How does your business benefit from hybrid cloud computing
Cloud computing is a fast-changing technology. As new cloud service providers enter the market and existing providers expand their offerings, businesses are adapting to exploit hybrid cloud solutions that leverage both public and private clouds. In this blog post we will explore what hybrid cloud computing is, how businesses can benefit from it, and what to consider before adopting a hybrid or multi-cloud solution.
Cloud computing is one of the fastest growing areas in digital transformation. Primarily, it’s a way to deliver services over the internet. It’s not just hosting your data on someone else’s servers (i.e., “the cloud”) – it’s about how you access that data from anywhere, at any time, using any device or application. Moving IT workflows from on-premises data centres to the cloud can also reduce energy consumption and associated carbon emissions by nearly 80%, according to the 451 Research Report.
But what if your business isn’t suited, or ready to migrate to the cloud?
Well, one option would be to adopt something that’s in between.
A hybrid cloud solution.
But what do we mean by hybrid cloud?
Hybrid cloud computing is a combination of the best of public and private clouds. It is a deployment model that enables organisations to customise and combine their own on-premises resources with public cloud services, delivering IT solutions that offer more flexibility, efficiency, and potential cost savings than either model alone.
Flexera State of the cloud Report 2022 highlights that 89% of companies employ a multi-cloud approach.
Companies benefit from the dynamic sizing capabilities offered by public cloud providers. For example, they can deploy their newest applications more quickly without having to invest in or build a large data centre. This approach also allows them to maintain any existing on-premises applications and data in their own private cloud. Combining both public and private cloud environments also supports connectivity to existing data stores, branch offices or even their remote workers.
For established businesses with existing IT infrastructure, public clouds are a more nimble and cost-effective alternative. They supplement rather than replace private clouds, increasing overall agility by allowing seamless transitions between environments at any time. This is easily achieved without any downtime even when adjustments need to be made, for example to support heavy workloads during peak hours.
Hybrid cloud models are an ideal way to scale up or down quickly, which is great for businesses that need a flexible approach or where the growth of a new service might not be fully known.
This approach can also be used to support changing business requirements or respond to unforeseen events without having to extend your on-premises infrastructure.
Imagine this; there is an unexpected and exceptionally high activity on one of your applications due to short term demand. Here, scaling up rapidly with a public cloud becomes a great solution, particularly because you can simply scale down again afterwards as soon as the excess activity recedes.
The advantages of hybrid clouds mean businesses have more choice in how they host the data and applications that are needed by their employees, customers, and partners with the added flexibility in how they scale and use those resources.
What does a hybrid and multi-cloud approach mean for security concerns?
While the hybrid cloud method has huge benefits, organisations may currently be limited by whether they can use this flexibility, due to security concerns or compliance reasons.
The security challenges posed by hybrid and multi-cloud strategies are often more complex than those associated with traditional data centre deployments. With multiple cloud providers, you must manage the security of your data across many different environments, which can be challenging. For example, if you store sensitive data on a public cloud service that doesn’t have the same level of security as your private cloud, you may want to take steps to encrypt data before sending it over the Internet.
Data consistency and compliance are other challenges that often arise with hybrid and multi-cloud deployments. Making sure that there is a single source of truth for your data and managing that across all the various environments in your organisation, becomes crucial.
Additionally, any cloud platforms you utilise need to meet compliance and industry regulations. For instance, security teams will need to make sure that all cloud architecture obeys the laws prohibiting electronic records being stored outside their host country.
Hybrid cloud computing is popular among businesses because it allows them the best of both worlds. It gives them the flexibility to choose which services (on-premises and cloud) that are most advantageous for their needs.
Nevertheless, it is clear there are challenges with mixing the two methods that shouldn’t be taken lightly. A comprehensive strategy covering costs, workflows, and crucially security, is needed to make sure it’s a success for your business.
Article written for TechUK Cloud Week 7-11 November 2022.
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