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Hybrid cloud: The new normal for small and midsize businesses?

May 06, 2016

Small and midsize businesses (SMBs) are getting more sophisticated in how they deploy and manage cloud infrastructures and applications and they’re seeking the same benefits larger companies have seen from hybrid cloud offerings.

Cloud services provider RightScale surveyed 1,060 technical professionals – including 433 enterprise and 627 SMB respondents – across a wide range of industries and found that adoption of private clouds is rising sharply, especially among SMBs. As a result, more companies than ever are running a “hybrid cloud” IT infrastructure, which combines private and public cloud computing platforms, such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.

RightScale found that private cloud adoption increased from 63% to 77%, driving hybrid cloud adoption up from 58% to 71% percent year-over-year. RightScale defines “private cloud” as cloud computing services performed by on-premise hardware, software, and network resources.

RightScale 1

While cloud adoption rates are high across all company sizes and industries, some concerns remain. Respondents indicated that the biggest barrier to cloud computing in 2016 is a lack of cloud management resources and expertise, followed closely by security and regulatory compliance concerns.

RightScale 2

Three questions to ask before deploying a hybrid cloud
A hybrid cloud infrastructure can provide SMBs with greater flexibility for managing workloads and costs. For example, if a retail business experiences a major surge in orders during the holiday season, it can offload the additional transactional workload to the public cloud.

If you’re a small business that’s mulling the prospect of a hybrid cloud infrastructure, there are several factors to take into account. Here are three important question to ask before getting started:

1. What kinds of workloads are we running?
Take some time to assess your business’s computing requirements and start to think about which workloads are right for a private cloud and which are a good fit for the public cloud. For example, this is a good time to consider any regulatory requirements. Many federal and state regulations require that a second copy of some records be stored offsite, at a separate location from the original source. In that way, cloud backup is a great fit for compliance. At the same time, there might be applications and data you are more comfortable managing on site.

2. What do we have available in terms of IT resources?
Most small businesses will find that they don’t have all of the in-house expertise required to implement and manage a hybrid cloud. That means you’ll need to find an IT solutions and service provider. Be sure to choose one that will act as a true partner and guide your through the process step by step. When talking to a public cloud provider, make sure to ask them key questions such as how your data is managed, how and when it’s encrypted, and how you can retrieve your data from the cloud if and when you need to.

3. How will we address security issues?
You will want to ask any private cloud provider how the on-site authentication and identity management protocols you're using will work in the hybrid cloud environment, according to SearchCloudComputing.com. When talking to a potential public cloud provider, make sure you understand security-related Service Level Agreements. Inquire about multi-tenancy and scalability and how your data is protected and encrypted as your cloud computing needs change.

Want more? Read more about changing attitudes towards cloud computing today.

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