Hybrid clouds: For companies that finally want it all

Choosing the right cloud solution is crucial to the digital future of any business. Well thought-out decisions can make existential challenges easier to deal with in the long term. Hybrid clouds are a powerful and smart solution to IT problems. 

Three quarters of German firms are currently using, rolling out or planning to introduce cloud services. Most already have in-house software systems, sometimes in the form of private clouds. With arrangements of this kind, aspects such as software and databases are centrally managed, while users within the business no longer need to worry about things like security, storage or updates. Only the company has access to data.

However, such clouds must not be allowed to stand in the way of growth, restructuring and reorientation. A forward-looking IT policy will therefore always embrace interfaces with public clouds, so that the benefits of both systems can be exploited quickly and without compatibility problems when needed. And that is exactly what a hybrid cloud offers: the opportunity to have your cake and eat it.

Complete data security with greater flexibility

If you ask entrepreneurs why they outsource all they can except their IT, two answers predominate: independence from external service providers (“vendor lock-in”) and data security. These are real problems, but they are relative: solvable, circumventable or (frequently!) insignificant compared to the massive benefits of hybrid clouds.

In general, public clouds relieve companies of avoidable investment, technical problems, the balancing act between surplus capacity and bottlenecks, and unnecessary commitment of material and personnel resources. Greater standardisation simplifies and accelerates processes. This is highly efficient in particular where sophisticated tools (reporting) would have to be run and maintained internally for small target groups (board of directors).

Private clouds, on the other hand, are suitable for sensitive data that should or must be kept within the company on competitive grounds or in the interests of privacy. A hybrid cloud satisfies these different demands without increasing IT outlay. And the best news: 75% of end users find their IT environment less complex after the introduction of a hybrid solution. This was announced during Oracle OpenWorld by Mike Brown, head of the Technology Services division at Deloitte.

Cloud integration as a controllable challenge

With a good vendor, the issue of managing two clouds at once can also be handled well. This is especially true when the software solutions run in both environments. Hybrid cloud integration can even be a welcome opportunity to eliminate legacy systems. As a result, the interfaces between private and external clouds are of great interest. Two-way support between them can be so important that it significantly determines the choice of vendor, for example when the external cloud provides additional computing or storage capacity as needed.

When it comes to the question of what data is actually allowed to leave the company premises, a lawyer versed in data protection legislation can resolve this with a provider before contractual agreements are signed. The legal situation has been very volatile on this point since the “Safe Harbour” ruling, and compliance should therefore be watertight.

The best of both worlds

A hybrid cloud can combine security and cost-effectiveness. It can also develop dynamically with the business. Things are easiest for those who have their cloud solutions entirely developed or implemented by a single provider from the start. With skilful integration, however, the increased speed and options of a hybrid solution can often still be achieved even in situations that require some hard thinking from the IT specialists.