Where exceptional client service meets reality.
Welcome to our new website!

X
Posted 5.9.19
by Carrie Kennedy
Blog
Is Hybrid Cloud

Right for Your Business?

Editor's note: This article by Nick Lumsden, COO of Otava, originally appeared in CIO Review magazine on April 9, 2019. 

Hybrid cloud represents an ideal approach to capitalize on the scalability of public and private cloud, combined with the control of on-premises hardware, for an increasing number of organizations exploring the future of their network architecture. To determine whether a hybrid cloud is right strategy for your organization, there are many aspects and features to consider.

Nick Lumsden

Nick Lumsden, COO of Otava

According to the 2019 State of the Cloud report by RightScale, 58 percent of businesses plan to adopt hybrid cloud. Organizations leverage five clouds on average. Top reported cloud concerns for executives included cost management, lack of resources and expertise and security. How does hybrid cloud adoption fit into this picture and solve these challenges?

Hybrid cloud is all about optimizing workload resources in their best-suited environments at the lowest cost. It utilizes any combination of cloud infrastructures (public, community, private) that remain distinct entities but are connected by a common proprietary technology that allows for data and application portability. A hybrid cloud uses multiple cloud infrastructures that are orchestrated to run together to achieve a single task. Applications may be split up into private and public clouds, depending on the workload.

Pros and Cons of Hybrid Cloud

Hybrid clouds have their own set of challenges and opportunities, and organizations considering a hybrid cloud strategy should weigh their options carefully.

Some key advantages:

  • Flexibility with optimized workloads. A hybrid environment is designed to maximize efficiency and scalability for every workload. A hybrid solution lets you choose to put your applications where they run best, giving you much more efficiency and flexibility than any single solution.
  • Stability and availability. When applications are architected properly and run in and outside the company network, you can better protect yourself from an outage, whether it occurs on or off-premise.

But hybrid cloud is not without its challenges, chiefly:

  • Managing multiple cloud providers. Multiple cloud providers can lead to confusion over which cloud environment is being deployed when and tracking those costs can pose problems. If you truly want to manage your costs, you’ll need a strong communication plan between all teams.
  • Billing optimization. Lowered costs are one of the greatest benefits of the hybrid model, but without proper cost management, they can be a huge challenge to achieve, and a detriment to adopting hybrid cloud in the first place. It’s easy to rack up a massive public cloud spend very quickly, and if you’re juggling spending for multiple lines of business, cloud waste can be a major problem.
  • Communication between clouds. A hybrid cloud is all about maintaining connectivity between your multiple environments and ensuring smooth orchestration between them. You must identify the networking strategies you will use to achieve strong, stable communication and data transfer.
  • Talent management. Finding and managing the right talent for your cloud environment is hard. According to a recent report, 63 percent of organizations surveyed said an IT staff skills gap was one of the five biggest challenges of the cloud and hybrid IT. Outsourcing talent to a third-party provider is becoming increasingly common.

Security and Compliance in a Hybrid Cloud

According to RightScale, 94 percent of its 2019 State of the Cloud respondents now use the cloud. You’re likely among them, and there are some features that you should ensure are in place to provide maximum security and compliance:

  • Encryption. Widely considered a best practice for securing your data, encryption is key. Network endpoints are some of the most vulnerable spots for an attack, so you’ll want encryption between your devices.
  • Service Level Agreements. Pay attention to how the SLA aligns with your customer demands and have a plan to reconcile any differences.
  • Data Redundancy: Implement a robust backup and disaster recovery plan that can connect to the cloud for simple and easy recovery. Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) and Backup as a Service (BaaS) are two ways you can address potential downtime and data loss effectively in any cloud environment.

In the end, hybrid cloud, like any other environment, is only as secure and compliant as you and your IT partners make it. While public cloud providers offer compliant out of the box, there’s a major difference between their compliant infrastructure and your application that runs on that infrastructure. It’s essential to thoroughly vet all cloud providers and work with them to put the proper controls in place both on the infrastructure and application levels. This will help to prevent a breach and keep your data secure, protected and compliant.

Hybrid cloud offers many benefits that are enormously helpful to the enterprise including flexibility for data placement. When companies run their data efficiently, they lower costs and create room for growth. Consider the challenges carefully to help your organization fully realize the potential a hybrid solution offers.

Nick Lumsden is Chief Operating Officer at Otava.