Over the last few years, in particular, cloud computing has essentially become a ubiquitous part of our lives in many ways. Home computing users can employ the cloud for just about everything – from making sure that their music collection follows them to any device they happen to be using, to making sure that they can always access all of their connected “smart” devices even when they’re out of the house.
The same is true in the world of business, where a full 83% of all enterprise workloads are expected to exist totally within the cloud by as soon as 2020. The hybrid cloud has proven to be invaluable for many organizations, which is an environment that uses a mixture of an on-premises private cloud and third-party public cloud services.
Just about every company these days is already using some form of a hybrid cloud on the public side of this conversation. If they’re not actively utilizing something like Microsoft 365, they’re likely getting at least some of their mission-critical apps via software-as-a-service (SaaS) plans. Likewise, they may have outsourced payroll, cyber security or some other element of their business to a third party. To that end, it’s not too dissimilar to the idea of outsourcing people.
The point is, thanks to the nature of the hybrid cloud, a lot of people probably don’t even realize they’re using it even though they’ve come to depend on it every day. This, of course, means that they don’t fully understand it either.
At its core, the concept of the hybrid cloud is a straightforward one – but the technology built on top of that core is anything but. In fact, there are a few common misconceptions about the hybrid cloud that you would do well to clear up as soon as you can.
Misconception #1: The Hybrid Cloud “Just Works” – No Technical Knowledge Required
Maybe the biggest misconception about the hybrid cloud is also among the most dangerous – particularly when a business is still in those early stages of deployment.
A lot of people are under the impression that little to no technical knowledge is actually required to make the most of the hybrid cloud. They essentially think that all they have to do is “push a button and everything will work.” The hybrid cloud is simple – but it’s not that simple.
In reality, you still have to install the apps your people need to do their jobs on a daily basis. You still need to set firewalls to make sure that your business is protected from external threats. You still need to configure everything to not only work the way you need it, but to also make sure that the various pieces and parts work well with each other.
The fact that you can build a server is not necessarily indicative of your ability to leverage the hybrid cloud to your advantage. If you fail to do all of the above, all you’ve really done is devote a lot of time and attention to building a server that nobody can use. This simplistic idea that the cloud “just works” is really more related to public cloud offerings than anything, which are totally different animals in and of themselves.
Misconception #2: Everything is Integrated and You Don’t Have Anything To Worry About
One of the major benefits of making the move into the hybrid cloud for many organizations has to do with the superior level of flexibility it allows them to enjoy. You can always go to the cloud with your “heavy lifting” tasks like long-term data retention and storage, all while keeping other elements of your infrastructure out of the cloud that don’t expressly need to be there.
The challenge, however, is that you’re naturally dealing with data that is not only stored in multiple locations, but that is also under the watch of multiple vendors. All of those systems aren’t naturally integrated with one another.
Separately, those elements will be unable to rise up and become anything more than the sum of their parts. When properly integrated, however, they can finally act as the cohesive whole that your business needs. But if you don’t think carefully about data and system integration during your initial research stage for your upcoming hybrid cloud deployment, all you’re really doing is setting yourself up for short-term disaster.
Misconception #3: Authentication and Logging In with the Hybrid Cloud is a Nightmare
For as many different ways as people tend to assume the hybrid cloud is more simplistic than it really is, there are just as many ways that they think it’s more convoluted than it really is, too.
Case in point: authentication or logging in. There are a lot of business professionals out there – even seasoned ones – who believe that if you are using five different cloud services, you have to log into five different services depending on exactly what you’re trying to do at the moment.
Thankfully, that is false. There are a wide variety of single sign-on solutions that have already been built to address this. All you (or your employees) need to do is log in once and you can immediately be as productive as you need to be without worrying about it. You can go from your customer relationship management (CRM) tool to QuickBooks and back again, all with just a single login.
Misconception #4: I’m Paying Less Because I’m Using Multiple Resources
Finally, we arrive at a misconception about the hybrid cloud that most people don’t usually clear up until it’s far too late. Oftentimes people will think that they’re paying less money in the long run because they’re using multiple resources to accomplish tasks instead of a single, expensive solution. However, there is absolutely more to the idea behind “cost” than meets the eye.
Management, for example, is a major cost concern for many people. With a hybrid environment, you’re no longer managing just a single data center or even a single cloud. You’re essentially managing multiple environments – and mixtures of on-premises and public cloud environments – at the same time. The people, processes and solutions needed for effective management all have their own costs attached.
Data transfer is also a major cost that a lot of people don’t think about. There is typically a cost involved with moving data into the public side of your hybrid cloud. If you have a lot of data that you’re working with, these costs will add up.
Likewise, customization costs can also be significant – especially when you think about existing applications that you now need to work in your new hybrid environment.
Absolutely none of these things should be deal breakers when it comes to your decision to move into the hybrid cloud. You simply need to understand them and clear up these misconceptions BEFORE you make such a significant decision. Only then can you guarantee that you’re taking a step that your business needs, thus setting your entire organization up for a successful new era as a result.