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Scalability Beyond Borders: Global Expansion Strategies With Hybrid IT

Scalability Beyond Borders: Global Expansion Strategies With Hybrid IT

The internet has made global expansion a feasible goal for even the smallest microbusinesses. That said, managing scalability on a global scale can be a major challenge even for enterprises. Astute use of hybrid IT can, however, make the process easier. Here is a straightforward guide to what you need to know.

Understanding scalability in the context of global expansion

In general terms, scalability means the ability to adjust the level of a resource to suit the associated level of demand. In the context of global expansion, scalability plays a key role in enabling a business to maintain operational efficiency regardless of international borders.

Scalability also contributes to the adaptability businesses need to succeed in diverse markets, regulatory environments, and local cultures. This is particularly true in the early stages of global expansion while businesses are still finding the right path forward. It is, however, relevant to all businesses that operate internationally.

Hybrid IT: a catalyst for controlled scalability

The term “hybrid IT” refers to a form of IT that combines at least two different IT environments. In the early days of IT, this was usually on-premises infrastructure and a public cloud. Now, hybrid IT deployments can be created in many different ways. The basic concepts underpinning them, however, remain the same as they have always been.

Private infrastructure is used for confidentiality, customization, and cost-effectiveness when storing or processing large quantities of data. Public infrastructure is used for scalability, global reach, and cost-effectiveness when storing or processing small quantities of data.

Connectivity solutions for global hybrid IT deployments

The private and public elements of hybrid IT deployments need to be connected by robust and secure connectivity solutions. These should make the transition between environments transparent to end users. Currently, the two most popular solutions for global hybrid IT deployments are multiprotocol label switching and software-defined wide-area networking.

Multiprotocol label switching

MPLS is a routing technique that directs data packets along predetermined paths using labels. MPLS networks use private and dedicated connections between different locations. This means that MPLS inherently provides a secure environment.

MPLS networks offer a high level of reliability, are generally low-latency, and support QoS controls. This makes them highly suitable for mission-critical applications and ensuring consistent connectivity across borders.

Software-defined wide-area networking

SD-WAN decouples the control and data planes. This facilitates dynamic and centralized control over the network infrastructure. It enhances connectivity by optimizing the use of multiple available links, including MPLS, broadband, and cellular networks.

With features like application-aware routing and Quality of Service (QoS) controls, SD-WAN enables organizations to adapt to changing network conditions. In particular, it allows them to prioritize critical applications, ensuring optimal performance across diverse geographical locations.

Data management and compliance in a hybrid IT environment

Successfully implementing hybrid IT therefore requires businesses to establish robust data governance policies. This is particularly true when businesses are engaged in a process of global expansion as they will have multiple governments and regulators to satisfy.

A robust data governance framework will cover the following 10 key points.

Data ownership and accountability: Clarify roles and responsibilities for data ownership within the organization, ensuring accountability for the integrity and security of data.

Data mapping: Establish what data is held where in your systems. Identify what data belongs to the business itself and what data belongs to other legal entities or people. This includes the business’ own employees (and any contractors it hires directly).

Data classification and sensitivity: Implement a robust data classification system based on the sensitivity and criticality of information.

Jurisdictional and regulatory analysis: Make sure you fully understand what legal and regulatory authorities have oversight of what data and what they require of you.

Access controls and permissions: Establish clear access control mechanisms, defining who has access to what data and under what circumstances.

Data quality standards: Define data quality standards to ensure the accuracy, completeness, and reliability of information across the organization. Implement regular data quality assessments and corrective measures to maintain high standards and integrity.

Data retention and deletion policies: Develop policies outlining the retention periods for different types of data based on regulatory requirements and business needs. Establish procedures for secure data deletion or archival, reducing the risk of retaining unnecessary or outdated information.

Regular policy audits and updates: Conduct periodic audits of data governance policies to ensure relevance and effectiveness.

Training and communication: Develop training programs to educate employees on data governance policies, including the importance of compliance and security. Establish clear communication channels for employees to seek guidance and report potential data governance concerns.

Compliance monitoring and reporting: Implement continuous monitoring mechanisms to track adherence to data governance policies. Develop reporting systems to provide insights into compliance levels, allowing for timely adjustments and improvements.

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