Auxilion’s recent national survey on IT & Governance, conducted with Censuswide, produced some revealing insights around cloud. 38% of respondents ranked cloud environments as a main priority for the years ahead. Nearly 45% of businesses surveyed are already using cloud technology, with another 26% planning to implement it by the end of 2022.
The most popular infrastructure among those surveyed was private cloud (47%), followed by hybrid cloud (23%) and public cloud (22%). It’s clear that progressing hybrid cloud environments into their next phase will be a priority for businesses across the IT sector.
Hybrid cloud environments operate across multiple computing systems, usually a combination of on-premise and remote setups. Hybrid cloud is the infrastructure that facilitates private and public cloud systems connecting and operating together. Hybrid cloud solutions can include different types of on-premise and remote cloud environments. The key aspect is the coherent and consistent systems and approach used to manage and secure infrastructure and workloads, regardless of where they are located or which type of cloud is used to host them.
Hybrid cloud provides organisations with much greater agility and flexibility, particularly in remote working situations, without sacrificing security or collaboration. Organisations can structure their hybrid cloud setup in a way that is suited to their specific requirements.
A Major Transition
A successful transition to hybrid cloud will bring a range of benefits, including greater efficiency and collaboration, improved security, governance, and compliance, and ultimately a more cost-effective IT environment. However, the process also has its challenges and requires a comprehensive strategy. The survey found that 30% of business leaders would describe their current hybrid cloud strategy as “not fit for purpose.”
Donal Sullivan, Auxilion’s CTO, comments that, “our survey suggests that many organisations are still struggling to transform how they work and drive innovation for the business.” Many organisations are still in the process of developing their cloud strategy. It’s important to ensure that the pieces are all in place before initiating a complex and critical process. As Donal notes, “if this is done effectively, the benefits that customers can enjoy include heightened productivity of employees, enhanced service delivery for customers and increased growth of the business.”
The scalability of hybrid cloud is a key benefit. It can facilitate and support business growth while maintaining management, security, and compliance standards. It also facilitates agility and innovation. Hybrid cloud can also improve an organisation’s resilience through its backup and restore capabilities, which are particularly important in hybrid working contexts. A clear strategy for hybrid cloud adoption, with the right selection of platforms and toolsets, will allow you to take full advantage of the benefits of cloud.
Benefits of Hybrid Cloud
The survey found that business leaders believe that improved end-user experience (27%), enhanced security and risk management (26%), and increased automation (25%) are the key benefits of hybrid cloud. In hybrid working environments, the flexibility and security provided by hybrid cloud are also increasingly important. While sensitive data can still be stored on-premise, essential applications and services can be made available on cloud, accessible from anywhere for credentialed users.
Hybrid cloud provides businesses with greater control over their data. Organisations can scale workloads in accordance with demand for IT services. Cloud also allows for more intuitive automation, so systems can respond in real-time to demand and optimise efficiency.
Hybrid cloud is also a cost-effective way for organisations to maintain security and control of their data while scaling operations in accordance with demand. If demand increases rapidly, organisations can pay for the cloud resources they need, for as long as they need them, without having to invest in permanent expansion to meet temporary need.
Effective hybrid cloud systems allow organisations to respond quickly to change and enable increased efficiency and innovation. This is thanks to their consistent and coherent approach to management and security, allowing the appropriate placement of data and workloads to be made in the knowledge that they can be managed and secured no matter their location. This kind of agility is essential in remaining competitive in a rapidly changing business landscape.
A hybrid cloud system provides a business with backup and disaster recovery in case of disruption, helping to avoid data loss and maintain continuity with minimal interruption. Hybrid cloud can replicate critical data in the cloud, so that if it’s lost on local servers, it will remain accessible. Hybrid cloud security also reduces the likelihood of critical data becoming exposed through methods such as encryption, automation, access control, and endpoint security. This security is particularly essential for hybrid working setups.
While there are many benefits to transitioning to the cloud, the process also involves certain challenges. According to the survey, the top challenges are a lack of knowledge and skills within internal teams (36%), meeting data compliance requirements around the cloud (31%), and a lack of visibility across all devices accessing the cloud (29%). 24% of respondents said that they find the cloud too complex, and the same percentage stated that they were unsure of how secure the cloud is. Dependence on legacy systems is also a common barrier for cloud adoption.
When using hybrid cloud, organisations must still maintain and invest in on-premise hardware to fulfil their private cloud computing requirements. This leads to higher overhead costs, although these may be offset by public cloud operations. However, this will depend on the individual business and its overall IT infrastructure.
While cloud may increase costs in some areas, the benefits in efficiency and flexibility, and the ability to manage and secure infrastructure, workloads and data in a consistent and coherent manner, will generally far outweigh these costs.
Visibility & Compliance
Computing environments operating across multiple cloud systems will naturally be more complex than a purely on-premise setup. It’s essential to maintain visibility over your entire cloud environment, including processes. If you don’t establish and follow clear procedures, you may struggle to maintain compliance standards. Clear procedures and consistent visibility across your cloud environment will also help you to take full advantage of the opportunities hybrid cloud presents.
A hybrid cloud system may also require you to work with multiple platforms and vendors. This also requires a clear system that everyone with control of the hybrid environment understands and maintains.
An Inevitable Process
The benefits of hybrid cloud make the transition inevitable for most organisations that haven’t already made it. With hybrid work rapidly growing, the collaborative potential of cloud makes it increasingly important. 79% of enterprise cloud adopters state that they have found three or more benefits from cloud. The transition to cloud means meeting standards around data security, governance and compliance, cost management, and general organisational change. It can be a complex process and requires a clear strategy.
While most applications that can easily be moved to the cloud already have been, two-thirds of applications remain on-premise because of these challenges. This means that most organisations are in a transitional, hybrid phase as they develop their cloud strategies. These hybrid systems can be difficult to navigate, as they are spread across old and new systems and platforms.
Developing a comprehensive cloud strategy now, with defined targets and processes, will help your organisation to take full advantage of its potential in the years to come.
You can download Auxilion's Governance & IT Insights 2022 report here.