While many things about the future are uncertain — especially in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic — but one thing that is not uncertain is the future is in the cloud. Indeed, according to consulting firm 451 Research, 90 percent of companies are currently utilizing the cloud in one form or another.
However, not all cloud environments are equal. The public cloud offers enormous computing capacity and storage without the need to install any software on local machines. However, organizations must rely exclusively on third-party services, and they also must share the public cloud with other companies.
The private cloud gives organizations complete control over services, users, and data, but the capital and maintenance costs are high. And then there is another cloud environment that gives organizations the control and privacy they need while allowing them to avoid steep up-front and ongoing costs: the hybrid cloud.
“The hybrid cloud integrates the public and private clouds in a single and consistent environment,” commented IT executive Sam Tenorio III, the founder and President of Austin-based Seamless Advanced Solutions which specializes in the design, deployment, and support of virtualized networks, data centers, and related solutions. “It essentially is the best of both worlds.”
There are five key reasons why the hybrid cloud is the environment of choice for a growing number of companies: business continuity, fostering innovation, seamless scalability, cost transparency, and enhanced security. Each of these is briefly discussed below.
1. Business Continuity
The hybrid cloud makes it cost-effective for organizations to rapidly recover from a system failure, which can be caused by anything from a malware attack to a power outage. Data management procedures are protected, and operations will continue after the emergency or disaster occurred.
“There are also several cloud service providers who offer backup and disaster recovery services that adhere to various compliance regulations, such as HIPAA, PCI, and FISMA,” commented Sam Tenorio III. “It is also possible for businesses who cannot afford or tolerate any downtime to implement a zero-downtime recovery environment.”
2. Fostering Innovation
Bringing technology-led ideas to life can be highly exciting — but also very expensive, because developing, experimenting and testing innovative concepts typically requires a substantial and dedicated IT infrastructure. The hybrid cloud enables businesses to rigorously model new products and services, but at a price position that is justifiable, affordable, and sustainable.
“Attempting to bring an under-developed or poorly tested product or service to market is a recipe for disaster, and companies who make this massive mistake often end up suffering lasting reputation damage, or they are forced to exit the market entirely,” commented Sam Tenorio III. “With the hybrid cloud, businesses can afford to have bold and ambitious aspirations, because they know they will be able to rigorously evaluate, test and optimize them in a contained and secure cloud environment that includes all the required data, network, and infrastructure resources.”
3. Seamless Scalability
The lesson for all businesses in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic is “expect the unexpected” — not just with respect to risks and threats, but also in terms of opportunities and possibilities. The hybrid cloud enables businesses to cost-effectively shift specific operations and functions to the cloud-based on current and planned needs — and just as effectively pull them back on-premises if the need arises.
One of the most important and beneficial aspects of hybrid cloud scalability is the capacity to execute automation rules, which instantly make more cloud-based resources available when certain pre-established conditions are met. At the same time, the hybrid cloud enables businesses to rapidly and safely shift and scale resources and workloads between the public cloud and private cloud, based on needs, changes, risks, opportunities, and threats.
4. Cost Transparency
It has already been pointed out — but it is certainly worth repeating — that the hybrid cloud is significantly more cost-effective for businesses than private cloud solutions with respect to capital and maintenance costs (including what can turn out to be shockingly high energy bills for keeping servers cool). However, there is another aspect that should not be overlooked: cost transparency.
With the hybrid cloud, businesses can clearly and consistently see what they are spending in capital and operational costs and generate granular-level reports on utilization by workload and department. This actionable intelligence can then be used to optimize processes and policies, as well as negotiate more cost-effective agreements with cloud service providers.
While it is true that working in the hybrid cloud can and should be significantly cheaper than the private cloud, it is up to each business to verify this based on their specific investment and utilization by utilizing cost transparency tools to help confirm that the ROI is positive and significant.
5. Enhanced Security
In the public cloud, all data and resources are accessed through the Internet. And while this is relatively inexpensive and certainly convenient, it is also a security vulnerability that some companies cannot tolerate — either based on their own standards or by standards imposed by prevailing compliance programs (e.g. HIPAA). The hybrid cloud offers businesses a substantially higher level of security and privacy but at an affordable price position.
“It goes without saying that security is a top-of-mind concern for all businesses these days,” commented Sam Tenorio III. “And while it is true that the hybrid cloud is more secure than the public cloud, businesses that exploit this type of environment need to make sure that they address and eliminate network-based vulnerabilities. Working with an expert consulting firm is the smartest way to do this, and to ensure that their journey through the cloud is rewarding, profitable and safe.”
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