Networking and security teams are constantly trying to maintain a balance between security, complexity, and application experience. This situation has become much more challenging with organizations adopting multiple clouds and hybrid cloud environments for their business needs.
Fortinet’s new “Secure SD-WAN for Multi-Cloud” solution addresses these challenges by enabling enterprise IT to build a seamless cloud-to-cloud network and security architecture that is consistent and robust across the different clouds.
The Benefits and Challenges of Multi-Cloud Environments
Cloud infrastructure spend is rapidly becoming a larger portion of the CIO’s budget, and as a result, enterprises are increasingly adopting a multi-cloud approach for their cloud deployments. A multi-cloud strategy enables these organizations to avoid vendor lock-in and to select the best cloud services to meet the requirements of a particular application or workload. Organizations are also able to choose cost-optimized services and leverage geographically dispersed clouds for disaster recovery, to meet data sovereignty requirements, and to improve overall user experience. And a multi-cloud model also provides redundancy to reduce the risk of downtime.
For these reasons and more, enterprises are building their new data infrastructure across multiple clouds. And at the same time, IT continues to constantly evolve their cloud network infrastructure to meet new performance, security, scaling, and cost goals that have a tangible impact on their business outcomes.
However, even with so many benefits and use cases, multi-cloud is not without its challenges.
- Complex Network Architecture: The diversity of cloud platforms is a key challenge for IT since it is difficult to find skilled personnel who are experts in every single cloud environment. These skills gap often results in an IT team’s inability to scale adequately to keep up with the different demands of the large number of cloud service providers being used. Due to fundamental differences between cloud providers, IT typically struggles to deploy a consistent network infrastructure for applications and workloads that are deployed in or that span across multiple clouds. This increased complexity can slow down operations.
- New Security Risks: This same problem also increases security risks. A lack of a consistent security infrastructure that can seamlessly span multiple clouds, especially in terms of policy orchestration and enforcement, results in security gaps that prevent end-to-end visibility and uniform security control.
- Application Performance: Previously, to overcome these challenges, enterprises have chosen to backhaul cloud traffic to on-prem data centers or network service/colocation provider points of presence. While the goal is for cloud workload traffic to be centrally inspected and routed between the different clouds, these dedicated backhaul connections are often expensive and can quickly become bottlenecks. And this problem can be exacerbated because backhauling traffic over cloud provider VPN gateways to on-prem data centers can add significant latency and degrade application performance.
All these challenges demand a new approach for establishing secure and high-performance connectivity between multiple clouds—especially without increasing cost and complexity.