As opposed to operating in a strictly public or private cloud environment, hybrid cloud computing offers the best of both worlds. As the name suggests, it enables businesses to leverage a combination of totally private environments and public cloud services with a large degree of integration between them.
But while the concept itself may seem straightforward, once you dive beneath the surface of the hybrid cloud, things quickly become more complicated. It’s natural to have a lot of questions about how a hybrid cloud environment works exactly, and how it might impact your organization moving forward. That’s why we wanted to put together some clear answers to your cloudy questions. (Excuse the pun.)
What Is the Difference Between the Private & Public Cloud?
Hybrid cloud options combine private and public cloud infrastructures. So, as a foundation, it’s important to first understand these two environments.
A private cloud consists of computing resources used exclusively by one business or organization. The private cloud can be physically located at your organization’s on-site datacenter, or it can be hosted by a third-party service provider. But in a private cloud, the services and infrastructure are always maintained on a private network and the hardware and software are dedicated solely to your organization. In this way, a private cloud can make it easier for an organization to customize its resources to meet specific IT requirements and compliance obligations. Private clouds are often used by government agencies, financial institutions, any other mid- to large-size organizations with business-critical operations seeking enhanced control over their environments.
Public clouds are the most common way of deploying cloud computing. The cloud resources (like servers and storage) are owned and operated by a third-party cloud service provider and delivered over the Internet. Microsoft Azure® and Amazon Web Services (AWS) are examples of public clouds. With a public cloud, all hardware, software, and other supporting infrastructure is owned and managed by the cloud provider. In a public cloud, you share the same hardware, storage, and network devices with other organizations or cloud “tenants.” You access services and manage your account using a web browser. Public cloud deployments are frequently used to provide web-based email, online office applications, storage, and testing and development environments.
Often called “the best of both worlds,” hybrid clouds combine on-premises infrastructure, or private clouds, with public clouds so organizations can reap the advantages of both. In a hybrid cloud, data and applications can move between private and public clouds for greater flexibility and more deployment options. You can use the public cloud for high-volume, lower-security needs such as web-based email, and the private cloud (or other on-premises infrastructure) for sensitive, business-critical operations like financial reporting. In a hybrid cloud, “cloud bursting” is also an option. This is when an application or resource runs in the private cloud until there is a spike in demand (such as seasonal event like online shopping or tax filing), at which point the organization can “burst through” to the public cloud to tap into additional computing resources.
Related article: Common Misconceptions About the Hybrid Cloud.
When to Use the Private vs. the Public Cloud
Because the hybrid cloud gives companies the flexibility of moving some applications (and their associated data) from a public cloud to a private one and back again, it’s important to know which business apps are appropriate for which environment.
Ultimately, it all comes down to a matter of security. Anything that works with information that doesn’t necessarily pose a privacy risk is more than suitable for a public cloud environment. In fact, most businesses have been using this type of infrastructure in that way for years. An app focused heavily on proprietary information or which requires an additional layer of security between an organization and the outside world, however, may be more suited for your private cloud infrastructure.
This requires your company to know what type of data they’re dealing with and where it is located in order to make an informed decision on a case-by-case basis.
Get more information here: Steps to Identify Critical Data for Your Business.
What is Hybrid Management?
As the name suggests, hybrid cloud management (also sometimes referred to as hybrid IT management) is the process of placing individual workloads in the best possible environments for a particular application or to reach a certain goal. Workloads that are suitable for a cloud-based infrastructure are executed there, while workloads that need to stay in a private cloud are allocated accordingly.
Sometimes, legacy apps need to remain on-premises – or at least in a private cloud environment. Other times, the true costs of running those apps in the cloud mean that it’s actually less expensive to run them on-premises. Regardless of the reason, hybrid management allows you to develop the right strategy to take full advantage of the cloud, keeping your business productive, efficient and moving forward.
Hybrid Cloud Security
With the private cloud, the entire environment is built with your specific business requirements in mind. All providers, including AWS, Google, and Microsoft, offer state-of-the-art cybersecurity features, like at-rest and in-transit data encryption, multi-factor user authentication, and the deployment of sophisticated firewalls to secure your data in either a public or private cloud deployment.
Regardless of which type of environment you choose, it’s still necessary to be proactive about data protection and security on YOUR end. Your organization needs to develop a deep understanding of the risk profile and identify vulnerabilities it faces in order to institute and practice the proper protections and mitigation strategies in a timely manner.
Compliance Concerns and More
Depending on the type of industry you work in, there may be some compliance concerns when using private, public, or hybrid cloud options. HIPAA, for example, has very strict requirements governing data security. These dictate:
- Where information can be stored,
- Who has access to that information,
- How that information can be shared, and more.
Not all cloud service providers (CSP) or public cloud solutions enable regulatory compliance. Rest assured; Life Sciences-centric CSP’s like OET, offer private and public cloud options which are HIPAA compliant, and solutions to achieve and maintain validated software and quality systems. When specified, OET will design, build, and manage the cloud infrastructure to help customers meet their compliance obligations across the spectrum of regulated industries.
Related article: The Power of the Custom Cloud Solutions.
Outer Edge Technology: Your Hybrid Cloud Partner
When you’re talking about something as malleable as cloud computing, it’s important to remember that there really is no “one size fits all” approach to building the perfect infrastructure to support your business. Done correctly, the hybrid cloud can be tailored to leverage the best that the cloud has to offer in terms of cost, performance, security and compliance.
For over a decade, the team at Outer Edge Technology has been working closely with organizations – like yours – to build exactly what they need – from the ground up. We take the time to get to know your company, putting our experts in the best possible position to provide managed IT services to propel your business forward. In addition to our own private data centers, we support on-premise, AWS® and Microsoft Azure® environments among others.
Please contact us today at 844-OET-EDGE or fill out the “contact” form below if you have any questions regarding managed regulated infrastructures or any other IT related topics or services.