Latency, in cloud computing terms, refers to the amount of time required for data to move from its origin to its destination across your network. It's dictated by factors including bandwidth - the volume of data your network connections have the capacity to manage over time - and the physical distance the data has to travel.
This could prove to be a crucial aspect in your performance and results as a business, particularly when it comes to delivering a high-quality user experience. Today's digital-savvy workers and service users are accustomed to high levels of speed and responsiveness in their applications, and you should be striving to meet these expectations.
Since distance is the main contributor to latency, one of your most important considerations should be the proximity between your on-premises data centers and public cloud environments. Another useful practice is to establish dedicated private links between your networks, so you're not relying on slow and potentially unreliable public connections to keep data flowing smoothly.
2. Availability and downtime
However you use hybrid cloud computing, you're unlikely to get the best outcomes for your business, your employees or your customers without high levels of service availability and low rates of downtime. Failing network connections will result in serious disruption when you need to access resources stored in the public cloud, which could be anything from essential data to business-critical applications.
Make sure you're as prepared as possible for downtime, so you can respond accordingly when lapses in service occur to minimize the impact on your performance. That could mean taking steps such as setting up redundancies to provide the functionality you need when your core hybrid cloud connections are temporarily unavailable.
It's also advisable to be proactive in maximizing availability and preventing outages from occurring in the first place. When negotiating with cloud vendors and evaluating service offerings, look into what assurances you can gain with regards to guaranteed uptime, as well as procedures to follow when you lose connection.
Cloud security standards are improving all the time, and it's becoming increasingly rare for businesses to assume that using on-site infrastructure to host their data and applications is the safer option. However, that doesn't mean you should become complacent and take security for granted.
It's important to be aware of how a heavy reliance on the cloud could increase your levels of risk. Complex hybrid and multi-cloud infrastructure can increase the attack surface, giving hackers and fraudsters more opportunities to gain unauthorized access to your systems and data. As your network becomes more widely distributed, it can be more challenging to manage and control.
Fortunately, there are various measures you can put in place to achieve and maintain high levels of security. One good practice is to store data in the same environment as the applications that are most reliant upon it, reducing the need for transfers between private and public cloud platforms.
It's also beneficial to explore the steps you can take to encrypt data in the cloud, both at rest and in transit. Effective encryption protects data from misuse and also has other benefits such as compliance with strict regulatory requirements around data privacy and protection.
There's a strong business case to be made for investment in your hybrid cloud connectivity, but it should be acknowledged that this could prove to be an expensive endeavor.
Provisions such as dedicated channels with major internet service providers, high-bandwidth connections and redundancies to deal with downtime are all highly valuable, but they can also come with a hefty price tag.
Make sure you do your research, educate your IT team and look into the various options available to reduce and optimize your hybrid cloud spend. That could include:
- Using dedicated dashboards and reporting tools to monitor your expenditure and use of the services you're paying for
- Collecting and analyzing data to evaluate how much value your hybrid cloud solutions are generating for the business
- Taking steps to ensure you don't get locked in to costly contracts with vendors that aren't meeting your needs
Actions like these will help to ensure the money you invest in hybrid cloud connectivity is delivering returns for the company, your workforce and your customers.
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