Innovate September 2016

The Benefits Of The Hybrid Cloud For The Small And Midsize Business


Written By: Michael Remer

When a business adopts the cloud, that could mean it moved 100 percent of its data, software and systems onto remote servers that sit in a data center somewhere, or it could mean it moved certain aspects of the business to those servers — by no means does a business have to move everything to the cloud to adopt cloud technologies. And to be fair, if your servers are already connected to the internet, they are essentially already in the cloud, at least according to the Google definition for “cloud” in regards to computing, which is: “A network of remote servers hosted on the internet and used to store, manage and process data in place of local servers or personal computers.” The point is: The cloud, wherever it is, allows businesses to take a hands-off approach for managing IT resources. Enter the hybrid cloud.

The hybrid approach means adopting a combination of private clouds, such as servers physically located at your office or elsewhere that you have ultimate control over, and public clouds, servers operated and provided by third-party providers with the ultimate mission of reducing your IT costs. An example of a hybrid cloud deployment could include a scenario where a company’s email is hosted on Microsoft’s Exchange Online through Office 365 (public cloud) and that same company also has a server located in a data center that it owns, operates and manages.

Now, for the benefits:

Cost Control and Scalability
If your business experiences periods of higher computing use and server needs, you can make use of cloud computing for higher performance on a limited-subscription basis rather than investing heavily in hardware or software upgrades that would otherwise be unnecessary. In addition, after moving your systems to the cloud, you can almost always — and quite easily — increase your storage capacity, processing power, bandwidth and memory. This comes with the benefit of not having to invest in the hardware, schedule down time for upgrades or worry about compatibility concerns.

Adaptability and Disaster
Options simply mean greater flexibility. You can pair the right IT solution with the right technology. Bigger projects can be stored or run on more robust cloud computers, while smaller jobs can be worked and stored locally. You can choose which of your systems you can’t live without (even for a short period of time) and move those selectively to a cloud solution, while keeping systems that aren’t as necessary stored locally Moving key systems to any cloud could address backup and disaster recovery needs. Having your data and servers not physically stored on the premises could allow you to continue to function even if the building burns down or your business suffers any other loss or interruption.

Security and Accessibility
With the hybrid approach, businesses have the option for a much higher level of security for sensitive systems and data through private cloud offerings, while still utilizing public cloud offerings for less sensitive data. We find quite often that because of regulatory requirements, access to systems that do not necessarily have highly sensitive information is broken or hindered because of the higher requirements for the more secure systems that are housed on the same network. Here in North Central Florida, we recently experienced a fairly widespread internet outage. In instances where companies had their emails hosted in the cloud, for example, they were still able to send and receive email messages through their mobile devices — that would not be possible had the emails been hosted locally.

When a business embraces the cloud, it can do so selectively. Moving only systems that it would benefit from moving and choosing what type of control it wants or needs over the environment just makes sense, and many businesses have already done this — they just didn’t realize that the decision to embrace the hybrid cloud is cutting-edge!

Talk to your IT provider about what makes sense for you to move to the cloud, back from the cloud or to someone else’s cloud. It could address business continuity problems and mean savings and increased productivity for your company.

 

 

MICHAEL REMER is founder and president of ComputerCare LLC, an IT services company providing a full spectrum of IT solutions and services to small and medium businesses.

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