The idea of a hybrid cloud set-up – combining on-premises and off-site services – is an increasingly popular option for organisations of all sizes. But you do need some careful planning to make this type of implementation work.
There are number of practical and technical challenges to overcome, such as deciding what data goes where, not to mention the security of your off-site data. Read our short guide to the different types of data you’re likely holding, and where it should be kept.
What is a hybrid cloud?
A hybrid cloud set-up involves using a combination of on-premises data centre, and public or private cloud space. This means some data will be kept on-site while the rest lives in the cloud, so you can enjoy the best of both worlds. The concept has caught on, with businesses of all sizes making the move. A study by Rackspace and The London School of Economics and Political Science found that 60 per cent of businesses surveyed are either considering a hybrid cloud platform or have already implemented one.
The benefits of hybrid cloud
The obvious benefits of a hybrid cloud set-up, especially for SMBs, are enhanced capability and scalability, flexibility and cost efficiency. There are also other practical, real-world advantages such as having the capacity to deploy your service to market without delay or being constrained by your on-site IT resources. Multiple cloud services also improve reliability – a crucial quality in today’s digital economy.
What data goes where?
Where you deploy your data depends on several factors, principally your organisation's needs – requirements that can change over time. There are also other considerations like your data’s security and confidentiality, which you’re entrusting to a third party if stored on a public cloud. You may also choose – or be legally required – to keep some sensitive data on-site, in which case the public cloud is not an option. Traditionally, sensitive data like legal, health and financial information, and sometimes proprietary information and valuable intellectual property, has been held on-site, while customer-facing data, email and backups live on public cloud space.
This is changing as public cloud space becomes more prevalent. In fact, a PwC information security surveyfound that by 2018 half of all IT services globally will be delivered by cloud service providers. This means you need to be vigilant about any data in a public cloud environment, and work with your provider so they know how you want your data managed.
Doing the hybrid cloud right
Want to do the hybrid cloud right? Tick these boxes to ensure your hybrid cloud set-up works seamlessly and is secure. Look to:
- Get your data and applications integrated across all platforms.
- Decide which data lives where – on-premises or off-site.
- Ensure you have visibility of all your data.
- Manage the security of all your data, particularly access and threat protection.
- Stay on top of configuration management across all your environments.
- Keep all your deployments compliant with local regulations.
As you can see, deciding which data lives where is only part of the challenge of a hybrid cloud set-up. You need to be across a range of other aspects, including security, configuration and compliance.