Benefits of Hybrid IT for SMBs

How a hybrid cloud can help small and medium-sized businesses grow and remain agile

By Michael Brenner

By Michael Brenner July 31, 2020

Small to medium businesses (SMBs) try to leverage technology in efficient and cost-effective ways. Like many small business IT initiatives, implementing a hybrid IT infrastructure can be a challenge. This is especially true if you have insufficient IT staff to deploy the project. However, with the right tools and partner, an SMB can accomplish many objectives with a hybrid IT implementation.

In this article explores the challenges and benefits of hybrid IT. According to CIO magazine, hybrid IT combines the delivery of enterprise applications, data and services to keep the business running and accelerate innovation.

“It encompasses people, process and technology, and spans on-premises and off-premises environments across the data center, private cloud, public cloud and the edge of the network. In a Hybrid IT environment, enterprises blend CapEx, OpEx, as-a-service, and pay-per-use consumption models.”

That’s a lot to take on for any small or medium-sized business.

What Is a Hybrid IT Implementation?

A hybrid IT Implementation refers to a hybrid cloud environment. Most hybrid clouds have the following attributes:

  • An infrastructure, either on-premise or private, that operates separately from the public cloud
  • Two separate clouds that can communicate with an encrypted connection
  • Two environments designed to transfer workloads between one another

A true hybrid cloud also provides automation of infrastructure operations and application delivery. I can unify management across clouds while also enjoying seamless mobility of data between disparate environments. A hybrid cloud also provides the freedom to use the same software in both private and public clouds. Operational complexity is eliminated with the right hybrid cloud design.

Many organizations are evaluating a hybrid cloud’s feasibility. The journey to a true hybrid cloud can be complicated, requiring the assistance of experts in the field. The chosen solution should ensure consistency and eliminate the boundaries between public and private.

Challenges with Hybrid Cloud Implementation

SMBs are facing immense pressure to develop a more agile infrastructure to scale and grow. Hybrid infrastructures are becoming the norm, with Gartner predicting that 90% of organizations will adopt a hybrid infrastructure by 2020. But what are the common challenges an SMB may encounter with hybrid cloud implementation?

Compliance issues: The need to comply with data regulations is a popular reason SMBs shift to a hybrid cloud; however, ensure the service provider understands these mandates. To store, share or analyze data in the cloud that’s highly regulated, compliance cannot be overlooked.

Migration complexity: When changing infrastructure, data and app migrations are likely to be necessary. This requires testing to ensure applications can run in both environments without issue.

Compatibility: Prepare for issues around whether tools and processes are compatible across the cloud. If there are problems with compatibility, consider seeking new resources.

Cost concerns: Migrations and implementation costs can quickly increase if not carefully watched. Work with infrastructure partners to define costs so changes fit within a given budget.

Maintaining data security: When data moves between multiple platforms, the risk increases. Review all security protocols and policies and support those with a new risk assessment based on the migration. Identify weaknesses and gaps and deliver corrective action.

Migrating to Hybrid Cloud

The challenges discussed with transitioning to a hybrid cloud are not insurmountable. They can be easily resolved with the right strategy and infrastructure provider. But why should you consider the hybrid cloud? Will it make a true difference to your SMB?

Hybrid IT provides flexibility to place workloads in the optimal operating environments. When designing and building a hybrid cloud that’s specific to business’ needs, it can bring many benefits, including:

Greater speed: While a hybrid cloud isn’t necessarily faster than a public cloud, the advantage is that it can be optimized to reduce latency, making it easier for data to move to where it needs to be. A hybrid cloud can also leverage edge computing architectures to boost speed further.

Enhanced security: Security can be a challenge as noted, but with a hybrid cloud, you’ll significantly decrease the likelihood of exposure when compared to the public cloud. Public clouds are more vulnerable to cyberattacks as well as data leakage. In the hybrid cloud model, you’ll be able to employ the security of a private cloud with the power and capabilities of the public cloud.

Easy scalability: Any SMB wants to be able to scale their architecture to keep pace with growth. Scaling can be extremely expensive and time-intensive if you only have a public cloud. The hybrid cloud allows for critical data and assets to reside in the private cloud, but you can use also use the public cloud to develop new applications as well as run analytics models.

What Can Accomplish with the Hybrid Cloud

The benefits that the hybrid cloud provides can help businesses meet their goals.

Control infrastructure costs: You are building a cloud to fit your needs, including your future growth, but it’s not a blank check. Hybrid clouds can help you reduce costs in two ways. One, you won’t incur costs with having to build and maintain your own cloud. Two, you won’t have to invest as significantly in public clouds.

Manage and understand big data analytics: If you are focused on making your data actionable, a hybrid cloud provides a better way to manage it. Because your hybrid cloud is flexible, it can deal with large amounts of data and allow you to understand your customers and their preferences better.

Accelerate digital transformation: The hybrid cloud allows both your IT and business transformation objectives to live harmoniously. You will be improving your architecture and providing new ways to use technology to stimulate growth.

Adapt quickly: Possibly, the most important aspect of hybrid clouds is that you are now agile. When something occurs that requires a shift in the way you use IT, it’s much easier to do so with a hybrid cloud, which could also provide you with a competitive edge.

SMBs can achieve much by adopting the hybrid cloud, and Nutanix has the solutions to help you manage all your clouds. See how their solutions work today.

Michael Brenner is a keynote speaker, author, and CEO of Marketing Insider Group. Michael has written hundreds of articles on sites such as Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, and The Guardian, and he speaks at dozens of leadership conferences each year covering topics such as marketing, leadership, technology, and business strategy. Follow him @BrennerMichael.