Most businesses today use cloud computing to some degree. With a rise in telecommuting, virtual workspaces and global collaboration, it just makes more sense to store and access software and data over the Internet rather than on a computer hard drive. The decision typically isn’t about whether or not to use the cloud, but which type: public or private. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. But with the emergence of the hybrid cloud, businesses may no longer have to make trade-offs between public and private clouds. Now, they may be able to have their cloud cake and eat it too.

Understanding Hybrid Clouds
As their name implies, a hybrid cloud combines the features of both public and private clouds. A hybrid cloud uses a public cloud provider—think Google Drive, Apple iCloud, Dropbox or Microsoft Office 365—with a private cloud platform that is designed for use by a single organization. The public and private cloud infrastructures operate independently of each other, but are able to communicate over an encrypted connection.

Before we delve into the advantages of the hybrid cloud, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of public and private clouds as they pertain to business operations.

Public Clouds: Affordable but Easily Accessible
Public cloud providers operate via subscription-based services for hardware and software, storage and networking. Companies used to have to buy their own hardware equipment and software licenses. Now, with a public cloud, companies only pay for what they use—a much more budget-friendly approach. There is a downside, though. Security is becoming increasingly problematic with breaches involving company financials, research and customer data.

Private Clouds: Exclusive but Expensive
Private clouds work in the same way as public clouds, but they are meant exclusively for one company and have firewall protection from the rest of the Internet. While these on-site solutions enable better security, they are very expensive to develop and maintain, particularly as operations expand.

Hybrid Clouds: Best of Both
Hybrid clouds combine the best features of both: the security of a private cloud and the pay-as-you-grow approach of a public cloud. This marriage offers several advantages, including:

  • Enhanced Security: By keeping your data out of the public cloud, companies can add extra security to business processes.
  • Lower Costs: Applications can seamlessly work between different environments to reduce operational costs.
  • Scalability: Hybrid clouds provide the ability to quickly and easily scale up and down as business needs dictate.
  • Flexibility: With hybrid clouds, businesses can decide to manage some resources in-house and others externally.

Adoption of Hybrid Clouds
While hybrid clouds are still emerging as a business tool, they seem to be gaining ground. In a recent article, Forbes reported that hybrid clouds are seen by many business and IT professionals as the “best path forward between too much dependence on outside providers with unknown security risks, and on-site data centers with their associated costs and maintenance requirements.” The article highlighted a recent survey that revealed that executives expect to see most of their applications and services running in hybrid clouds within three years.

Should you adopt hybrid cloud technology? We can help you evaluate the benefits to your organization. As a full-service technology company, The Brookfield Group specializes in custom cloud computing and securing company networks and data. Contact The Brookfield Group for more information or a free consultation.

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