In recent years, as the cloud has become a more viable option for the storage, sharing and running of applications and data, organizations have had to choose between legacy systems and these kinds of virtual deployments.

Which one is better suited for certain kinds of data? How do you maintain compliance? Both are questions that IT admins face as they make the move to cloud infrastructure, and sometimes the answers can be elusive.

What is a Hybrid IT Strategy?

Hybrid IT strategies offer a way for companies to leverage the benefits of different kinds of computing in order to create the best infrastructure possible. In fact, organizations can benefit in several ways by implementing these hybrid strategies.

Smaller companies have come to benefit from entrusting their data and applications to the cloud. Because these virtual environments don’t take up physical space and require little or no capital expenditure to get started, it’s easy to see why small businesses with limited budget and space would choose to deploy cloud infrastructure for their many technology needs. The scalability and flexibility of the cloud allow these kinds of companies to compete on a global scale and collaborate effectively.

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However, there are other distinct reasons small businesses can benefit from the cloud. It’s not all about the CAPEX or OPEX – although these are both crucial aspects. In particular, certain advantages lie in undertaking a hybrid strategy that combines the best characteristics of on-premise infrastructure, private cloud and public cloud.

Here are some of the best business benefits of deploying hybrid infrastructure and utilizing the multi-cloud capabilities of your private cloud provider:

6 Reasons Your Business Need a Hybrid IT Strategy

1. Choose which apps you want to run in the cloud

The most obvious business benefit of migrating to the cloud is that you get to choose which applications you move to virtual infrastructure and which you want to stay on-premises. According to Pete Johnson from InfoWorld, it’s important to pick the right cloud for your app, and there are even tools that will help you do so. Hybrid strategies that incorporate multiple clouds allow administrators to choose which platform to deploy certain apps or store some kinds of data. This allows you to have total control of your IT infrastructure, which can help improve performance in the long run.

Having a multi-cloud strategy will allow you to choose where your apps live.

2. You’re in charge of your own security

Traditionally, organizations have been wary of storing sensitive data in the cloud. The idea of a “public” infrastructure that was shared between many companies can seem a little daunting. Therefore, it has been the mode of operation for some organizations to keep important information in the private cloud and other, less sensitive data in the public cloud.

However, the idea of “public vs. private” cloud when it comes to security is not necessarily the best way to determine how safe your data is. It’s really more about how your network is managed – what security tools you bring to the table when you deploy your environments. According to TechCrunch contributor Tom Gillis, 2016 is going to be an exciting year for cloud security. Advances in encryption technologies and more focus on data protection are going to generate even more cloud adoption – leading to more business benefits. With hybrid IT infrastructure, you get to choose what your security strategy looks like and how it operates.

3. Leverage advantages of your entire infrastructure

It’s beneficial to utilize every piece of technology within your IT strategy, including both public and private cloud deployments. In an interview with TechRadar, Sarah Lahav, CEO of software firm SysAid Technologies, noted that one of the biggest advantages of the hybrid cloud, in particular, is peace of mind. It’s a flexible option that allows you to unlock the full potential of your network.

By combining cloud infrastructure – including both public and private clouds – with on-premises systems, companies stand to best optimize their IT strategies. Organizations across the board stand to gain by utilizing their technologies to their fullest potential.

4. Disaster recovery

One of the best uses of the cloud is in disaster recovery and business continuity. An effective DR strategy includes a way for employees to access important company documents in times of need, as well as a plan for getting operations up and running again after a disaster. These kinds of plans are facilitated by hybrid environments, where some applications are in on-premises infrastructure but are backed up in the cloud for use when those original assets have been compromised.

“It can be an attractive alternative for companies that may be strapped for IT resources, because the usage-based cost of cloud services is well-suited for DR where the secondary infrastructure is parked and idling most of the time,” wrote TechTarget contributor Jacob Gsoedl. “Having DR sites in the cloud reduces the need for data center space, IT infrastructure and IT resources, which leads to significant cost reductions, enabling smaller companies to deploy disaster recovery options that were previously only found in larger enterprises.”

So a combination of in-house infrastructure and cloud-based services is the best way to make sure data and applications can be accessed following a major disaster, like a tornado or a fire. As unlikely as these events may seem, it’s especially important for small businesses to have a plan – just in case.

The cloud can provide a great option for disaster recovery.
The cloud can provide a great option for disaster recovery.

5. Sustain growth

Cloud deployments will grow alongside the company, which leads to several important benefits. Gone are the days when businesses would have to shell out money to purchase hardware that would be obsolete in two years’ time or sooner. The cloud’s inherent flexibility allows companies to invest in what they need for the time being, and then add to those services when necessary, which promotes growth. In addition, mobile employees are more productive and collaborative, bringing more opportunities for the company to remain competitive.

According to Entrepreneur contributor Andre Lavoie, this added flexibility and mobility can also lead to reductions in OPEX. Lavoie’s example is that if small businesses choose to employ bring-your-own-device policies, they can take advantage of employees’ own smartphones or tablets. This negates the need for the business itself to purchase these devices.

“The cloud’s inherent flexibility allows companies to invest in what they need for the time being.”

6. Retrieval fees are a thing of the past

When small businesses are just starting out, it may be easy to simply choose a hyperscale cloud provider – large public cloud companies like Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure – because the fees to store data are often inexpensive. However, when it comes time to retrieve that data and store it in another environment or use it for something, the retrieval fees can be extremely cost-prohibitive, creating unwanted vendor lock-in. In fact, a 2015 survey conducted by Sungard Availability Services found that 74 percent of organizations spent upward of $30,000 in monthly maintenance fees in addition to the initial investment.

With a multi-cloud strategy, however, it’s simple to put data and applications in these public environments and then access them via a private cloud. In this way, organizations don’t have to pay those exorbitant fees but can still access their data. This will help save money in the long run and give small businesses a chance to strengthen their IT strategies without compromising or being locked in to any one vendor.

With these three additional benefits of cloud computing on a hybrid scale, small organizations are positioned to save money, maintain business continuity and enhance growth opportunities. In other words, investing in a multi-cloud strategy is good news for small business.

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