Embrace your Business Reality with a Strong Hybrid Cloud Strategy

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Whether fully cloud native, in the middle of a migration process or beginning the move, several benefits come from implementing a solid hybrid cloud approach

Most organizations have started to leverage cloud computing, and many have sophisticated strategies in place, but many small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) still have hesitations around cloud adoption. Some are reluctantly moving ahead without a complete strategy. Others are not moving, but shadow IT in their organization means they’re really on an escalator. 

Regardless of where your organization falls on the adoption spectrum, it’s essential to understand the immense value that a cloud adoption strategy can deliver. Every day cloud tactical decisions are made, but the proactive strategies are what many companies are missing.

The SMBs that got through 2020 from an IT perspective were the ones willing to flex the most and the fastest. It’s no surprise that Gartner predicted the public cloud market would grow by over 6% to $257.9bn in 2020, and by even more going forward — it’s expected to top $364bn by 2022. 

"85% of organizations say that they are using multiple clouds in their business today"

Why Hybrid Cloud?

Most organizations I interact with have a hybrid cloud model as their preferred choice. 

A hybrid cloud is the combination of private infrastructure with one or more public cloud services. This allows organizations to get the best of both worlds — on-premises network infrastructure inside a private cloud for specific sensitive workloads and the flexibility, scalability and cost benefits of public cloud for everything else.

Think of it as a way to combine the best cloud services and functionality from multiple cloud computing vendors. In fact, 85% of organizations say that they are using multiple clouds in their business today, with 76% using between two and 15 hybrid clouds, according to IBM. Nearly all (98%) are forecast to be using multiple hybrid clouds within three years.

What Are the Benefits?

Whether you’re fully cloud native, in the middle of your migration process or just beginning the move, several benefits come from implementing a solid hybrid cloud approach. These include: 

  • 1: Support for the Distributed Workforce

Over 60% of Americans say they have worked from home during the pandemic, and many more wish to continue doing so. These workers need on-demand access to enterprise resources and compute power to stay productive. A hybrid cloud model offers them exactly that — anytime, anywhere access to business-critical applications and services. 

  • 2:  Keeping Costs Under Control

Migrating to the cloud can seem intimidating and expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, hybrid cloud environments can lower long-term costs for SMBs. That’s because scalability is easier, allowing organizations to grow and turn a profit faster than they could with on-site storage. It works both ways, too — if demand spikes, organizations can scale up without needing to make significant investments in infrastructure, and if demand falls again, they can scale down and reduce costs. 

  • 3: Ramping up IT Efficiency

The ability to adjust to changes in demand is just one benefit of managing workloads in the cloud. Modern orchestration tools can also move workloads around to the lowest cost environments. Hybrid clouds also support edge computing, which places compute, storage and network resources as close as possible to end-users and devices. Thus, it can make IT infrastructure more efficient through lower latency.

  • 4: Improving Flexibility

Flexibility is improved with a hybrid cloud setup. It’s easier to run complex and resource-intensive applications in the cloud, and alternatively, some data may be best kept in-house for governance, security and compliance reasons. SMBs in some areas struggle with staying compliant with the most affordable public cloud options and will utilize private cloud to ensure compliance based on the location of data.

  • 5: The Security Aspect

Although nearly half of IT decision-makers still regard security as a potential barrier to cloud adoption, the truth is that hybrid cloud offers several options for making the transfer and storage of data more secure. Sensitive data can be stored in private cloud environments on-premises where the organization can control physical access to servers and ensure traffic flows via private network links rather than the public internet. Data can be encrypted to ensure security when it is transferred from private to public cloud environments. 

On the other hand, public cloud providers offer built-in redundancy for automatic data back-up and guaranteed availability and uptime, even in the event of a catastrophic incident. Yet, organizations must remember that in the public cloud, security is a shared responsibility. Familiarize yourself with the extent of cloud provider-supplied measures before migrating workloads to ensure you have the right level of protection in place.

Most SMBs today are operating under a hybrid cloud model, but few have a strategy that reflects that. It pays to embrace your IT reality and build a solid cloud strategy with that reality in mind.

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