Terry Storrar, Managing Director at Leaseweb UK discusses hybrid cloud, and how it could be a viable solution for organisations chasing flexible, efficient business processes
This year has been a year that has truly shown us that we can never be too certain of what the future holds. That said, businesses have always faced navigating peaks and troughs, highs and lows, famine and feast. One common denominator between all of these obstacles and pathways is the need for businesses to adapt in order to take them in their stride. Organisations must face up to changes both planned and unplanned, in order to maximise or minimise the impact that these opportunities or threats pose.
As national lockdowns took hold this year, remote working was an operation largely forced upon companies. This only further proves that, even in ‘normal’ times, agility is absolutely key, let alone during a crisis. It is vital for businesses to construct a plan that allows them to successfully adapt to change.
Utilising hybrid cloud models can ensure businesses offer the best user experience for both today and tomorrow. Indeed, its future effectiveness has already been cited by Forbes, which identified it as one of the top 10 digital transformation trends for 2021. With the correct architecture and design, organisations should be able to achieve optimised user experience without overriding all efforts up to now, or spending time and resources on infrastructure they may never use.
A large number of businesses are already reaping the benefits of hybrid cloud, but for those still ‘umming and ahhing’ about making it the basis for IT infrastructure, here are a few of its more noteworthy advantages.
Stretching up and out easily and efficiently
It may be challenging for startups or small businesses to optimally scale their IT infrastructure due to its traditionally hefty cost. But hybrid cloud environments allow organisations to scale in order to accommodate specific workloads. As a result, they are able to implement automation rules in the cloud that ensure the ability to scale resources up and down, as dictated by business demand. Being able to have this choice has proven extremely valuable throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly with workforces continually switching between office- and home-working. Having this level of adaptability ensures an optimised environment that performs efficiently to take advantage of unlimited resources based on demand-driven usage.
Stay up with no downtime
At the onset of the pandemic, it soon became clear that, in the interest of succeeding and making a profit, businesses had to ensure they continue running as usual, at all times. This meant making data continually accessible, even during times of peak demand – which has more to it than simply backing up and replacing content on a cloud platform.
This is one reason why a hybrid cloud solution is frequently considered the key component in business continuity solutions. Hybrid clouds ensure critical data is replicated to a cloud in a different location, thus providing data insurance in the event of any natural or technological disaster.
Landing in new markets in record time
The desire to easily expand into new regions is one principal reason for an organisation to choose to move to the cloud – and hybrid cloud platforms provide the agility needed to quickly enter new markets at an affordable cost.
As on-demand self-service greatly reduces the cost of investment, companies of varying sizes are able to get a jump on global initiatives. Cloud resources can be automated and spun up swiftly to grow when needed without wasting any unnecessary resources. Thanks to the reductions in time and low costs of entry provided by hybrid cloud solutions, companies of all sizes can increase their competitive advantages.
Security has been front-of-mind for many businesses due to the pandemic, the resulting lockdowns, and dispersed workforces. Although security fears are decreasing as cloud usage grows, threats to security this year (exemplified in a shocking number of ransomware attacks – a total of 199.7 million ransomware attacks reported in the third quarter of 2020) must mean that taking the correct security measures remains a top priority and an ongoing challenge for any organisation to manage properly.
Integrating a private cloud solution within a hybrid cloud model ensures greater control over the design and architecture of the system, while providing a more optimal level of data security in comparison to public cloud solutions.
A competitive advantage
Hybrid cloud solutions offer far more opportunities than any other type of infrastructure when it comes to innovative technologies; they provide the benefit of customer satisfaction due to more customised infrastructure. And in light of the pandemic and the accelerated digital transformation it provoked, there are very few companies yet to adopt some type of cloud solution: indeed, according to Centrify, 51% of UK business leaders say their shift to a cloud computing-based business model has saved their company from collapse during the pandemic.
Turning to the crystal ball
It’s obvious that cloud adoption shows no signs of slowing: it is truer now than ever before that organisations that don’t at least begin to take small steps towards investing in it will undoubtedly be left behind. Having said that, it is still important to remember that technology should work for a business, not against it.
Hybrid cloud infrastructure’s flexibility and scalability do exactly this: it provides businesses with the capability to readjust to change dynamically and alongside changing environments and circumstances.
With 2021 – and the final stages of the Brexit negotiations – around the corner, another time of change and adaptation is on the horizon. For many organisations looking for flexible, efficient business processes, hybrid cloud may just be what they need.