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Overcoming control and visibility challenges in the cloud

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/bluebay)

Cloud has boomed in popularity over the past decade and adoption will unquestionably continue to increase during 2020. In fact, according to Gartner, the global public cloud services market is expected to grow 17 per cent in 2020. This will see it reach a value of $266.4 billion, up from $227.8 billion in 2019. Adoption is being driven by businesses and governments alike who are embracing cloud for its low cost, flexibility, ease and speed of deployment, as well as its security. Not to mention its suitability for the remote workforce, which is a critical consideration in the current climate.

Cloud implementation, however, is significantly more complex than many businesses may assume. A misconception that must be addressed if cloud is to be used successfully. Organisations need to recognise that when cloud is improperly managed it can cause operations staff to lose control and visibility over their network and application performance. This results in fragmentation, increased complexity, and has a serious impact on employee productivity. Organisations moving to the cloud need to educate themselves on these challenges, bear them in mind during the transition, and think strategically about how they can be overcome. Failure to do so will mean they are not be able to enjoy the full benefits cloud can deliver. Benefits that include improved productivity in the office environment, as well as when working from home, which can open the door to innovation, and, in the long run, growth.

Implementation strategies sacrificed to quick deployments

Worldwide lockdowns, put in place as a consequence of Covid-19, have pushed businesses to mobilise home working setups at speed. For many organisations, this has meant an increase in cloud adoption as this infrastructure naturally lends itself to remote working. However, the pressure to mobilise quickly, to maintain business operability, has meant many organisations have jumped into solutions without necessarily thinking about their long-term implementation strategies. Including how they will ensure performance. This is causing numerous businesses to lose productivity due to slow running systems and poor infrastructure planning.

Visibility and control are paramount to performance

Businesses currently increasing their cloud usage, or even beginning their transition from a legacy to cloud-native solution, need to think about how the change will impact the level of control and visibility their operations teams have. Currently, one in three IT decision makers lack full visibility into their applications, networks and end-users, according to Riverbed’s recent Rethink Possible report. Without this insight, IT teams are forced to fly blind. Naturally, this impairs their ability to ascertain whether the cloud is working effectively for end-users, as well as to troubleshoot and resolve issues. Afterall, uptime may show as high, but this does not necessarily mean that a network or application is working well. In fact, its performance may be so poor that it is virtually unusable. However, IT teams will not know this unless they are able to clearly see across their full suite of network and applications and are able to monitor for changes and discrepancies. What’s more, their lack of visibility will mean they find it near impossible to try and fix the issues employees are experiencing. This will have a serious knock-on impact on end-user productivity.

Business coming up against these challenges will be at a significant disadvantage to competitors who have managed to overcome them. Consider financial and legal institutions where employees have to regularly access large-scale files in the course of their work. If these documents are too slow to load, as a result of poor network performance, employee productivity will be damaged. This will hamper their ability to serve clients quickly and effectively. Over time, this will result in employee frustration, not to mention customer dissatisfaction as their needs will not be met in a timely fashion. Not only will this make it more challenging to retain existing customers but will create difficulties in attracting new business through a lack of positive customer testimonies.

Cloud operations management is, therefore, the key to competitive advantage and, consequently, business success. This fact is supported in Riverbed’s Rethink Possible report which found that almost half of the C-Suite believe slow running and outdated technology is directly impacting the growth of their business. These issues need to be resolved through technological investments if both productivity and business success are to be secured.

Time to invest in performance management and acceleration tech

All businesses need IT solutions that facilitate end-to-end visibility, in order for operations teams to be able to ascertain whether the cloud is performing the way they would expect. Network and application performance and optimisation solutions do just this, by empowering IT teams to monitor and investigate performance issues. This enables them to visualise and remediate any challenges staff may be experiencing, including recognising where latency is at an unacceptable level and an application accelerator could help. For instance, it will help identify if file uploads on Office 365 were prohibitively slow and standing in the way of efficient communication, as well as if this issue could be resolved through an accelerator. Collectively, these solutions ensure IT teams can deliver the optimum performance possible, so end-users will have enhanced digital experiences and can feed the advantage this brings back into the health and growth of the business.

Cloud is the future, but only if properly managed

It is not surprising that businesses are turning to the cloud to modernise their IT infrastructure, given the many benefits it offers. However, a shift to cloud can cause operations teams to lose the control and visibility they need to ensure strong: performance, end-user experiences, business efficiency and success. These powers need to be handed back to IT teams — through performance management solutions and application accelerators — so they are equipped to identify, analyse and tackle performance issues. Investing in this technology is the key to enabling organisations to not only operate efficiently but disrupt the industry they work in. Digital transformation therefore ensures the best future for their business sector as a whole and, in turn, the wider economy.

Joe Bombagi, Director Solutions Engineering, UK & Ireland, Riverbed Technology