Multicloud Vs Intercloud – A Brief CISO’s Guide

Is intercloud the way to go with your company's data?
15 September 2022

We’ve looked at clouds from both sides now…

Whether your businesses needs to use a multicloud or an intercloud is a complex question, the answer to which will be different depending on some highly specific factors about your individual company. In fact, there are businesses that either don’t believe or haven’t heard yet that an intercloud is an actual Thing, let alone appreciated the differences between a multicloud and an intercloud, or been sufficiently up to speed to make an informed choice on which, if either, is best suited to their business.

Here, we’ll break down the differences for you, so you can plan your move into an multicloud or intercloud environment based on solid business logic.


It’s a surprise to no-one that while we talk a lot about “the cloud,” lots of cloud environments actually exist. Oracle, AWS, Azure, Google Cloud – they’re all individual cloud environments. By far the more famous and well-known of the two options here, multicloud simply means your business uses more than one of these clouds at a time. For instance, if you run a database on Oracle Cloud, use Google Cloud for its famous analytics capabilities, run all your Microsoft apps on Azure and so on, you’re using a multicloud setup. The only cost considerations to a multicloud setup are the costs of all these individual cloud environments for business.

The chances are that if your business depends on using all these clouds to get the best results for each of its core functions, you can make a solid business case for spending that money, whatever your business actually does. In fact, increasingly, the majority of US businesses work in this kind of environment, because each cloud has developed specialities – like Google and analytics, Azure and the ‘standard’ office programs, etc.


Where multicloud uses two or more cloud solutions, each to deal with an element of your business and your data, intercloud takes the process further, allowing the active management of data across multiple cloud environments.

That involves using an additional complex architecture to allow the data to be used in multiple environments. There are also likely to be additional data egress charges to pay on top of the standard cloud environment costs, and the costs of establishing the architecture to help you use the data in a distinct and intercloud way. Don’t underestimate the data egress charges – depending on the setup you use, you might find they add up fast. That means that whereas with multicloud environments, there’s little to overthink before you push the “Deploy” button, with intercloud architectures, there are usage and cost considerations that need to be justified before you decide to go down that route.

Usage Cases

As we have mentioned, multicloud environments are increasingly the norm in many US business, especially at the enterprise level, because many clouds have particular benefits in terms of dealing with particular types of data. So the multicloud approach is suitable for any business that has several types of data to process on any given day, and requires particular programs or environments to process it in ways on which your business depends.

Intercloud, with its significantly higher potential costs and more complex architecture, is especially useful where you have a daily need to integrate both data and analytics workflow across different servers. In a sense, intercloud allows you to take the insights that are hidden in your data and mine them for extra value by using different remote cloud environments – and the expert programs held within each – to approach data with a different, combination approach. So if your business has, for instance, lots of unstructured data and you want to milk it for insights that can either shave percentage points off your outgoings or boost the value and the practical use of your data, there may well be value to you in the intercloud approach, rather than using a simple, iterative, multicloud environment to interrogate the data one cloud at a time.

The judgment call will come when there are actual figures in front of you – the extra cost of an intercloud environment, the extra upheaval of changing staff over to using it, and potentially even training them in new ways of treating data across multiple cloud servers, versus the extra value the interrogated data can be revealed to have if you treat it within an intercloud architecture.

The Final Analysis

We can’t tell you whether intercloud is a worthwhile investment for your company – only the figures will reveal that in each individual case. But by understanding the difference between what sound like two pieces of jargon, with seemingly very little on first appearance to separate one from the other, you should be able to understand the type of investment – and the type of potential benefit – you get from each option.

  • Multicloud – increasingly commonplace. Uses multiple clouds for specific data processing tasks. Does not pass the data from cloud to cloud.
  • Intercloud – enhanced architecture. Uses multiple clouds, and the programs within them, together on the same data, allowing for enhanced data interrogation and processing.

The difference is essentially similar to running Zoom, Teams, and Slack as individual programs that don’t talk to one another, and running them as integrations, that allow the data in one to be ported to the others, and used interactively. You gain smoothness and potential data insights, but you have to weigh up the cost and complication impacts on your business.

Is intercloud is right for you and your business? Check the reports from your technologists and your accounts department thoroughly, and make the call based on the clarity of the case that intercloud will enhance your business compared to your competitors.