Unless you’ve been living under a rock, there’s a good chance that you’ve come across a term that has dominated I.T. talk in recent years, “the cloud”.
Regardless of your knowledge level, and even without realising it, there’s a good chance that you already have some sort of cloud application amongst your business IT environment. Recent research published by the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) revealed that an eye-opening 88% of all UK businesses operate at least one cloud service.
With cloud computing beginning to play a more prominent role in many businesses’ IT roadmaps, another buzzword is becoming the focus of everyone’s attention: hybrid cloud.
In the following post, we’ll demystify “the cloud”, explain exactly what hybrid entails and reveal just how it could boost the future performance of your business.
So, lets start with the basics…
What is cloud computing?
There are several different ways to explain what cloud computing is, ranging from the basic to the complex. In this instance, we’ll try and keep things simple. Cloud computing is fundamentally the delivery of I.T. services via a virtual environment over the internet. Rather than accessing your data or programs via physical hardware, you simply access them online.
Quite often, cloud computing is split into two camps: Public and Private.
What’s the difference between the Public Cloud and Private Cloud?
Whilst the solutions themselves are quite similar, the main difference is the way in which they are hosted.
With a public cloud solution, all your resources (servers, security and storage etc) will be owned, operated and managed for you by a third-party organisation (usually a specialist cloud service provider). The reason we refer to this as “public” is down to the fact that you share your servers and hardware with other businesses (often other customers of the providers). Due to the lower costs associated with this method, it is the most common way businesses deploy cloud computing.
Where a Private Cloud solution differs from public is that your cloud environment is dedicated purely to you and no other third-party may access these resources. All hardware and networks are used exclusively by your business. They can be either hosted on-premises via your own data centre or in a dedicated third-party site.
Private Cloud solutions are primarily for businesses that process delicate confidential data and deal within heavily-regulated markets.
Whilst there are multiple benefits of a private solution, traditionally, it is the more expensive option as you need to purchase, manage, maintain and upgrade your own systems.
How does Hybrid Cloud Work?
If you’re not from an I.T. background, the term might sound confusing, and even a little daunting. But rest assured, it really isn’t that complicated.
To put things in laymen’s terms, a hybrid approach is simply just a combination of the two (private and public). With a hybrid strategy, some of your systems are hosted via a private network on your own hardware (customer data, financial documents), whilst others (less-critical resources like online office applications) are hosted on a provider’s publicly shared platform.
How would it benefit my business?
Due to its flexibility, experts often refer to it as “the best of both worlds”.
Simply put, the biggest advantage of a hybrid approach is cost. Private cloud hosting is extremely beneficial, but it doesn’t come cheap. Having all your systems needlessly on a private network is a great way to waste money. A hybrid approach allows you to offset these costs by outsourcing other less-sensitive areas of your IT to the public cloud. Adopters can balance their need to be cost efficient with the security of keeping their most sensitive and critical workloads on private cloud.
Whilst private cloud provides you with peace of mind and security, incorporating a public element to your cloud strategy will also allow you to increase scalability. As you don’t own the hardware, your providers are able to increase or decrease storage needs at will, removing demand from your private cloud in the process.
The flexibility of a hybrid cloud solution will also allow you to explore a variety of different services and identify a bespoke cloud solution that best fits you.
Here at GAS, we have partnerships with some of the country’s leading specialist cloud providers. Our team can undertake a full audit of your current I.T. practices and identify what areas of your business are applicable to a private or public cloud function.
To find out more, simply get in touch on 0800 130 3514 or fill out our contact form and we’ll be in touch.
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