How to embrace the cloud on your scale-up journey

By Paul Gampe, Chief Technology Officer, Console Connect

When setting up a business, entrepreneurs are increasingly building their company operations on the cloud. In many cases, the first stage of bringing an innovative app or solution to life involves choosing a cloud provider that can do the job but can also do it in a cost-efficient way. However, as start-up businesses move to scale-ups, founders often encounter challenges such as needing to integrate an application with other systems or implementing geographic replication to reach a larger user base.

This usually leads to a need for greater investment in cloud and, for many start-ups, can be a make-or-break moment. So, what do start-ups need to consider as their cloud needs grow with them, and how can they tackle these challenges?

The move to multi-cloud

Founding a company that relies solely on cloud removes additional challenges such as establishing on-premise infrastructure and provides much-needed simplicity for a young company. For instance, founders no longer need to know how technology works or even where the service is hosted. They only need a web browser and a credit card to purchase a cloud product and get going.

With that in mind, it doesn’t come as a surprise that the adoption of a cloud-first approach is growing. In fact, according to a recent report, the global number of cloud-first developers has increased by one million in the last year, bringing the total to 7.1 million.

As most cloud providers recognise the demand in the market, they are starting to diversify their products to maintain market share and remain competitive. These aspects of differentiation and the sheer range of options out there are driving start-ups and scale-ups into having a multi-cloud strategy so that they can pick and choose the services they require from different providers.

A cloud on the horizon

Although there are many advantages to the cloud-native and multi-cloud approach, there are a number of big considerations for start-ups. In particular, security should be front of mind. Many small organisations are unclear about the lines of ownership when it comes to security – and assume the responsibility lies with the cloud service provider’s side. When the reality is that when it comes to things like network security, the responsibility often lies with the cloud user.

Also security is a challenge that only grows as your organisation does. The more cloud providers and cloud regions that your business needs to access, the greater the security risk. Compliance is another area that organisations should be thinking about. Where is data stored? And which national laws should I be complying with?

To address issues with security and regulatory compliance, cloud-native organisations should give careful consideration to their connectivity options, and question whether the public internet is suitable for accessing all their workloads and applications.

Simplifying the challenges

Start-ups may want to consider a Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) platform to help them scale their business. NaaS provides a familiar cloud-like consumption approach to networking. Using a NaaS platform, businesses can create on-demand and direct connections to different cloud and SaaS providers, and easily manage all their connections through one web portal or via API. NaaS offers a number of benefits for organisations that need to grow their connectivity to the cloud.

First of all, the consumption-based model means they only pay for the connectivity they use, enabling users to increase bandwidth whenever they need to – rather than being in locked to lengthy contracts and complex billing.

Secondly, it gives start-ups access to the type of high-performance network infrastructure that would usually only be the reserve of much larger enterprises. By avoiding the public internet and using a dedicated connection to the cloud, start-ups can alleviate some of their security and compliance concerns.

Compared to the public internet, a direct connection provides much better protection against cyberattacks, while also providing greater visibility over your network traffic. This can be important if you are shifting data between clouds and need the network traffic to remain within local or regional data residency laws.

Finally, NaaS offers much greater flexibility when it comes to building your multi-cloud environment. It can make it easier to connect between different cloud providers, and in the longer term, can be used for things like automating data backup and recovery between clouds. Ultimately, NaaS removes the pain and complexity of cloud connectivity to give start-ups and scale-ups the time to focus on what matters most – growth.