Having access to a combination of private, on-site cloud infrastructure and off-premises, vendor-owned data centers gives you more scope to be flexible in how employees work and how you deliver services to your customers.
You might want to host certain data and business-critical applications on-premises, for example, but make other resources as widely available as possible via public cloud. This is a key benefit for many enterprises in the current era of remote working and geographically distributed teams.
Whenever and wherever your people work, they should be able to access the tools and information they need to do their jobs properly.
As customer demand fluctuates and your business priorities change, it's important to know that you can scale your IT resources up or down in line with your needs. Being able to utilize public cloud as well as your own private infrastructure makes it easier to increase and decrease capacity as required.
A hybrid cloud environment also gives you the opportunity to utilize cloud bursting - accessing external resources and services when your internal data centers are at peak capacity. If your sales team lands a big contract and you find yourself facing a sudden increase in workloads, for example, you can 'burst' the extra work into a public cloud environment. This ensures you have the computing power you need without having to pay for and implement additional on-site infrastructure.
3. Data privacy and compliance
It's never been more important for businesses to prioritize data privacy and security. You need to maintain certain standards to comply with regulations such as GDPR and CCPA, but you should also be focused on protecting your customers and giving them the best possible experience.
Hybrid cloud models can help you establish the highest levels of security around customer data and other vital assets by having complete control and choice over where they're stored. You have the option to keep certain resources on-site for maximum privacy, or alternatively, you can distribute data across multiple off-premises data centers to mitigate risks such as physical attack, fire or theft.
There's no escaping the fact that using a combination of private cloud and public cloud infrastructure can add an extra layer of complexity to your IT functions, since you have multiple environments to manage.
When you have several different workloads and processes running on a range of platforms, it can be difficult to maintain a good level of visibility across key tasks and priorities.
Furthermore, you need to be prepared for the respective challenges associated with private and public cloud, such as maintaining your own on-site hardware and ensuring you're getting good ROI from third-party services.
2. Connectivity challenges
Another key consideration when planning a hybrid cloud implementation is the quality of network connections between your private and public infrastructure.
Some of the most common challenges to be aware of include latency, service availability and downtime. These are crucial factors when it comes to the speed and efficiency with which you're able to work and the quality of experience you provide to end users.
Before fully committing to a hybrid cloud approach, do your research on potential connectivity barriers, solutions and what vendors can do to help you maintain high standards.
3. Broader costs
While hybrid cloud models enable you to leverage the benefits of both private and public data centers, it also means you have to account for the various costs associated with both approaches, which can be substantial.
Running on-site data centers comes with upfront costs such as purchasing and installing the necessary hardware and acquiring specialist IT skills to ensure it's running smoothly and securely. Public cloud providers, meanwhile, charge ongoing subscription fees that you have to keep up with to ensure your vital functions aren't disrupted.
Hybrid cloud computing can make a major difference to your business, but to see the biggest benefits it's essential to prepare carefully and to understand the commitments you're making.
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