Should Your Business Use Hybrid IT?
Featured blog post by guest author Zachary Amos.
A dedicated information technology (IT) infrastructure is essentially the backbone of any organization, regardless of the industry it serves. From multinational corporations to small businesses (SMBs), IT will always play a significant role in a company’s operations.
Now, modern cloud-based services, as its name suggests, allow companies to store and access data in the cloud with a third-party provider. Some businesses are opting for a hybrid IT approach, but what does that entail?
Below is more about hybrid IT, its pros and cons, and considerations for determining whether this IT approach is right for your business.
What Is Hybrid IT?
Hybrid IT is when an organization manages some IT resources in-house while also leveraging cloud-based services for others.
Because technology has advanced so rapidly, many businesses are leveraging cloud-based services to avoid buying their own digital infrastructure. Statista estimates that more than 60% of corporate data is stored in the cloud. Cloud services range from full applications to virtual desktops and everything in between.
Traditionally, organizations would utilize IT resources through data centers located on the premises. Recently, many organizations adopted a hybrid IT approach and decided to outsource data storage and management tasks to large data companies like Microsoft, IBM, Equinox, and Amazon. Much of this is due to the major shift to remote work amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Why Do Companies Use Hybrid IT?
A hybrid IT approach is an attractive option for companies looking to take advantage of cloud services without completely outsourcing their IT. Here are some reasons why a company may wish to adopt hybrid IT:
- To meet new technical needs
- To improve security or strategic redundancy
- To access data more quickly or frequently
- To continue using offline services or other processes that cannot move off-site
Many companies will use a combination of the reasons listed above to justify the shift to hybrid IT.
Some organizations will adopt this approach temporarily while they plan a major transition to the cloud. In contrast, others will use it to create a long-term blended IT environment.
Pros and Cons of Hybrid IT
Compared to traditional or cloud-only IT approaches, hybrid IT offers unique pros and cons for an organization. Below are some of the major advantages and disadvantages of using a hybrid IT approach.
A major advantage of hybrid IT is the level of flexibility it gives an organization. Depending on the solution, an IT department can mix cloud and traditional IT infrastructure to achieve better results.
Hybrid IT also allows companies to maintain security and privacy standards based on the sensitivity of the data they’re working with. Some data can be easily accessed, while other data may require specific authorization. Another pro of hybrid IT is that it can lead to potential cost savings. It can lower costs associated with in-house data center management.
Hybrid IT solutions can enable companies to determine which workloads or tasks are better suited to the cloud or in-house IT infrastructure. Lastly, as mentioned above, a hybrid IT approach can help companies easily manage the transition from traditional IT to cloud-only IT.
Customers of hybrid IT models are responsible for access controls, backups, configuration management, updates, and managing information security. Organizations limited in resources may feel burdened by the extra work a hybrid IT model requires.
Suppose a company still relies on legacy IT systems. In that case, even a well-managed hybrid IT solution cannot overcome software delivery performance issues.
One final con of hybrid IT is that managing it can be complex. Depending on an IT department’s knowledge level and expertise, a company may find it challenging to manage a hybrid IT model effectively.
The three main hybrid IT solutions are software-as-a-service (SaaS), infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), and platform-as-a-service (PaaS). Depending on the business’s unique IT needs and existing infrastructure, they can be adopted individually or combined.
Situations Where a Hybrid IT Approach Works Best
It may be confusing for businesses or IT departments new to the hybrid IT world to understand when it’s best to use these types of IT solutions. Below are some use cases where hybrid IT solutions would prove beneficial.
Many businesses are looking to modernize their IT infrastructure and digitize their operations. However, it may be challenging if they use legacy systems or rely on in-house data centers. Hybrid IT can be leveraged to move some of their infrastructure to the cloud but still hang on to their on-premises applications.
Hybrid IT solutions are especially useful for companies that have highly variable workloads.
Most modern businesses assign unique workloads to each department or each employee. With a hybrid IT model, IT professionals can determine which workloads are best suited for the cloud and which can remain on-site.
Experimentation With Cloud Services
Imagine that a small business is experiencing new growth. Employees may feel more comfortable using legacy systems for accounting or financial reporting purposes. However, marketers want to leverage cloud services to help with their specific tasks.
Hybrid IT can help support this type of situation. IT teams can experiment with cloud-based services without going cloud-only. They can get a taste of what hybrid IT offers without committing to a complete IT overhaul.
Consider Hybrid IT for Your Business
It’s expected that the global hybrid IT market will grow in the coming years. Businesses leveraging this IT approach may find that it better suits their unique IT needs.
Hybrid IT solutions give companies the best of both worlds. Adopting them is certainly something business leaders, executives, and IT professionals should consider for their organization.
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