The term “enterprise cloud” has taken on a distinct meaning in the cloud sector. With that in mind, here is a quick guide to what you need to know about the enterprise cloud.
There is no formal definition of enterprise cloud. In general, however, the term is used to refer to highly complex cloud systems with multiple components. For example, an enterprise cloud might have a private cloud and multiple public clouds. These public clouds might offer different service models (e.g. IaaS, PaaS, and/or SaaS).
An enterprise cloud is usually hugely powerful but also hugely complex. Enterprises consider this a fair trade-off since they have the resources to manage the complexity. With that said, even enterprises may not handle the entire management of their cloud infrastructure. In fact, it’s becoming increasingly common for them to use third-party managed service providers.
In principle, an enterprise cloud can (and arguably should) be as customized as you want or need it to be. In practice, there are certain characteristics that are typically common to enterprise clouds. Here are the main ones.
One key characteristic of enterprise clouds is that they are controlled from a central point. This does not necessarily mean that the people who control an enterprise cloud are all necessarily working in the same place. It means that there is one overarching framework of policies that are implemented via one single control panel.
Enterprises have long since learned that the only effective form of security is based on a holistic approach. Some of them have learned this lesson the hard way. Enterprises are also well aware that they tend to be watched particularly closely by stakeholders such as regulators. They are also, generally, under intense media and public scrutiny.
For all these reasons and many more, enterprises make it a priority to implement both unified and integrated security in everything they do. Zero-trust architecture is now the default in all areas of IT and, where possible, this principle is extended to physical security as well.
For completeness, in the public cloud components of enterprise clouds, the responsibility for security is still divided between the vendor and the client. The client will, however, does as much as possible to integrate its public cloud security with its private cloud security. Public cloud vendors will generally do as much as they can to facilitate this so that they can attract enterprise customers.
Cyberspace may be infinite but in the real world people are bound by geography and to a certain extent so is their data. Firstly, it’s becoming increasingly common for regulators to insist that businesses follow their laws regarding the protection of their residents’ data. The EU’s GDPR is an example of this.
Secondly, reducing the distance between data and its user/consumer also reduces the time it takes to deliver or collect the data. This is often a key consideration for modern businesses. Enterprise clouds are therefore often designed with a high level of geographical awareness.
Many enterprises want, and need, the ability to create highly customized solutions. In fact, the ability to create these solutions may well be crucial to the success of their business. Currently, businesses that want the very highest levels of customizability need to run a private cloud.
At the same time, many enterprises also benefit hugely from the ability to scale their use of infrastructure up or down. The most effective way to do this is to use public cloud infrastructure. For maximum efficiency at a large scale, it often makes sense to use multi-cloud infrastructure.
This is exactly why many enterprise clouds are hybrid clouds that use multi-cloud infrastructure in the public cloud. It gives them free rein to customize their own solutions whenever they wish. At the same time, it gives them access to any and all infrastructure they might need on any scale they wish at any time they wish.
Enterprises typically have significant purchasing power and hence significant bargaining power in negotiations. They do not want to give that up by walking unwarily into vendor lock-in.
This means that enterprise clouds tend to be built with mobility front and center at all times. For all their complexity, many enterprise clouds could be moved onto new infrastructure with minimal effort and disruption.
Enterprise clouds typically make strong use of artificial intelligence. This enables them to use self-monitoring and automation to run tasks with minimal to no human intervention. It also enables them to create meaningful data and data analysis for humans to use in the decision-making process.
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