Multi-Cloud Vs Single-Cloud Strategies: Which Is Right For Your Business?

November 28, 2023

Cloud computing has revolutionized how businesses operate, providing easy access to computing services, storage, databases, and more. With just an internet connection, companies can tap into powerful tools that used to require massive investments in on-premise IT infrastructure. But when adopting cloud services, businesses face a key decision - whether to go with a single cloud provider or take a multi-cloud approach using several providers. This choice impacts cost, complexity, data management, and future flexibility, so it's crucial to weigh the pros and cons of each strategy. Let's look at how single-cloud and multi-cloud models work so you can make the right call for your business.

What Are These Cloud Strategies?


First, what do we mean by single-cloud and multi-cloud approaches? 

Single-Cloud Strategy


With a single-cloud strategy, a business relies on one main cloud provider for services like:


  • •  Email, calendaring, and collaboration tools
  • •  Hosting websites and applications 
  • •  Storing data and files
  • •  Video conferencing
  • •  Voice over IP phone systems


Sticking to one cloud streamlines contracts, billing, and support. It also allows easy integration between tools from that provider. However, it means relying solely on that vendor's offerings.

Multi-Cloud Strategy 


Meanwhile, a multi-cloud approach blends services from different cloud vendors based on each provider's strengths. For example:


  • •  Email and productivity apps from Microsoft 365
  • •  CRM system from Salesforce 
  • •  Accounting software from NetSuite
  • •  Project management from Asana
  • •  File storage on Box or Dropbox


This lets you mix and match best-of-breed solutions. But it also means handling multiple vendors and integrating disparate tools.

Looking Closer at Single-Cloud Strategy


Some businesses opt for a single provider to simplify cloud management. Benefits of single-cloud include:

Easy Administration


With one provider, you only need one portal to manage tools, track billing, get support, and set configurations. This takes less staff training and oversight versus juggling multiple platforms.

Clear Accountability


Problems are easier to resolve when there's one vendor responsible for the full cloud suite. You know exactly who to call for help instead of finger-pointing between providers.

Regulatory Compliance


For industries with strict data regulations like healthcare and finance, limiting cloud services to one provider can aid compliance. You only need to vet one vendor's security and policies.


Companies like Zenefits act as a one-stop shop for HR, payroll, benefits, and compliance. This appeals to small businesses without big IT teams. Shopify also manages ecommerce sites, payments, shipping, and more under one roof. For some customers, single-cloud simplicity outweighs the appeal of customizing every tool.

Looking at Multi-Cloud Strategy 


Meanwhile, businesses in other situations find multi-cloud architectures more appealing. Reasons to choose multiple cloud vendors include:

More Choices


With a multi-cloud approach, companies can evaluate all software providers to find the best fit for each need rather than making do with one vendor's options.


Easy Connections


Best-of-breed apps often provide pre-built integrations to products from other vendors like Zapier, allowing you to connect leading solutions.



Relying on a single vendor creates a serious risk if its service goes down. With multi-cloud, core functions have built-in redundancy across providers.  



As needs grow, a business using multiple clouds can adopt new tools without uprooting entire systems. This support for piecemeal growth makes scaling easier.


Companies like Netflix combine best-in-class tools across clouds for different functions - AWS for infrastructure, G Suite for email, Slack for collaboration, and more. This lets them cherry pick solutions while avoiding vendor lock-in. Basecamp builds its own apps but uses outside clouds like Amazon S3 for storage. The multi-cloud architecture gives maximum flexibility.

Comparing Single and Multi-Cloud Strategies


How do single and multi-cloud models stack up for key considerations? Here's a quick comparison:



Single Cloud

Multi Cloud


Can get bulk discount from single provider

No volume discounts, but can choose lowest cost provider for each service

Data Integration

Seamless connections between tools from one vendor

Requires integrations between disparate platforms

Data Security

Only one vendor's measures to vet

Must assess security across multiple vendors

Vendor Support

One account team for all issues

Multiple vendors to manage


Limited to solutions from that provider

Mix and match range of solutions


In general, single-cloud strategies emphasize simplicity while multi-cloud focuses on choice. Single-cloud works best for small businesses lacking big IT teams. But even companies using one platform should assess alternatives every few years to ensure it still serves their needs.

The Middle Ground - Single Stack Approach


While the single vs multi-cloud choice seems black-and-white, there are shades of grey. An emerging model is the "single stack" approach provided by vendors like Vonage Business Communications.


Single stack means unified communications and collaboration tools provided by one vendor but deployed across different cloud providers. For example, Vonage Business Communications integrated messaging, video, and phone service across public clouds like AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud. 


This model provides simplicity of working with one vendor. But by leveraging multiple public clouds for deployment, it avoids the risk of relying on just one cloud provider. Single stack solutions aim to deliver the best aspects of both single-cloud and multi-cloud.

Deciding What’s Right for Your Business


With those core concepts explained, how should you determine the best cloud strategy? Key considerations include:


  • •  Team Skills: Using many clouds can get a bit complicated. So, ask yourself, can your team handle it? If not, a single-cloud might be easier for them to manage. If needed, can you train them, and will that fit into your schedule?
  • •  Security Needs: Keeping your data safe is crucial. If you use a single-cloud, controlling your data might be simpler. But, using many clouds spreads out your data, which can be safer if one cloud has a problem. Look at how sensitive your data is and check if the cloud providers have good security measures.
  • •  Growth Plans: As your business grows, you might need more from your cloud service. A single cloud provider might work now but might not be enough later on. On the other hand, using many clouds can grow with your business as it offers more options.
  • •  Budget: Cost is always a big factor. A single cloud provider might give discounts that save you money now. But, using many clouds could offer more flexibility which might be useful in the long run. It's all about weighing immediate savings against future benefits.


A hybrid approach is also reasonable - adopting a primary cloud vendor for core tools while using specialty providers for things like marketing or data analytics. And remember that as your business evolves, cloud strategies can too. Don't lock yourself into one approach forever.

Final Thoughts


The choice between single-cloud and multi-cloud solutions has huge implications for your systems, budgets, and business agility. Evaluate your needs and capacities to strike the right balance between simplicity and customization. Keep assessing as you grow to ensure your cloud strategy continues empowering your success rather than limiting it. With the right foundation, the cloud's potential is limitless.