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The hybrid cloud has been widely adopted by businesses of all sizes and it is expected to continue to grow. According to a study conducted by MarketsandMarkets, a B2B research firm, the hybrid cloud market is expanding at a compound annual growth rate of 22.5%. There’s no doubt that the hybrid cloud can and is being used in lots of different ways. However, following some best practices can allow your business to get more out of the hybrid cloud. Let’s take a closer look at some of the best hybrid cloud practices that businesses are adopting today.
Focus on security
Security is rarely an exciting topic but in these days of increasing cloud adoption, high profile exploits and growing threats like ransomware security has been pushed squarely to the forefront of most business’s IT priorities. Increasing utilization of the hybrid cloud requires a strong focus on security as the cloud can be used to store sensitive information and it potentially provides near global access to that data.
One of the most important best practices for effective hybrid cloud security is the use of federated identity management like Azure AD or AWS Directory Service for Microsoft Active Directory. Federated identity enables you to integrate your on-premise AD and the cloud streamlining user access with single-sign-on capabilities. Utilizing multi-factor authentication can also help boost the security for your cloud resources – especially for connectivity from today’s devices like phones and tablets. Multi-factor authentication adds an extra layer of protection from a trusted device or biometric data on top of your username and password. Microsoft has an Azure solution called Multi-factor Authentication (MFA) service and Amazon has AWS Multi-Factor Authentication to enable you to implement multi-factor authentication for your cloud resources.
Another important security best practice is protecting your data that’s stored in the cloud. While many businesses don’t utilize encryption for their local data in the cloud it becomes far more important. Data in the cloud can be potentially accessed far easier than local data behind your firewalls and VLANs making data encryption in the cloud a necessity.
Ramp up development and testing efficiency
Using the cloud as a development resource is another best practice that many organizations have adopted. The hybrid cloud can be a huge time saver for developers and testers. Today’s development and testing processes often require spinning up and deleting VMs on a regular basis – sometimes many times a day. Taking advantage of the hybrid cloud for development and testing can free administrators from the need to continually allocate and deallocate VMs and other resources for developers. Developers can leverage the cloud’s self-service capabilities to provision their own VMs and other resources in the cloud without needing to involve IT.
Leveraging the hybrid cloud for help desk support is another important best practice employed by many organizations. Helpdesk personnel often need to replicate, test and then dispose of many different desktops, platforms and environments. The cloud can provide an efficient environment to store and reuse many different end-user images.
Leverage the cloud for on-premise backups
Many businesses have adopted the cloud for use as an offsite backup location for their on-premise data. Using the cloud as a backup target can solve two of the organization’s biggest storage issues. The first is dealing with the incredibly rapid growth rate of data. Many research firms have pointed out that data is growing at very rapid rate. For instance, IDC estimates that data is doubling every year. Dealing with that data not only requires continually adding more local storage for applications but it also means that additional storage will be required for backups. Leveraging the hybrid cloud for your backups enables you to take advantage of low-cost cloud storage as well as freeing high-performance local storage for your business-critical applications.
In addition, using the cloud for backups enables you to better meet the 3-2-1 rule of backup protection improving your ability to recover your critical data in the event of a failure or a malware or ransomware attack. The hybrid cloud provides an additional type of backup media as well as providing separate “air-gapped” offsite backup storage. Many restore operations fail due to media errors and the cloud provides an additional backup media type to restore from. Cloud backups can also be stored separately and accessed with different security credentials from your online applications. This separation provides an extra level of protection from malware and ransomware attacks.
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