Every IT professional knows — in this world of shifting expectations, markets, and technologies — the key to maintaining a competitive advantage is leveraging cloud computing. Since the advent of the cloud revolution, business executives have adjusted their strategies to take advantage of flexible cloud functionality. Although many tech leaders are accustomed to utilizing public or private cloud services to fulfill their data needs, a different approach to cloud computing on the rise could be “the future of enterprise IT”: the hybrid cloud.
Best of both worlds
Both public and private clouds come with inherent benefits and drawbacks. For instance, public cloud providers can help IT leaders save money they’d otherwise spend on maintaining and operating dedicated servers; however, working with a public cloud provider also forces these decision-makers to trust their data with a third party, which can jeopardize security and data quality. On the other hand, private cloud users experience more control, but private clouds also come with greater costs and more day-to-day upkeep. Although some IT leaders use both, a siloed combination can result in inefficiencies.
Enter the hybrid cloud, which consolidates the best parts of each platform into a customizable, hassle-free design. Business executives can pick and choose which information they store on each platform level, offering the security and control of a private cloud while outsourcing much of the resource load to a public server. Of course, specific hybrid cloud architectures and their impacts depend on company priorities and size. IT experts may implement a combination of cloud resources and models, such as infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS).
Although the ways in which tech leaders implement hybrid clouds vary, the potential benefits are consistent and wide-ranging. Hybrid cloud flexibility allows IT designers to employ new solutions quickly no matter where they are in their clouds, adjusting server capacities as-needed to provide peak support for systems. For business teams, hybrid clouds offer comprehensive views of what’s running at each project level and the financial effects of each action or change. In short, implementing a hybrid cloud offers the advantages of public and private clouds in a faster, more flexible, and more cost-effective package. And, according to an ITProPortal article, the hybrid option “puts control back in the best hands – the hands of the company that understands their customers’ needs.”
Of course, to gain a competitive advantage via a hybrid cloud, those in your company must craft a clear, tactful strategy. Here are some essential considerations for leaders of organizations with hybrid cloud platforms coming down their pipelines:
- Agility and flexibility — Prepare for periods of high demand by ensuring the cloud you choose will be able to meet your customers’ resource needs. How capable is your cloud of remaining fully operational during peak traffic times?
- Security and control — Determine how protected your data should be. Is your data safe enough under lower security levels? How will you access your cloud infrastructure? Are you meeting security requirements — for customers and for compliance?
- App complexity — Make sure your IT team is prepared to adjust to new forms of application management. What kind of apps will your IT environment need to support? Will you be managing serverless applications on your hybrid cloud?
- Integration — Hybrid clouds may offer the best of both worlds, but it’s up to you to integrate their tools and services with your existing enterprise systems.
- Costs — Hybrid clouds can be more cost-effective than their alternatives, but only for those who plan ahead. What are the costs of deploying and managing a hybrid cloud infrastructure? How do they compare to your existing system expenses?
- Company size — Your priorities when deploying a hybrid cloud may depend on your company size. For example, those in larger organizations might prioritize operational costs and security whereas those in smaller organizations may prioritize flexibility and agility. Consider these factors when planning your deployment.
Implementing and managing hybrid clouds may seem challenging to some. Fortunately, you can make the process easier by working with a managed service provider (MSP). The right MSP can relieve you and your IT team members from some of the pressures and responsibilities in a manner complementary to your cloud strategy. You can outsource certain IT processes to your MSP while staying in control of your infrastructure and services. In short, an MSP can act as a membrane between your enterprise and the cloud — allowing you to stay in charge and save money.