What is Hybrid Cloud and How it Benefits SMBs?

hybrid cloud

Unlike other countries which have been hesitant to embrace the cloud, Australian businesses have led the way when it comes to hybrid cloud technology. Yet it is still an advancement some organisations, especially small to mid-sized ones, are unsure about. Research from Gartner showed that hybrid cloud is still roughly two to five years away from gaining widespread acceptance and usage despite the fact the technology is proven and the benefits are real.

You could look at this in two different ways. The pessimistic view of the analysis is that the technology is still unpredictable and traditional methods continue to be the best method at the current time. An optimist would see now as an ideal time to embrace hybrid cloud since it will put you out in front of slower-moving competition. Let’s think of it another way. When smartphones first came out, there were certain individuals who felt as if this was simply the latest consumer technology fad.

And while those with smartphones were enjoying the benefits of having a camera and instant messaging, the naysayers were stuck with their old phones. Eventually they, like everyone else, upgraded to a smartphone having gained nothing by holding off on adapting the technology. The same will be true when it comes to utilising a hybrid cloud solution. At this point in time, the technology is both proven and affordable ensuring you aren’t taking a chance on something that won’t work.

Many business owners may have an idea of what hybrid cloud does but probably aren’t 100 percent sure of what the technology is or how it can help. With that in mind, we have compiled some of the specifics that should help you in determining if hybrid cloud is right for your organisation.

Understanding hybrid cloud

SMBs that have adopted hybrid cloud rave about its flexibility as it allows you to use both public and private clouds as well as on-site resources. This means you can place all non-mission critical data on a public cloud that provides a cost-effective alternative to on-site or private cloud storage. Meanwhile, all data or applications that are held to regulatory guidelines or contain confidential information can be stored privately. And since this technology is agile, it is easy to move public data to private storage or vice versa.

Making the transition

For some business owners, the real concern isn’t the performance of the technology, but how the transition from a fully on-premise solution to a hybrid cloud one will work. The biggest fear is that the migration process will lead to downtime, and they also worry about problems with the transfer process that could see critical files exposed for prolonged periods of time.

That’s why it is important to ensure your in-house IT team has both the experience and resources to complete such a move. If not, relying on a cloud service provider, such as the team here at Empower IT, might be the best bet to achieve a successful migration that eliminates disruptions or issues. A CSP can also manage your hybrid cloud once it has been set up allowing you to focus your time and energy on more pressing matters.

Reaping the benefits

You’re probably wondering just why small and mid-sized companies are starting to turn to the hybrid cloud. Well, like most things in the business world, it all starts with costs. Servers may be necessary for your business to function but they are also expensive. And it is not just the physical hardware you have to pay for. Servers have to be powered, cooled, monitored and maintained in order to operate properly.

When you start adding up all these costs, it’s not unusual to see Australian SMBs paying more than $1,000 a month on servers once you factor energy consumption and IT labour. By moving to a hybrid cloud, you can significantly reduce these expenses. And this is only one way it can help your business save money.

Certain industries see seasonal spikes that require greater IT resources than they currently have available. Seeing as it is almost time to lodge your tax returns, let’s use accountants and financial professionals as an example. Over the course of the next four months these businesses are likely to bring on more staff and handle more data than they do during the rest of the year.

Now with a traditional, on-premise solution, accountants either have to shill out big bucks for more servers and equipment they will only use between July and August every year or try to have a go with capabilities designed for lesser workloads. Neither answer is particularly palatable; and this is one area where a hybrid cloud can help. Since the technology is scalable and can be increased or decreased in a matter of hours, you only pay for what you use, when you use it. And to further highlight this aspect, you aren’t required to purchase space on a hybrid cloud on a per server basis. Instead, you can gain access to the space you need.

What seals the deal for most business owners when it comes to the hybrid cloud is the security advantages it has over a public cloud option. A hybrid cloud will allow you to keep specific data and applications to yourself either via existing on-premise IT infrastructure or using a private cloud. This ensures anything that is sensitive or legally mandated to be stored privately can be done so. Essentially, your organisation can enjoy the best of both worlds. The security you currently receive now is still available while other non-critical information and applications can be moved to the cloud in order to reduce costs.

The Director of Empower IT, Salim Sukari says, “While the hybrid cloud may not be right for every business, many organisations can in fact take advantage of this technology. Before starting any migration, however, it’s best to determine where your security obligations lay and ensure nothing is done to compromise those. After that, start assessing which applications and files can be moved to the cloud and create a comprehensive migration plan that covers everything from file transfers to employee training. The success of hybrid cloud implementation, or lack thereof, will depend upon how well you prepare for it.”

If you are unsure about what it takes to transition to a hybrid cloud solution or simply want to handover the process and management to an expert, talk to Empower IT today. We have handled cloud migration projects of all sizes and will help build a solution tailored for the needs of your organisation. Not only do we ensure your day-to-day operations are uninterrupted during the transition, but we can also take care of management for your cloud solution once it is up and running.