F5 reveals users facing multi-cloud security concerns

Vendor’s latest report on application services finds that the EMEA customer base is pro-cloud, but is dealing with some challenges

EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) customers might have been quicker than some of their US and APCJ (Asia Pacific, China and Japan) counterparts to embrace multi-cloud environments, but problems with skills and security remain.

The sixth annual State of application services (SOAS) report from F5 has shone a light on what is happening in the multi-cloud world and found that 88% of the EMEA organisations surveyed are using those environments.

That compares with 87% in the Americas and 86% in APCJ, and 27% of EMEA firms also expect to have half their applications in the cloud by the end of this year.

For partners, there are opportunities not only in deploying and maintaining those cloud environments but, according to F5, there are also security concerns and skill issues that partners can help with.

The F5 report found that as many as 66% of EMEA organisations felt they lacked the skilled security staff to help support the increasing adoption of multi-cloud.

Ensuring that the business stayed on the right side of compliance regulations, particularly the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), was the top concern along with other security issues, including making sure the business was keeping on top of emerging threats.

Brett Ley, senior EMEA cloud director at F5 Networks, said there were no signs of complexity lessening any time soon, with the majority of customers struggling to deal with a diverse application portfolio.

“A heterogeneous mix of application architectures is currently the norm and highlights the fact that multi-cloud deployments are very much here to stay,” said Ley.

“It is important to realise that the notion of achieving a single application architecture or uniform infrastructure environment is a pipedream for most organisations of scale. As such, it is imperative to have application services that span multiple architectures and multiple infrastructures. This will ensure consistent – and cost-effective – performance, security and operability across the entire application portfolio.”

The complexity challenge

The F5 State of application services (SOAS) report found that no single technology was dominant and customers were taking a mix of approaches:

  • Client-server architecture remained the most prominent and accommodated about one-third (34%) of applications.
  • Three-tier web applications were next at 26%.
  • Newer mobile (14%) and microservices/cloud-native (15%) architectures are on the rise.
  • Mainframes still accounted for 11%.

The SOAS report found most customers were choosing cloud platforms on a case-by-case basis to make sure they got the right fit for their needs and could extend security policies across the hosted environment.

“Inflexible, one-size-fits-all solutions won’t work any more in the cloud, so it is encouraging to see that per-application strategies are becoming more widespread in EMEA,” said Ley.

“Every application is unique and serves a specific function, such as finance, sales or production. Each will have end-users that scale from less than a hundred to into the millions. And each has a different risk exposure that can span from a breach being simply embarrassing to costing the business billions of dollars’ worth of damage.”

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