about the rapid increase of customer mis-configurations that lead to security exposures. It’s clear the explosion of cloud technology, combined with the ongoing IT skills gap, has left organisations in the UK ill-equipped to manage and mitigate their cloud environments.

So, just like the unruly wild west of old, it’s clear that this new cloud landscape must be tamed, governed and better understood if end users are ever going to thrive in it. In turn, this creates a valuable revenue opportunity, should the UK channel rise to the call and assist end users in gaining better visibility whilst navigating the next step of their cloud adoption journey.

Taming the Beast

The solution, and the channel’s role, is to provide complete cloud visibility. Regardless of what lies where, and with which provider, a means for end-users to view their entire scattered cloud infrastructure from one point of access is the only way they will begin to properly understand their cloud environment and eject the most value.

For the channel, this creates an invaluable opportunity for a new revenue stream, whilst driving customer trust through guidance, expertise and much-needed know-how.

This channel-born system, complete with automated policies and constant violation monitoring, should provide full-stack security, including automated security policy enforcement and latent threat remediation. Leveraging best practices, such as CIS Benchmarks, end-users should be offered a cloud visibilty solution that continually evaluates environments for violations, identifies them and prompts for action when needed.

In its most powerful iteration, cloud visibility should ease end-users’ security woes with full SaaS protection that is not secured by on-premise firewalls. Not only would this reassure end-users of their cloud capabilities, but it would also instill within them the confidence to pick and choose additional cloud applications, safe in the knowledge that they will sit securely and visibly. It is only through such a solution and being lead by knowledgeable channel partners, that end-users will survive and thrive in the evolution of their cloud journey.

Gaining better cloud visibility is vital in guiding and empowering users in the next stage of their cloud journey, and an equally rich opportunity for the channel to tap new revenue and build invaluable customer trust when putting it in their hands. The next step is making it happen.

Chris Hill is RVP for public cloud international with Barracuda Networks