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5 Innovative Benefits of Hybrid Cloud Hosting

Article Written by Autumn Salama - Senior Director of Cloud Services, Symmetry

Symmetry 

Hybrid cloud hosting is transitioning from a catch-all term for a multi-cloud approach to a set of strategic IT solutions. It allows businesses to link hardware-sensitive, high throughput workloads such as SAP hosting, economical development and testing environments, low-latency onsite hosting and other assets into a seamless whole. Here are just a few of the innovative benefits of hybrid cloud hosting.

1.     Hybrid cloud hosting allows companies to automate their IT.

New companies naturally take an ad hoc approach to onsite IT. They add hardware and software as needed, and tweak settings and upgrade controls gradually, as increasing production and compliance burdens demand. As companies grow, however, few thoroughly audit their existing infrastructure, or refine their approach to meet the needs of enterprise IT. With inadequate change control, human errors tend to multiply, damaging performance, stability, security and compliance efforts.

Successful cloud and hosting providers, on the other hand, use automation to keep infrastructure stable (and profitable). As 451 Research points out, automation prevents employees from making improper changes to DNS, firewalls and other systems, and enforces change management. Working with the right hybrid cloud hosting partner can bring better control to your cloud assets, but it can also improve management of onsite IT. By bringing cloud and onsite hosting under one set of controls, you'll have better oversight of both.

2.     Hybrid cloud hosting lets you harness the Internet of Things without reinventing the wheel.

The Internet of Things is rapidly growing across industries. The market for wearable devices like FitBit and the Apple Watch grew 223% in 2015, and according to Gartner, 1 in 5 vehicles will be part of the IoT by 2020.

Competition will be fierce, and the ability to get from concept to launch quickly will play a big part in determining the winners and losers. However, quick R&D and production aren't the only factors. IOT technology requires extensive cloud infrastructure for connectivity, data processing and storage, security and customer support. SMBs will need agile clouds with rapid scaling and good load balancing to cope with potentially unpredictable demand.

For many companies, hybrid cloud hosting will be key to success. Organizations that work with cloud partners to configure and implement off-the-shelf infrastructure will be able to bring products to market more quickly and deal with fewer growing pains than those that insist on building their own custom cloud solutions in-house.

3.     The hybrid cloud facilitates compliance with privacy laws.

We're currently in the middle of an international struggle over electronic privacy. While intelligence and law enforcements communities push for more power to sweep up civilian data, privacy advocates promote (often successfully) new laws to protect privacy. Privacy regulations span from transnational regulations like Europe's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), to state and local statutes like the California Online Privacy Protection Act COPPA.

The problem is, the structure of the Internet makes it very difficult to comply with data laws defined by geographical boundaries. For example, a company with a Midwestern clientele might not even know about COPPA, but if a Californian logged on and had their data collected without seeing a "Your California Privacy Rights" disclaimer, they'd be in violation of it. Incorrectly handling the data of foreign customers could easily put them in breach of international agreements like the EU-US Privacy Shield

One of the benefits of hybrid cloud hosting is that it allows companies to control data access and usage by location. For example, a multinational company might choose to encrypt and store data on European citizens in a cloud or onsite hosting in France, using data practices that comply to EU-wide and national privacy laws. The company could have standard practices to anonymize that data before it was used internationally - for example, as part of a company-wide customer research project.

As data laws shift, hybrid cloud hosting makes it relatively easy to adapt data practices to accommodate. Properly tagged data can be split into multiple clouds within different jurisdictions, and with different data controls to accommodate a new law, or the exit of a country from a regional governing body.

4.     Hybrid cloud hosting reduces the costs of compliance with security standards.

One of the benefits of hybrid cloud hosting is that you can easily put additional controls on one part of a network, while still treating it as part of the same network. This makes the hybrid cloud a natural match for tough security standards like PCI.

In PCI, data that's in scope is subject to stringent logical controls and all but required to be physically separated from other data. The better you are at minimizing the data in scope and separating it from other data, the easier, less expensive and safer your PCI compliance efforts will be. Other compliance laws like HIPAA may be less technically exacting, but the principle is the same: identify data in scope, separate it from other data and put strong controls on it.

Hybrid cloud hosting (combined with good security policies and monitoring) allows you to impose arbitrary levels of physical and logical control where it's important, while containing costs where it's not. You can house your PCI or HIPAA data in a caged server in a secure data center with strong network access controls, while using pretty much any hosting model you want for everything else, from hyperscale public cloud hosting to onsite silos. Not only does hybrid cloud hosting control compliance costs - it also allows you to impose strong controls that wouldn't be feasible without it.

5.     Hybrid cloud hosting fosters innovative uses of analytics.

Big data analytics have already changed the way businesses work. Companies can crunch the data from their entire distribution network and reconfigure it to cut costs and boost efficiency, or base production decisions on analysis of the worldwide market in a way that simply wasn't feasible even a few years ago. And even bigger breakthroughs are on the way.

But the technology always leads the way for applications. For example, companies can gather massive amounts of unstructured data from social media, news sites, government reports and other sources, but most companies don't have a good model of how to benefit from that data, or the language processing tools that would require.

Hybrid cloud hosting gives customers the freedom to experiment with new data analysis tools and techniques without undermining the ones they already rely on. For example, a company can take advantage of real-time analytics in an SAP HANA hosting environment, while experimenting with big data in a larger public cloud. They'd be able to maintain performance of core ERP processes, while having the freedom to scale up their unstructured cloud to develop, test and fine-tune new methods of analyzing data.

The benefits of hybrid cloud hosting will help determine the leaders of tomorrow.

The cloud has changed the meaning of IT infrastructure. While onsite hosting provides a fixed set of resources, the hybrid cloud provides almost unlimited flexibility to support both core processes and innovation. Companies need to partner with managed services providers who understand both IT and business, and can use cloud technology to support strategic goals.

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About the Author

Autumn Salama is the Senior Director of Cloud Services at Symmetry where she is responsible for maintaining Symmetry's portfolio of hosted and cloud solutions for SAP, HANA and other mission critical workloads. Autumn has been in the data center and cloud infrastructure business for over a decade managing teams responsible for everything from critical infrastructure operations, service delivery, technical support, marketing and product management. Autumn leverages her diverse experience to understand the unique requirements of Symmetry's customers and translate these needs into a suite of hosted products that offer flexibility, scalability and a superior customer experience.  

Published Wednesday, July 27, 2016 7:03 AM by David Marshall
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