Collecting data is one of the most important tasks a business can do. Data will provide insights into customer behavior, allow a business to process transactions, and make the business run more smoothly. The problem is storing all of that data in a secure, useful manner.
Enter the hybrid cloud, a solution that’s attracting a lot of modern businesses. Using the hybrid cloud offers a flexible middle ground between traditional internal infrastructure and cloud computing. Here’s what you need to know about using the hybrid cloud for your business.
What is the Hybrid Cloud?
While the name is powerful and intimidating, the hybrid cloud isn’t an off-the-wall idea. The hybrid cloud pertains to when a business opts to use both servers and the cloud to operate and to store data. It could also mean using a combination of external public cloud storage and internal private cloud storage. In summation, it’s a mix of internal and external computing efforts.
The shift toward hybrid cloud management has created a healthy balance for businesses who aren’t comfortable being entirely on a public cloud, perhaps citing security concerns, but are ready to shift away from traditional infrastructure.
Hybrid Cloud Flexibility
There are a lot of reasons why businesses are choosing to use the hybrid cloud over traditional internal infrastructure. The main reason is the increased flexibility and versatility in managing data. This means that a business can alter their data as required, flexing and scaling to increase and decrease workloads to meet demand.
This level of flexibility is especially important for businesses that experience seasonality. For example, consider an online retailer. During the holiday season, their daily traffic to their e-commerce site could double or even triple. This puts a lot of added stress on their website and internal processing applications. By being able to flex and handle that increased workload with a hybrid cloud approach can prevent user experience delays and issues that will ultimately cost potential revenue.
To fully grasp how the technical and psychological sides of online selling work, consider the fact that Amazon once went down for 45 minutes and lost over $120,000 per minute in potential revenue.
Another reason that businesses are flocking to the hybrid cloud for their data management is the cost implications. Maintaining internal servers requires a lot of space, physical security, and other expensive investments to make them secure and well-run. The cloud takes up no space and thus doesn’t have the same overhead costs.
Using the hybrid cloud is also more cost-effective, as you can flex during certain times to take only what you need. This reduces your need for resource planning and forecasting that will ultimately result in you having either too much or too little server capacity.
The Best of Both Worlds
Given the above reasons, you might be wondering why a business wouldn’t just go for public cloud data management over the hybrid cloud. Using the hybrid cloud offers you the best of both worlds. You get the speed and efficiency offered by onsite server computing.
Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, you have the benefit of using a private cloud or internal storage system to protect your most sensitive data. When going entirely serverless, your main option is to use a public cloud domain. Whereas this area is rapidly developing, there are concerns about its overall security.
With the long-term cost implications being so positive, why aren’t more people using the hybrid cloud? As with most new technologies that have the potential to drastically improve one’s expenses and budget, the upfront cost to implement the hybrid cloud is substantial. You may not require the same setup as you would if you had everything stored on internal servers, but there are still installations required to make it work. This cost exceeds those incurred when using a public cloud environment.
Hybrid cloud management is also a specialized area that will take specific expertise to implement, as well as knowledgeable IT staff to best operate and maintain the network. In time, this approach will meet the same fate as other technologies that were once so cost prohibitive: it will become more accessible and cost-friendly for all.
Preparing for the Future
Moving to a serverless environment is inevitable. It’s just a matter of when that will take place and if a business will last long enough to see it. Chances are, if the business is well-established with a bright future, that shift will come in the next decade or so.
Therefore, beginning to make that shift now rather than investing in more internal data storage is preparing your business for the future. This will allow you to spend in a smart way so that you don’t invest in something that will be obsolete in ten years. The hybrid cloud offers a simplified transition from server to serverless data management that will help you stay in line with the times and give you a competitive edge.
If planning for future technology doesn’t concern you, consider the former giant Blockbuster. When Netflix approached Blockbuster at the dawn of the millennium to create a partnership that would carry both companies into the future, Blockbuster quickly refused. Netflix and its buzzwords like “on-demand” and “streaming” were considered a niche business. Blockbuster’s inability to consider the technology of the future ultimately made the business become history.
Keeping data secure is paramount for businesses, particularly with the news cycle of the last few years. Businesses that don’t invest in security, monitoring, and employee education put themselves at risk for a data breach. When a data breach occurs, customers lose trust in an organization and often choose to take their business elsewhere. Furthermore, if you’re found to be noncompliant with the legislation in your country and your industry, you could face hefty fines, legal fees, and the dissolution of your company.
While the hybrid cloud does offer a level of security that the public cloud does not, cloud sharing is a relatively new technology. While steps are always being taken to improve security in cloud storage and data sharing, there are always steps being taken to overthrow those measures with a cyber attack. The hybrid cloud may never be as secure as onsite internal infrastructure, which is a deterrent for many.
Setting up a hybrid cloud environment isn’t as simple as choosing an internal system and reaching out to a public cloud platform. You need an expert to identify what environment is compatible, so everything runs smoothly. For example, if your internal processing is highly advanced and efficient and the public cloud environment you choose is not, it will cause problems in the hybrid environment.
Assessing the compatibility of your cloud and internal servers take time and expertise, which can be cost prohibitive and frustrating for businesses. This is one of the main reasons some organizations choose to stick with internal infrastructure and data management or use the public cloud explicitly.
The Future is Now
In summation, the costs and challenges faced with the hybrid cloud environment are overshadowed by the many benefits: long-term cost savings, flexibility and versatility, and the ability to adapt to exponentially developing technologies.
For those organizations that aren’t ready to make the shift to cloud data management or the hybrid cloud as a transition, should incorporate it into their overall business strategy for the next five years.