Transitioning to the Hybrid Cloud

pillar hybrid cloud

Remote work is here to stay and begs the question of how enterprises will continue to thrive while meeting employees’ desire for long-term hybrid work opportunities. Many organizations saw productivity increase during the pandemic. While that cannot be attributed solely to the availability of remote work, it does say something about the value of supporting a distributed workforce through best-in-class technology and secure internet connections.

The pressures associated with the initial pandemic response that necessitated remote work has morphed into the pressure to offer permanent flexibility to the workforce. To maintain productivity momentum going forward, executives and IT leaders must cultivate a shared experience between employees in traditional office spaces and those remaining in all remote or hybrid workspaces. How can organizations accelerate business outcomes while still facilitating a consistent employee experience despite disparate work environments?

The pandemic forced hurried IT decisions to migrate applications to the cloud that complicated security and maintenance issues around VPN, data encryption, and compliance. Now, business and IT leaders must work to create long-term IT strategies that capitalize on the variety of hybrid cloud solutions available: on-premise, public cloud, and private cloud. For many businesses, taking a hybrid cloud approach is one way to ensure that data is secure, communication is collaborative, and business workflows are accessible but restricted by role. Organizations that can balance their business operations across a hybrid cloud solution will enjoy the benefits of a fully functional virtual office and employees that work together to optimize the customer experience.

Some core benefits of hybrid cloud that help shape businesses outcomes:

 

AGILITY & SCALABILITY: 48% of companies plan to move 50% of their apps to the cloud. (O’Reilly, 2021)

ORCHESTRATION & INTEROPERABILITY: 50% of organizations want to improve hybrid cloud interoperability. (MIT Technology Review, 2022)

CLOUD INFRASTRUCTURE: 83% of enterprises point to hybrid multicloud as the ideal operating model (Enterprise Cloud Index, 2022)

The pandemic highlighted the lack of appropriate network infrastructure at the enterprise level that could make it easy to support migrating data, workflows, applications between data centers, public cloud, and on-premise hardware. Many companies were caught flat-footed at the beginning of the pandemic, relying on legacy systems and outdated technologies; these needed to be replaced quickly to accommodate business operations for a remote workforce.

Is your business looking to launch or invest more infrastructure in hybrid cloud solutions? This comprehensive guide will provide you with thought leadership about hybrid considerations for your organization. It examines the different approaches to take to customize your cloud adoption strategy. TBC can help you architect a hybrid cloud transition and cloud infrastructure customized to your business needs.

Your Business May Be Using Cloud Technology, but Have You Optimized your Environment with Hybrid Cloud?

Hybrid cloud improves scalability, flexibility, and computing speed – but only if there is structure around each environment. The complexities of managing hybrid cloud are best left to a Managed Service Provider (MSP) that has experience in the design, implementation, security, and management of cloud environments. As a computing environment— hybrid cloud offers several benefits by allowing data and applications to be shared amongst various stakeholders. Without a carefully implemented, managed, and secured infrastructure, interactions between public cloud, private cloud, and on-premise infrastructure can be plagued with risk and inefficiencies.

Managed Hybrid Cloud solutions can help reduce capital expenditures and free up internal IT resources for other critical operations. Additionally, with its ability to improve organizational agility, hybrid cloud provides enhanced security, scalability, and resiliency.

           - 83% of businesses found multicloud to be the “ideal operating model”
           - 91% of respondents moved applications between infrastructures

The three biggest factors driving the hybrid cloud movement include: security, flexibility, and the ability to accommodate multiple cloud interoperability.

           - 79% of the respondents say they lack in-house IT skills necessary to meet business                   demands
           - 62% of respondents increased IT spend to improve their security posture

The hybrid cloud allows companies to improve performance, increase security, modernize applications, and enjoy cost savings. Hybrid cloud adoption expanded quickly during the pandemic, but organizations need to fortify their foundational cloud infrastructure to perform at scale and shore up any security oversights.

Key Cloud Trends for 2022

As cloud computing continues as the new normal for enterprise IT across industries—the cloud will remain one of the fastest-growing segments of IT expenditures. As a result, CIOs must develop a growth strategy that focuses on cloud expansion to meet enterprise goals.

Application modernization is a top hybrid cloud adoption factor. Why? Because the ability to shift applications between cloud environments based on demand and security requirements is essential to business functionality and the end-user experience.

Furthermore, organizations should tie the hybrid cloud operation model to a flexible cloud strategy and implementation plan. It makes sense to enlist the help of skilled cloud architects at an MSP to lend expertise to cloud implementation and delivery plans. Achieving cloud maturity is often difficult for small and medium-sized businesses to achieve alone due to the lack of comprehensive migration plans and insufficient in-house IT resources.

The Imperative for IT Modernization

Reliance on legacy infrastructure is a significant hindrance to IT modernization. The journey toward digital transformation and IT maturity is not possible until decision-makers address the restrictive nature of legacy infrastructure. The pandemic highlighted the inflexible and stagnant nature of legacy equipment and traditional processes as the world moved to remote and hybrid work environments.

IT is quickly becoming the main engine that keeps digitized businesses thriving and able to pivot with changing demands. IT leaders play an integral role in business operations, acting as central service facilitators to enable operational innovation.

The CIO must “reposition their role as orchestrating the enterprise technology capabilities rather than just leading the IT organization.”        - Gartner 2022

IT functions are under pressure to support leading-edge capabilities using tools such as data analytics, cybersecurity, automated processing, and integration with third-party systems. The most pragmatic way for organizations to do this is by connecting all users through a hybrid cloud platform optimized for on-premise, public, and private cloud solutions.

How the Pandemic Accelerated Hybrid Cloud

how the pandemic is accelerating hybrid cloud adoption

The necessary COVID-19 response magnified organizational inefficiencies and demonstrated that operational challenges need immediate solutions. Enter hybrid cloud adoption! Businesses that already had hybrid cloud infrastructure could facilitate remote work, scale more quickly to rapidly changing demands, and drive application and data accessibility from anywhere. However, businesses relying on legacy infrastructure had no option but to migrate technology hastily to accommodate remote operations.

“The last 18 months have taught us that if you’re not digital then you’ll just fall by the wayside.”     - Marquita Sidibe, Senior Systems Support Analyst, Liberty Mutual

Now, 56% of those rapid cloud adoption companies are mired in technical debt and understand that additional resources will be necessary to simplify the complexities of re-platforming in the cloud. Part of the technical debt includes cybersecurity vulnerabilities due to the rapid deployment of systems and networks to accommodate remote work.

The pandemic also accelerated the hybrid cloud’s essential role in enabling remote work, centralizing operations management, and supporting virtual collaboration. The surge in remote work expedited the reliance on teleconferencing, virtualization of applications, and the need for cybersecurity to be integrated into employee access outside the traditional perimeter.

Virtual work will not be going away. In fact, 47% of working professionals expect changes to be permanent; and many large corporations have continued to allow remote work for at least a portion of their workforce. Therefore, virtual collaboration and communication will continue to drive the need for cloud-based Unified Communications and Voice services.

 

How Hybrid Cloud Maximizes Business Efficiency

To take advantage of the interoperability between private and cloud platforms, organizations should look to hybrid cloud as a model that can maintain the reliability and scalability of the cloud and the compliance-based security of on-premise and private cloud solutions. Hybrid cloud can help companies maximize business efficiencies with OpEx cost structures based on use and demand.

The ease of seamlessly sharing workloads, data, and applications between hybrid cloud platforms has delivered higher productivity and resiliency to companies and allowed them to hit growth targets despite disruptions. The agility of the cloud allows for continuous improvement and lessens the risk of investing in physical infrastructure that cannot meet fluctuations in demand.

Hybrid cloud is expected to experience tremendous growth over the next five years. Over 83% of businesses have selected the hybrid cloud as the ideal IT operating model due to its security, flexibility, and ease of perimeter expansion.

Shifting IT infrastructure to a hybrid cloud model can improve business processes and respond to fluctuations in operational demands to benefit from:

      1. Improved data compliance and performance
      2. Increased employee productivity
      3. Cloud agility unfettered by legacy infrastructure
      4. Better customer experience
      5. Faster deployment capabilities
      6. Scalable technology
      7. Better network segmentation
      8. Structured change management
      9. Reduced time to market
      10. Enhanced governance
      11. Better visibility through centralized management dashboards
      12. Best fit for applications and workloads

Hybrid cloud has become mainstream, but businesses are often unable to maximize cloud benefits due to distrust in the security, a lack of in-house cloud architects, and the increase in malicious actors targeting failed deployments. Companies can use an MSP to bolster security, improve data analytics, and increase the success of new software rollouts.

What to Look for in Hybrid Cloud Providers

According to the State of Cloud Strategy Survey, 57% of corporations blame the IT talent shortage as the top obstacle to total cloud immersion. To fill that gap, MSPs can support corporations with comprehensive cloud management adoption tools and processes wrapped in a cybersecurity mesh to fortify core business operations.

Before engaging an MSP, organizations should consider how they can take full advantage of hybrid cloud offerings by:

UNDERSTANDING WORKLOADS: Determine which workloads, data, and applications need the flexibility of public cloud and what data needs the compliance-based security of on-premise infrastructure or private data centers.
ASSESSING PERFORMANCE: Are latency issues impacting performance? Could global access to your network and systems increase talent acquisition and retention?
DETERMINE CURRENT PUBLIC AND PRIVATE CLOUD INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENTS: Are you taking full advantage of hybrid cloud offerings? Which workloads, applications, data, and systems should you migrate, and to which environment?
ASSISTANCE WITH MIGRATION: Do you need cloud architects and IT experts to support your in-house teams to take full advantage of hybrid cloud offerings?
DEPLOYING A CYBERSECURITY MESH: Do you have all your systems and environments across the enterprise wrapped in a cybersecurity mesh?

Addressing the Shortage of IT Resources

hybrid cloud providers

Amid rapid cloud deployments and increased complexity, organizations struggle to find and retain IT talent who can help drive digital transformation and cloud optimization. The IT talent crunch can slow down cloud-based project performance and increase costs. Using an MSP to deliver highly technical skills is often the most cost-effective option for consistent IT deployment, security, and management.

Hybrid cloud skillsets are in high demand and essential for companies to achieve strategic cloud goals, but IT talent is hard to find and retain. Managed service providers have found that many organizations possess hybrid cloud ambitions beyond their current IT capabilities. Salesforce’s Global Digital Skills Index found that 76% of workers feel they do not have the necessary skills to address digital-first work.

Organizations need to align digital changes with long-term strategic planning to stabilize the frenzied deployment of cloud services but often lack the IT bandwidth to do so. To reach technical maturity, many organizations rely on an MSP's support to address the IT talent shortage.

How TBC Can be Your Hybrid Cloud Guide

Enterprises that are looking to migrate more business operations and workloads to the cloud may need the support of managed service providers skilled in cloud deployments. MSPs can improve application delivery, interoperability between clouds and promote the seamless integration of multiple cloud and on-premise environments.

When partnering with TBConsulting, you gain access to cloud deployment experts specializing in cybersecurity, application and workflow management, cloud monitoring, and data backup and recovery. These are all critical IT solutions to enable organizations to invest in the right technologies to excel and thrive.

Appropriate investment in IT solutions requires a thorough assessment of your current environment, security vulnerabilities, tools, processes, and technological capabilities. TBC can conduct a Security Posture Assessment on your environment to determine the best approach to take full advantage of hybrid cloud solutions. In addition, TBC will work alongside your in-house business and IT teams to optimize your people, processes, and technology to ensure successful business outcomes.

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