This post previously appeared on InformationAge.
Security currently ranks as the number one factor holding businesses back from getting the most out of their hybrid cloud strategies, so how can we fix that?
The number of new Internet users grew by 8% in 2015 – an increase of over a quarter billion people. Moving assets to the cloud, with its reduced costs, greater flexibility and improved scalability, has become an imperative for organisations looking to accommodate the influx of global customers – and their devices – coming into contact with their company.
Moving to the cloud is inevitable for enterprises if they want to remain competitive in the market. Along with the aforementioned benefits, cloud migration also opens up more opportunities for businesses to improve the experience for their customers and provide better performance, better global availability and reachability and fewer latencies for retail, finance and other digitally-dependent sectors.
As dependency on the Internet continues to grow, adoption of cloud services will, inevitably, become the norm for more and more companies – particularly the hybrid approach which incorporates both private and public cloud services.
IDC research suggests that by the end of 2016, over 65% of IT enterprises will have adopted a hybrid cloud configuration. This isn’t hard to imagine when you consider that almost nine out of 10 IT decision makers believe hybrid cloud capabilities are critical for their digital business transformation.
Hybrid offers the best of both worlds, giving organisations the option to scale resources for specific workloads, optimise spend and choose between public or private clouds depending on the enterprise requirements.
In the private cloud, an organisation’s data is tightly secured and managed on servers that no other company has access to, making it the ideal environment to house more sensitive data. In addition to this stronger level of security, the private cloud can often offer enhanced and more predictable service availability for users.
This means that if your company has a performance-intensive application to run, it is better suited to running in the private cloud. However, such offerings come at a cost.
In contrast, public cloud works out as a more economical solution which can be used to offset costs on large scale data sets. Additionally, public cloud systems are ideal for an organisation to temporarily add data capacity at peak times or for ad-hoc projects as well as hosting basic apps such as email.
The public cloud offers organisations a more scalable solution to meet demands for greater flexibility, particularly when the ability to work from anywhere has become so important for organisations and employees alike.
But there are concerns over public cloud, namely the perceived loss of control, decreased performance and security questions. Without the right tools, organisations truly do not have visibility or control in the public cloud and can leave themselves open to malicious threats.
A recent PwC report found that cybercrime had risen 20% last year, and this, they argued, was largely down to increasing take up of cloud-based storage, and the rise of IoT devices.
Security challenges are not just a barrier to those looking to embrace the cloud. Security is also a concern for those companies who already have a hybrid architecture in place.
A report from the Harvard Business Review last year found that some enterprises companies have up to and beyond 500 different cloud services operating, and the risk of security breakdowns, route hijacks or other attacks only increases as more resources are added to a company’s global IT assets and infrastructure.
The need for better insight into the route data to and from the cloud infrastructure has never been more crucial. With real-time insights into data in transit, companies can be alerted quickly and take corrective action – rerouting traffic, for example – as efficiently as possible if a route hijack or outright network or cloud outage occurs.
With this analytical information, companies can optimise the way they manage, monitor and control their hybrid cloud infrastructure, addressing concerns over poor performance as well as security. Getting the move to a hybrid cloud integration right will be crucial if companies are going to achieve the competitive advantage the hybrid cloud affords.
The ability to decrease costs, increase revenues and mitigate risks are the advantages all companies look for and smart, well-tailored hybrid cloud configurations are a winning strategy for businesses and their customers.
Confidence in the cloud is key to widespread enterprise adoption. It starts with insight into cloud performance and the ability to access control mechanisms that help identify and mitigate security risks.