Top 5 Challenges & Risks of Multi-Cloud Adoption

What are the challenges and risks ?

Multi-Cloud adoption brings new challenges and risks to organizations. There is a significant difference between merely using multiple isolated cloud environments and creating an optimal operational environment leveraging multiple cloud platforms.
It involves having best-suited skills, tools and processes which will enable the interoperability to achieve operational excellence.

Let's further discuss the Challenges and Risks of Multi-Cloud Adoption

Based on the 2019 Cloud Survey report from Flexera, top challenges on Multi-Cloud adoption can be identified as, cost, Governance & Compliance, Security, Organizational readiness and Interoperability.

We have identified 5 main reasons for moving to Multi-Cloud.

  1. Cloud Spend

The challenge of cloud cost is building around the risk of wasting and losing money due to uncontrolled cloud spend. It is difficult to manage their cloud spend with a single CSP without having proper governance. It will be far more complex and difficult to manage the spend when multiple cloud providers are involved.

The following mistakes/ill-practices are making the cloud spending a strong challenge.

  • No centralized cost tracking for multiple cloud vendors. Without correct tools, cost tracking and estimation of multiple-cloud platforms will be a complex task and can lead to unforeseen spend growth.
  • No optimization on the workloads Having redundant setups or not optimized workloads or operational procedures in place Multi-Cloud will become far more costly. Necessary optimization to be carried out and enforced to reduce the costs.
  • Not utilizing the CSP discounts If your organization is not adjusting the workload placement and architectural changes along with the CSP given discounts, you tend to waste money.
What will assist to overcome these mistakes?

Applying governance and enforcing policies to cover the below will help an organization to manage and optimize their cloud cost.

  • Using proper Multi-Cloud tools for cost tracking and planning
  • Enable chargeback and show back and enforce cost bearing to resource owners. Distribute the cost accountability for resource owners.
  • Optimize the workloads
    • Using auto scaling/orchestration for managing workload active time
    • Using optimized and right instance sizes
    • Using correct tagging to track the resource and their spending
    • Using cloud native and Serverless technologies to minimize application active time
  • Eliminate inactive storage
    • Use archival storage whenever possible
    • Remove unnecessary backups.
    • Enforce good housekeeping policy
  • Use cost optimization features from CSPs
    • Use the discounts on resource commitments
    • Use lower cost regions
    • Choose the lower cost cloud service provider for given services if those are commodity services.

  2. Governance & Compliance

Governance is one of the most important directives when it comes to cloud adoption. Enforcing policies and compliance throughout the Business, Technology and process is handled by proper governance.

Compliances will determine and set the governance requirements, what and how the data/application, business and culture should be managed and enforce the governance on top of these areas.

With Multi-Cloud adoption, there will be further complexity added and the managing the governance requirement becoming a challenge.

Some example key areas which strong governance to be implemented are,

  • Business
    • Financial management Cloud consumption, procurement management and Trending & Reporting are main areas which to be governed to have the optimal business value from the Multi-Cloud.
    • Vendor management Build governance over Risk management, contracts and performance SLA targets. There should be an exit plan if the above are not met with a particular cloud vendor.
  • Technology
    • Data governance
      Governance to be applied based on classification, quality, protection and residency.
    • Service Portfolio management
      Governance over portfolio management should define to achieve, Reduce Redundancy, Cost control and true business value from Multi-Cloud. With proper architecture and tools in place, reducing unnecessary redundancy can be achieved.
    • Integration and interoperability
      Without proper policy implementation, interoperability on Multi-Cloud will be really hard. Necessary tools and technology to be used to create a unified optimal operating environment.
    • Workload architecture
      Data, application, infrastructure and security architecture to be governed to define Multi-Cloud ready workload architecture
  • Culture
    • Security and compliances
      The primary focus is to secure all three pillars of the organization. Governance should be enforced to define common policies across the Multi-Cloud elements and operational aspects. Focus on the shared responsibility model of each cloud vendor and establish common controls over data, network, application, infrastructure and access controls.
    • Operational Management
      Governing and enforcement on utilizing a common unified operational model is encouraged rather than using different segregated operational models for each part of the Multi-Cloud.

  3. Lack of resources/expertise

One of the biggest challenges that organizations are facing on cloud adoption is the lack of expertise/resources that are required to migrate or operate in the cloud. It is as catastrophic as any company to turn their business into cloud-based technology without the right knowledge.

Traditional Skills vs Cloud Skills

Traditional IT skills, like server management, Windows or Linux, DBA or Cisco Networking, don’t automatically translate to the cloud. Skills on operating in the cloud to be acquired and IT roles to be transformed.


  Solution/Technical Architect Cloud Architect

  Network Eng./System Admin Cloud Engineer

  Software Developer Cloud Software Developer

Tools and technology are evolving, continuous update in skills inventory is essential to survive in the cloud. Many organizations hope to overcome this challenge by hiring more workers with cloud computing certifications or skills. Experts also recommend training the existing staff to get them up to speed with the technology.

This is a slow and steady process. However, to jump-start and accelerate the cloud adoption, Cloud Consulting partners assist the organization to create the necessary strategies and build the skills within the organization.

  4. Security

Security is another challenge that organizations have identified in their cloud adoption journey. Multi-Cloud security requirements are getting complex and difficult to address if the deployment is treated as silos. Instead, security should be applied with a holistic approach.

The next challenge is the standardization of security controls. CSPs have their own security implementation. APIs are not standards across all the CSPs. However, for any CSP, we can identify a common shared responsibility model based on the service type.

Key areas to consider implementing the security controls
  • Access management
  • Network security
  • Application security
  • Data protection and privacy

A Multi-Cloud tool which supports central management of policy-based security architecture can assist the organization to overcome these difficulties. These tools convert a common security policy language to CSP specific standards.

  5. Managing the Multi-Cloud

When building an optimal operational environment with multiple CSPs, one of the main challenges is interoperability. CSPs are using different APIs, tools and mechanisms to perform provisioning, managing cloud resources and security. This adds the extra complexity of building common logical architecture.

Orchestration of resources and applications across multiple cloud platforms is another challenge since different CSPs have their own orchestration engines without a common language.

To overcome these challenges, an organization require to practice the following:

  • Invest in architectural changes in application and data towards portability. Application portability can be achieved with containerization, standard open API implementation.
    Using standard database server implementation, Data synchronization and enabling data availability across Multi-Cloud silos will enable data portability.
  • Invest in Infrastructure-as-a-Code solutions for cloud resource provisioning. Managing infrastructure lifecycles with defined templates will be an added advantage. These systems use a template with a common language and convert the instruction to map the target CSP orchestration engine language.
  • Embrace configuration management and automation solutions with the DevOps approach.
    Workload configuration management and automated lifecycle management can be achieved by integrating the environment with automation tools.
  • Invest in architectural changes in application and data towards portability. Application portability can be achieved with containerization, standard open API implementation.
    Using standard database server implementation, Data synchronization and enabling data availability across Multi-Cloud silos will enable data portability.
  • Invest in Multi-Cloud management with orchestration support. Orchestration and management solution will provide a single plane of control for cloud resource lifecycle management, billing and analysis of cloud events, security, compliance and governance management.


The Multi-Cloud approach is promising to build a cost-effective, reliable, optimal and innovative operating environment for organizations, but it brings more complexity.
To overcome those challenges, practicing proper governance, skill development and investing in correct Multi-Cloud tools are necessary.

However, it's not an easy one-day task. Not every organization is ready for the Multi-Cloud. To adopt Multi-Cloud without pitfalls, an organization has to work towards building a Multi-Cloud strategy and necessary skills with the help of a cloud consulting partner.


In our next post, I’m going to further discuss the strategic approach towards Multi-Cloud.


At hSenid Mobile, we have identified the need for Unification of Multi-Cloud Environment and we are assisting our customers to accelerate their Multi-Cloud journey with the help of hSenid Mobile’s Managed Services.

We are conducting a Collaborative Session on the 26th of November with Red Hat on “Unify Multi-Cloud Experience with Managed Services”. Click here to register & save your seat at our webinar.

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