Map Apps, Compete at Scale
From the smallest businesses to the largest global firms, nearly every organization has a cloud strategy. Cloud means business agility.
But despite massive adoption, businesses still struggle with some fundamental elements of their hybrid and multicloud environments. Hybrid and multicloud architectures are complex, and this complexity does make them difficult to manage and secure. Controlling costs can also be tough.
The top obstacle for most firms is understanding application dependencies and whether it is technically feasible to house an application in the cloud. Mapping relationships among applications and their supporting infrastructure within an organization, much less across cloud platforms, has always been difficult to do. Some legacy apps are notoriously difficult to migrate.
To fully understand app dependencies, it is important to understand the underlying network, its connectivity, security, and the desired end-user experience. Structured’s broad experience across IT facilitates a comprehensive discovery and planning process, ensuring a much smoother migration for cloud-ready apps and a more optimized experience for end users once the app begins to run in its new home.
Ultimately, organizations measure the success of their hybrid and multicloud strategies through cost savings (both in capital and operational expenditures), agility in speeding goods and services to market, and value delivered to internal lines of business. Leaping blindly into cloud will not yield these results. Careful planning, proper vendor selection, responsible management, and a focus on desired outcomes are required.
Structured excels at dependency mapping and can help organizations chart and understand their unique environments – including whether a legacy app is suited for the cloud. This improves user experience, strengthens security, and helps firms control cloud spend.
Just like with on-premises infrastructure, organizations also wrestle with security issues in their hybrid and multicloud solutions. While cloud service providers deploy the highest physical and cybersecurity frameworks for their buildings, data centers, and the IT infrastructure housed within, those extra precautions mean nothing if a customer organization has not properly fortified its own security.
Structured works with customers to strengthen security across clouds and for end-users and their endpoints – major attack vectors often exploited by threat actors. We are adept at recommending and creating architectures and processes to support Zero Trust initiatives. We also partner with several cloud access security brokers (CASBs) and can help customers choose the best vendor for their unique environment.
Controlling spend is another problem area for many companies, and this issue is only expected to grow as cloud consumption escalates. Structured can facilitate two key initiatives to greatly assist with cost control: The creation of company-wide cloud usage/governance policies and the implementation of cloud management tools and services that facilitate automation and optimization.
The first step, policy creation, helps eliminate cost overruns caused by “Shadow IT.” Because it is relatively easy to spin up computing in the cloud, many well-intentioned line-of-business (LOB) managers bypass their internal IT departments to get the resources they need in a hurry. While this can be good for driving digital transformation and overall business competitiveness, it isn’t necessarily good for a company’s cloud budget. Communicating policies across the company about the process for leveraging cloud resources would go a long way to curtailing surprise costs.
The second step, automated cloud management either with tools or outsourced services, replaces inefficient manual processes. For example, organizations can leverage software that will automatically shut down workloads after hours or rightsize cloud instances – presenting significant cost savings. Just over half of enterprise companies also report using cloud managed service providers (MSPs) to contain costs.
Like other managed services, cloud MSPs allow a company to offload day-to-day management of their cloud instances to a highly expert, fully staffed and certified team. Equipped with the proper resources and tools, cloud MSPs are better positioned to help customers optimize their workloads, identify compliance and security gaps, and contain costs across public cloud platforms. Structured is aligned with several reputable and qualified cloud MSPs and can help customers identify the best vendor for their needs.
Structured Professional Spotlight
Chris McDuffie, Vice President Cloud Architecture
As the VP of Cloud Architecture for Structured, Chris manages strategies for application delivery and hybrid cloud infrastructures. His 30+ years of experience in business operations, IT leadership, and consulting enable him to focus on business strategies that promote secure collaboration, growth and employee engagement. Chris is also an avid hiker, spending as much spare time as possible trekking through Disney parks.