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The changes wrought in business by the impact of the pandemic make business agility and flexibility the leading necessities in your digital transformation process. Cloud computing continues to drive incredible transformation by offering the required flexibility to adapt to rapidly changing business conditions.

If they were not already headed that way, many companies are now finding it necessary to accelerate their migration to multicloud platforms because of the novel coronavirus.

In fact, IDC says that by 2022, more than 90 percent of enterprises worldwide will rely on a mix of on-premises or dedicated private clouds, multiple public clouds and legacy platforms to meet their infrastructure needs.

At the same time, companies have many datacenter assets that they can’t move to the cloud. Some applications can’t be easily migrated. Other data may be subject to regulatory requirements that prevent that data from residing in public clouds. According to Gartner data, 80 percent of active virtual machine workloads still run on private infrastructure.

As a result, companies often pursue a hybrid cloud architecture, where some data and applications reside in companies’ own datacenters and some data and apps reside in public clouds.

The hybrid cloud has already been developed as one of the leading infrastructure for prompting a digital transformation. COVID-19 has simply shifted that transformation into overdrive. The pandemic has exposed vulnerabilities in business technology and processes that have laid dormant for too long.

Hybrid cloud is an IT structure that is a mix of private and public clouds, and sometimes on-premises data systems. It serves a variety of functions, including computing, storage and services. Though its definition is flexible, its backbone is this: the ability to adapt and expand quickly as a business evolves or in current times, as it changes entirely.

Scalability

The scalability of public cloud services has come to the fore amid the COVID-19 pandemic as more organizations operate with a remote workforce while facing a surge in demand for digital services.

The crisis has been a lesson in staying ahead of the curve when it comes to cloud deployment. Having the option to ramp up capacity has been the difference in being able to run your business or not.

According to 451 Research, the most popular reason for using multiple infrastructure environments is to improve performance and scalability. While enterprises are not necessarily moving workloads between cloud providers on a regular basis, they do like the safety net of being able to do so, while also selecting specific services from different providers in order to maximize performance.

Cost

The second most popular reason is for optimizing costs. Adopting a hybrid cloud environment can unlock new opportunities for cost savings almost immediately. With a hybrid strategy, you get the best of both worlds. You're still getting the scalability, the agility and the flexibility of the cloud, but also the control of your own environment.

It may mean that you don’t have to pay for a single solution that you don't expressly need and you get to enjoy benefits like fixed, predictable costs as well. For this reason alone, it's easy to see why so many businesses are headed in the direction of a hybrid cloud model.

There are other cost advantages a hybrid cloud can provide, such as operations and maintenance savings. With fewer on-premises servers, your energy consumption and energy bills will be lower.

Less on-premises management can also lead to cost savings in terms of employee time, allowing those hours to be spent on tasks that generate more revenue.

Data management

However, developing an optimal hybrid cloud strategy is not as easy as one might think. It requires a massive commitment from your entire organization and many factors must be taken into consideration, including data management.

In short, as data is increasingly spread across on-premises infrastructure and multiple cloud environments, it will become increasingly difficult for enterprises to understand what data they have and where it resides.

If enterprises don’t know what data they have or where to find it, they cannot use it to affect business outcomes – not to mention the potential for increased risk to the business from ungoverned and unsecured data.

This is an extremely hot topic and a contributing factor as to why cloud-based providers offer multiple geographical locations. Depending on where the business is located in the world, there are differing laws and complexities around what data can be stored in-region and out-of-region.

The recent introduction of GDPR has focused attention on data privacy requirements, and the risks enterprises face if they are unable to demonstrate compliance, while enterprises also need to be aware of legal requirements to store data in specific geographic locations.

Similarly, the application infrastructure should be located as close as possible to the application consumers. This is good practice because it helps the application performance for the end user.

Security

There is a common saying that security is compromised within the public clouds; this is relatively true, as data is not kept in a private space across private systems.

In the public cloud, everything is accessed via the internet. In a hybrid cloud, there is much more flexibility within the architecture, along with a higher level of security than the public cloud systems.

Protecting valuable data is always a challenge, but this is especially true of public clouds. While cloud providers go to great lengths to ensure that customer data is protected, the fact remains that public clouds are fundamentally much more open environments than a private network.

This makes them more vulnerable to cyberattacks and various forms of data leakage. For organizations that can’t afford to take risks with customer data or with their own proprietary data and assets, a public cloud simply presents too many risks.

With a hybrid cloud model, however, companies can leverage the security of a private cloud with the power and services of a public cloud. While data stored in a private environment will likely still have to be transmitted to the public cloud for analytics, applications and other processes, extensive encryption methods can be implemented to ensure this data remains as secure as possible.

You can keep sensitive data on-premises on a dedicated infrastructure. This gives you more control and can increase your network security with a direct connection instead of a public connection. Having a more varied cloud environment helps you avoid vendor lock-in, so it’s easier to migrate to another provider if and when you need to.

For this very reason, the multiple benefits offered by a hybrid cloud help fit into all the possibilities, making it an excellent resource for businesses and large organizations alike.

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