Hybrid cloud services are a mixture of private cloud services and public cloud services and can be an excellent solution for enterprises. With that in mind, here is a quick guide to what you need to know about hybrid cloud services.
A hybrid cloud must have at least one private cloud and at least one public cloud. Even at the enterprise level, there is generally only one private cloud. It is, however, not that unusual for enterprises to use multiple public clouds.
The main driver for this is often the additional protection it offers in disaster-recovery situations. Some businesses also benefit from extra flexibility. For example, some vendors are known for being particularly good at certain services but not so good at others. In these cases, enterprises can leverage those vendors’ strengths and avoid their weaknesses.
In practical terms, the disadvantages of hybrid clouds don’t relate to the hybrid cloud services themselves. They relate to the practicalities of setting up and running a hybrid cloud. Here are the main downsides you should consider.
Whether or not the upfront cost of implementing a private cloud is a drawback largely depends on your situation.
If you would have implemented a private cloud anyway, then it’s a non-issue. In fact, using a hybrid cloud instead of a fully private cloud would probably lower your costs.
If, by contrast, you have the option of only using public clouds, then implementing a hybrid cloud will generate a capital expense you could have avoided.
Hybrid clouds are inherently more complex than either private clouds or public clouds. If you’re running a hybrid cloud that uses multiple private clouds (i.e. a multicloud), then it becomes even more complicated. That means it’s going to require more management.
Essentially the same comments apply to the security of hybrid clouds. In principle, a hybrid cloud should be as secure as a fully-private cloud. With that said, in principle, so should any public cloud.
In practice, most cybersecurity essentially amounts to making sure that there are no cracks an attacker could leverage. The more complex a system is, the harder it is to keep track of every part of it (especially for moving parts). This means that more complex systems are inherently more challenging to secure than simpler ones.
If you can handle the complexity of implementing and running a hybrid cloud, you can leverage the benefit of hybrid cloud services. Here are some of the main benefits.
For many businesses, this is the single biggest driver behind the use of hybrid clouds. On the one hand, enterprises have a lot of data. Even if only a small percentage of that is sensitive, they’re still desirable targets for cyberattackers. That means they’re under constant scrutiny from regulators.
Putting that data into a private cloud keeps it internal to the business. It may not actually be any more secure than it would be in a private cloud. There is, however, likely to be a perception of greater security amongst stakeholders.
This can become a competitive advantage, particularly for businesses that sell to either other businesses or entities linked to the government in some way. These types of buyers could face serious consequences themselves if a supplier had a data-security issue. Even in the business-to-consumer sector, buyers are becoming increasingly conscious of data security.
Most enterprises have to archive a lot of data. In the real world, this data is hardly ever going to be accessed. It just needs to be kept for legal reasons.
If this data is stored in a public cloud, then it will generate ongoing costs. These are likely to be very low (since businesses will presumably use the slowest form of storage available). Even so, they could well be higher than storing the same data in a private cloud.
At a high level, public clouds offer maximum scalability. Private clouds offer maximum customizability. Enterprises often need both. This in itself can justify the use of a hybrid cloud. There is, however, another factor that is becoming increasingly relevant to companies of all sizes and particularly to enterprises.
This is the issue of a business’ potential exposure if a supplier experiences a disruption (or goes completely out of business). No business wants to find itself scrambling to deal with the unexpected loss of a vital supplier. This is particularly true for enterprises since, by definition, they are working on a large scale.
If you have a private cloud in place already, you can simply move operations to that. Even if you have to scale it up, you will simply be expanding what is already there rather than starting from scratch.
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