Ian Waters, Senior Director, EMEA Marketing, ThousandEyes
Nearly every business today is a digital business. And if not, there is most likely a clear path for it to become one. Digital transformation initiatives range from providing seamless, omnichannel experiences to customers to modernisation projects around workforce productivity. In recent years the go-to technologies chosen to support these projects have become cloud, SaaS and software-defined networking. However, with so much riding on the outcome of these business objectives, a common set of challenges have also evolved for IT.
The cloud performance challenge
A recent survey by EMA Research highlighted that around 60 per cent of enterprises moving to the cloud are still struggling with performance management, network planning and security. While it is critical to choose the right cloud or decide the best SaaS platform for collaboration and communication it is equally critical to make sure these services are delivering on their promises, SLAs and most importantly, delivering superior user-experiences. So, why is that a challenge?
Well, digital transformation and cloud adoption exponentially increases the numbers of external dependencies – from DNS to CDN to third-party APIs to public cloud providers. In the cloud, the Internet has become the central nervous system for communication. When you rely on a network that is not built for enterprise communication and arguably has questionable security defences in place, you are susceptible to its vulnerabilities. Managing an interconnected web of unknowns is a struggle and an increasing challenge for enterprises moving to the cloud.
Legacy monitoring is dead in the cloud
Unfortunately, if you’re relying on the monitoring stack you built for the pre-cloud world, you’ve got a huge gap in visibility around the external components of delivering digital experiences to customers and employees. Public cloud vendors address a part of the problem by providing access to flow logs and infrastructure health within your environment. However, that still does not address the performance of external service providers like DNS, CDN, cloud-based security and SaaS, and Internet transport for SD-WANs.
The stakes are high
The problem is that when you lose control over IT assets, the burden of proof ironically rises on the IT team. If you don’t have sufficient visibility, how will you figure out where the source of a cloud issue is? Which provider do you escalate to? Without a good amount of diagnostic data, you’ll be hard pressed to get a provider to effectively act on your escalation, since they may not be convinced it’s their problem in the first place.
From a business point of view, the impact of loss of control and visibility means exposure to significant risk of damage to revenues, brand reputation, employee productivity and engagement. In a sense, when you move to the cloud, you’ve opened up a whole new world of possibilities but also of performance and security risks. If you’re flying blind, you’re headed for trouble, and that’s no way to run a business.
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