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  • Writer's pictureFlagler Technologies

The Complexities of Hybrid Cloud Solutions

Updated: May 7




For years, businesses were reliant on on-site servers and data infrastructure. Cloud computing has revolutionized business computing by allowing companies to scale up at a fraction of the cost it would take for a full expansion of infrastructure. The advantages are numerous, and with contemporary data storage protocols, it is as safe as an onsite server — in many cases, safer. 


Advantages of Hybrid Cloud Systems 

From enhanced security to support to cost savings, hybrid cloud systems have multiple advantages. Here are some of the top reasons that our clients come to Flagler Tech for their hybrid cloud upgrades. 


Scaling

With a full in-house system, if your company wants to expand operations beyond its current capacity, you have to purchase additional hardware. This may even involve expanding the space where you rack and stack your servers. If you later need to reduce your computing capacity, you will likely have to keep the hardware or sell it on the secondary market, where you’ll incur a significant loss. 


Hybrid computing allows your business to expand and contract operations without the expense of buying (or selling) your hardware. Packages are tailored to your needs. 


Cost Effective

One of the reasons that companies maintain in-house servers is to give their IT department more control over security. However, it’s not usually necessary for non-sensitive operations to remain on in-house servers. Many companies reduce costs by moving non-sensitive parts of their business onto cloud-based servers. 


Security

Hybrid solutions use several IT security protocols to protect your data and communications. Data segmentation allows your most sensitive data to remain in-house and under the full control of your staff, while less sensitive information can be stored on the cloud. Additionally, companies that provide cloud services must adhere to regulatory requirements. 


Professional cloud storage companies ensure that their software is up to date and run routine security audits. Because these companies also invest in advanced security practices, high-end encryption, and sophisticated intrusion detection systems, cloud data is often more secure than data stored in-house. 


Data Backups

Data can be backed up off-site, which means that it is impervious to both natural and manmade threats. Whether the building is destroyed by fire or a bad actor encrypts the data to hold it for ransom, the cloud server has a backup located beyond the firewall. 


Hybrid Cloud Security Challenges

Businesses also need to be aware of the security challenges that hybrid cloud solutions present. Here are a few of the factors that your IT team needs to be aware of:


Complexity

When you combine public and private clouds, the overall complexity of the environment increases. Each system will have individual security tools and protocols. System updates will come at different intervals, etc. 


Compliance 

It’s easier to maintain compliance when you only have one system to focus on. With a hybrid system, you (and the hosting service) will need to ensure compliance on both platforms. 


Encryption

Any data that is moving from the private to the public server must be encrypted, which means that encryption keys in multiple environments must be maintained. 


Identity and Access Management (IAM)

Managing access to both cloud and onsite environments can be difficult, particularly since authorized parties expect a seamless interface regardless of where the information originates from. 


Network Security

Hybrid security systems sometimes require virtual private networks (VPNs) or designated connections to ensure the security of the network. 


Less Control

By outsourcing some of your data management to a public cloud service, your IT department gives up a portion of control over its security and functionality. That’s why it’s essential to partner with a reliable, professional, vetted provider. 


Hybrid Cloud Management Strategies

Most companies that are considering converting to a hybrid system are attempting to expand their existing capacity without undergoing the expensive process of growing or overhauling their in-house infrastructure. If you have an in-house system and would like to convert to a hybrid environment, here are some of the steps you should take:


Conduct a Needs Assessment 

Your IT department probably has an idea about which processes and applications should be moved to the cloud portion of your system immediately. However, they should be looking at a longer horizon. Determine the immediate needs of your business and the anticipated computing and data infrastructure over the next few years. 


Evaluate the Current Infrastructure 

Your hybrid system architects will need to integrate the cloud portion of your system with your in-house system. That means that they will need to determine which applications will need to be able to access both systems, which APIs will be effective, and whether or not the middleware they’re planning on using will meet your business’s security needs. 


Develop a Migration Strategy

Whether your company is moving to a hybrid or pure cloud system, your team needs to have a migration strategy. This will include an agenda for preparation, testing, backing up the existing data, monitoring, security testing, and training. 


Focus on Security Measures 

A new hybrid system may have undiscovered exploits. Your IT security team will want to institute ironclad security protocols and test the system for vulnerabilities. At the minimum, the system should have cloud encryption, powerful IAM protocols, and network security. In addition, your data backup should live on a separate server to reduce risk further. 


Developing an effective strategy for implementing, maintaining, and optimizing a hybrid system is not a simple undertaking. Your IT department probably does not have the resources or experience to do an effective job without relying on third-party expertise. Contact Flagler Tech to discuss moving to a hybrid system with one of our experienced engineers.


Successful Hybrid Cloud Implementations

Hybrid systems no longer represent new, “cutting edge” technology. They are battle-tested mainstays in the tech and information industry. Here are a few examples of companies and institutions that have benefited from hybrid systems: 


  • BlackLine – This is a finance company that leans heavily on the security of its systems. Because they have a 50% year-over-year growth, they found a need to expand their capacity. The company retained control over its IP and sensitive data while moving other data onto the cloud. 

  • Fujitsu – The Japanese communications company wanted to develop a new system to increase its service capacity without significantly expanding its in-house system. 

  • Northumberland County – The county government was coming under pressure from its resident base to offer more online services. This promised to strain their existing in-house systems. By adopting a cloud solution, they were able to improve services and save taxpayer money. 


If you believe that a cloud-based or hybrid system would benefit your business, contact Flagler Tech today!



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