It wasn’t that long ago that many in the industry predicted that organizations would be moving their entire computing infrastructure to the cloud, and on-premises data centers would soon be history. That’s because the benefits of migrating your IT environment to the cloud are apparent. At the top of the list are greater IT flexibility, increased business efficiency, and opportunities to gain competitive advantages.
And the numbers speak for themselves, with Gartner predicting that spending on public cloud services alone will exceed $480 billion this year. But spending on data centers is growing fast, too, with a projected 13.8 percent CAGR between 2022 and 2032. That’s one indicator that illustrates how companies are also adopting their own private clouds.
A recent Forbes article reinforces this shift, noting that a hybrid cloud approach blurs the distinction between public and private clouds. Public clouds offer scale, cutting-edge tools, and innovative platforms for development. Private clouds allow your organization to retain complete control over sensitive data—whether for security, privacy, or other reasons—rather than rely entirely on third-party cloud vendors. And there are many tools available today that make it easy to host your on-premises data center in a cloud-like platform.
While a hybrid-cloud approach offers flexibility and balance, it can also be incredibly complex to manage. And putting the proper security, backup, and disaster recovery solutions in place in these environments is another serious challenge. Data breaches and data loss loom large over hybrid cloud environments unless proper steps are taken to prevent them. Here’s what you should know.
1. Security: A Shared Responsibility
Cloud security is often misunderstood. Far too many people assume that the cloud is secure by its very nature. Not true! When you transition to the cloud, you need to understand that cloud security is a shared responsibility between you and the cloud service provider. These providers—Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and AWS are the big three—typically take responsibility for securing core infrastructure and services. Your security responsibilities include just about everything else—operating systems, platforms, and, most importantly, your data.
The cloud providers don’t advertise this fact, so it’s essential that you read the fine print in your terms and conditions. Microsoft Azure says it this way: “You are responsible for protecting the security of your data and identities, on-premises resources, and the cloud components you control.” That means it’s up to you to ensure you can recover your data, whether the cause is a security breach, data corruption, or even accidental deletion.
This fine print protects cloud providers from lawsuits, but it most certainly doesn’t protect your business from data loss and the expensive and painful downtime it can cause.
2. Clouds Are Complex
We’ve already mentioned the challenges that come with managing the complexities of a hybrid cloud environment. Each element added to your infrastructure also adds more potential problems. Today, some organizations standardize on up to four different public clouds and numerous private clouds and data centers. Each of these clouds likely operates differently with unique user interfaces. While you may be able to manage each cloud environment seamlessly, monitoring and supporting all the disparate cloud platforms—and getting them to work seamlessly with each other— can be an overwhelming challenge.
There are plenty of other issues that come with deploying a hybrid cloud environment, including compliance and regulatory concerns. Ensuring comprehensive compliance in a single cloud isn’t easy on its own. But hybrid cloud adds new complexities that make it even harder. The biggest issue is that industries change their rules based on security and certification requirements. So flexibility is critical.
3. Every Cloud Can Have a Silver (Security) Lining
These challenges need to be addressed before you deploy your hybrid cloud because it can be both costly and even catastrophic if you don’t. Having the proper security and compliance elements in place is critical. That’s especially true for your hybrid cloud backup and recovery solution. It needs to protect your data and give you complete control over it, too.
It’s worth looking at cloud storage offerings that safeguard data by taking continuous snapshots and offer you multiple recovery points. This ensures that your data is protected, accessible, and visible. Some data protection solutions target private, hybrid, and multi-cloud environments. Look for a solution that combines security controls, ransomware detection, and data protection across private cloud, public cloud, and SaaS-based environments. Be sure to include backup and disaster recovery services, including protection for physical, virtual, and cloud workloads.
The Caution Flag is Up
In the race to keep your business ahead of the competition, caution dictates that it’s time to lock in an effective data storage and backup solution, whether your data is on-premises, in the cloud, or a hybrid environment. You can’t look to your public cloud service provider to do it for you. You need to implement a data protection and recovery strategy that gives you an extra layer of protection to prevent data disasters and ensure you can recover if one should still occur.
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