Many business owners know about the cloud. They may have moved their data storage and even apps into the cloud, going to a software-as-a-service model instead of installing applications on each individual computer in the company. While some companies work more efficiently by using public clouds, others still prefer private clouds made up of on-site servers.
Both private and public clouds have their pros and cons, but some business owners don’t realize there’s a third option: the hybrid cloud. A hybrid cloud can combine some of the best features of the public and private cloud options, and it could be the perfect solution for your cloud needs. What is a hybrid cloud? Let’s look at what this model provides and why you should consider it.
What Is Hybrid Cloud Computing?
A hybrid cloud makes use of both public cloud servers and private, on-site servers. The business then uses whichever option is right for their needs at that time. You can share your information between these two clouds as needed. This means data can be stored in the public cloud so team members or customers around the world can access it. However, private customer data can be saved to your private cloud, allowing you to have more control over how it’s protected.
The original plan behind the hybrid cloud model was that some of the company’s applications and data would be moved to a public cloud hosted off-site by a cloud provider. Once cloud migration was done, the company would be able to integrate various cloud resources and tools to monitor their data and manage it as needed. These tools created a single infrastructure despite the fact that some data and applications were stored on-site and some in the public cloud.
What Do You Need to Create a Hybrid Cloud?
Creating a hybrid cloud model is fairly simple. You simply need to have an on-site cloud, partner with a public cloud provider such as Microsoft, Google, or Amazon, and have a strong internet connection that links the two. For new businesses, the cost of creating a private cloud may be the biggest roadblock. However, if you have an on-site cloud already in place, moving to a hybrid model is actually very easy and affordable.
The Benefits of the Hybrid Cloud
There are a number of benefits to using a hybrid cloud model. Because you’re not locked into a public cloud or a private cloud, you have more flexibility. You can move resources and projects back and forth as needed or add new SaaS applications. If you often need to adopt new technology, that can easily be done in the public cloud, but it’s not always something you can quickly do in your private cloud.
You can also quickly scale up your public cloud computing whenever you need it for a very affordable price. Scaling a private cloud, on the other hand, means purchasing all of the hardware yourself. If you know you won’t need that extra capability long-term, that may not be an expense you want to make.
Security and Compliance
Hybrid cloud security is another great benefit. Your sensitive data is fully protected in your private cloud by your own firewalls and other security measures. You have full control over who accesses what in your private cloud. On the other hand, the public cloud can be used to easily share less-sensitive data and applications.
For those in industries that have very strict privacy regulations, such as healthcare or finance, this model is invaluable. You can implement those security regulations on your private cloud and use it to store data that must be kept private. You may find it easier to be compliant since you can control your on-site servers.
Because public clouds are more flexible, they’re ideal for workloads that regularly change. Private clouds, on the other hand, can be the better option if you have a steady workload that rarely fluctuates. With a hybrid cloud, you’re able to divide workloads as needed, allowing you to keep those that rarely fluctuate on your private cloud while taking advantage of the flexibility of the public cloud for more volatile tasks.
While you are paying for an on-site cloud as well as a public cloud, there are still some cost-saving options here. In a traditional private cloud, you have to pay for all the hardware and software. By bringing in a public cloud, you can make use of SaaS and other cost-effective solutions. You can take advantage of the cost-saving options offered by both public and private clouds, so in the end, you may find that you do save significantly.
Data Security and the Hybrid Cloud
While you can store sensitive data in your private cloud, is there any area of a hybrid model that leaves your infrastructure more at risk? Fortunately, no. While you will need to implement data security measures that cover your private cloud and make certain your hosting provider is protecting your public cloud, there isn’t anything extra you need to do. You can likely use the same security and protections for your private cloud that you would use if you weren’t doing a hybrid model.
Another benefit to this split model is that you can easily back up less sensitive information to your public cloud. Now if a server goes down in your private cloud, the information can still be accessed and easily restored. You will want to look at secure backups for sensitive information, of course, but the amount of data you have to back up using these methods won’t be as much.
The Multi-Cloud Model
In addition to private, public, and hybrid clouds, another option is the multi-cloud model. While it’s similar to a hybrid cloud, there are a few differences. A traditional hybrid cloud utilized your own private servers and the cloud services offered by one provider. However, a multi-cloud makes use of public servers hosted by different providers. There’s no need for a private server in this model. That makes a multi-cloud model similar to a hybrid model in that you do have access to two different clouds, but the biggest difference is that you don’t have to have an on-site cloud. That’s not to say you can’t—there are hybrid multi-cloud models in which you operate an on-premises cloud in addition to utilizing cloud servers from two or more providers.
Should you consider a multi-cloud model? Most businesses don’t need to go this far, nor do most have the budget to cover multiple cloud providers plus a private cloud. However, there are benefits. With two public clouds, it’s possible to mirror your data so it’s always available. Even if one provider goes down, the other likely will still be available. If it’s vital that you have 100% uptime, creating a multi-cloud may be the right option.
Is the Hybrid Cloud Model the Right Solution for You?
Now that you have an idea of what a hybrid cloud model offers, you can evaluate your needs in relation to its benefits. A hybrid cloud may be the right solution if you need a highly flexible infrastructure. Having the benefits of both a private and a public cloud is very beneficial as far as data protection and costs go. You can quickly scale up and down using SaaS via the public cloud, which can save a great deal of money. On the other hand, you can lock down any data behind your private cloud’s security features, which can help protect sensitive information and guarantee compliance with HIPAA and other regulations.
Need Help Configuring a Hybrid Cloud?
Creating and configuring a hybrid cloud model may present some challenges, especially if your IT team has predominately worked with either public or private clouds. It’s a fairly new option, so implementing a hybrid cloud may not be something your team is comfortable with.
If that’s the case, you’ll want to partner with someone who understands how to create a hybrid cloud that is fully secure and takes advantage of everything public and private clouds offer. Bringing in an outside managed IT services expert can be ideal in this situation. Wooden Spoon IT has years of experience in this area. Our team can assist you in building your hybrid cloud, putting an IT plan in place, and creating a maintenance schedule.
Why Outsource Your IT?
Outsourcing your IT security services and other needs has a number of benefits. By working with Wooden Spoon, you have access to all of our knowledge and expertise. To get that same expertise, you might have to hire a dozen people, and that’s likely beyond your budget. Our team continues to grow our skills by keeping up with changes in the industry. We understand the latest in security, virus protection, network efficiency, and much more. Your in-house IT team doesn’t have to focus on keeping up with the IT industry as a whole, which means they can instead focus on keeping up with what affects you. They have more time to work on projects that only your employees can do, while we handle the basics of keeping your data safe and secure.
Want to learn more about hybrid cloud solutions or what Wooden Spoon can do for you? Contact us today at 707-523-2222.