The importance of hybrid IT in a hybrid world

By Toby Alcock, CTO, Logicalis
Toby Alcock, CTO of Logicalis, outlines the future of hybrid IT solutions, and shares his guidance for implementing cloud technologies

With the acceleration of cloud services in recent years, hybrid IT environments that blend the ownership and control of on-premises environments with the flexibility and scalability of the cloud, have become increasingly common. 

Indeed, with end-user spending on public cloud services expected to reach $482bn in 2022, hybrid IT is now an essential and established part of an enterprise’s digital transformation roadmap. 

However, these hybrid IT environments also have their challenges. Those using the hybrid model are typically under pressure to meet various needs spanning performance, operational expectations, and security needs, making it challenging to decide between on-premises, cloud, or a blend. However managed services offer an opportunity to cover all these elements and more.

Implementing scalable and secure cloud platforms

Historically, one of the early push backs against cloud came from concerns related to security. Unless careful attention is given to setting up security from the beginning of a business’ cloud journey, these concerns can be well-founded, with 32% of companies experiencing cloud data breaches due to the wrong configuration with users being incorrectly provided access to cloud-based resources. 

Ensuring security from the beginning of any business’ cloud journey is essential to enabling a true hybrid IT approach. Borderless workforces that exist in today’s working environment are accessing data from everywhere, so IT infrastructure must be robust, but scalable, to ensure businesses can adapt rapidly. As a result, the cloud should be seen through a consumption-based model that is designed to flex to how much the business uses the services. 

Cloud is almost infinitely adaptable, but that flexibility and security is not always instantaneous unless built into the foundations. Therefore, it is essential to assess whether the proposed cloud infrastructure is flexible to the peaks and troughs in demand, and if it is built upon solid security foundations. This ensures that the key qualities of a successful cloud infrastructure are not considered as an afterthought. If this does happen, businesses risk missing vital parts of the security strategy, and open themselves up to security breaches. 

Integrating the modern data centre into the organisational fabric

Modern data centres are part of the wider hybrid IT strategy, allowing applications, workloads, and data, to reside in several locations and work seamlessly across an organisation. This infrastructure is no longer tied to a physical location and can quickly and easily integrate into the fabric of businesses of all sizes. 

Successful IT strategies depend on planning to maximise the overall results. Businesses can seek expert advice by partnering with managed service providers (MSPs) to understand their workflows. MSPs can then guide organisations toward the best platforms and services to suit their strategies and circumstances. 

With the burden of time-consuming tasks, such as maintaining and upgrading systems taken care of by managed services, not to mention the peace of mind that cloud-based backups provide, IT teams can maximise their resources and prioritise the issues that will help them meet overall company objectives.

How to establish the right blend of different managed services

Perhaps the best way to look at managed services is by regarding them more as managed outcomes. As a business, you are driven by business objectives. These objectives may change due to external factors outside of your control. As a result, both IT and applications need to adapt to this changing environment. 

The benefits of managed services are well understood. They provide better cost control, improved risk management, high efficiency and productivity, scale, and future-proof IT services while releasing internal resources.   

MSPs do not replace existing staff but give them more opportunities to utilise their valuable time to deliver on more strategic IT programs needed to advance business goals. Integrating managed services efficiently into the hybrid IT environment is a question of understanding where the gaps in knowledge and resources are for the business. This will vary from company to business depending on size, IT readiness and expertise, and cost.

Striking the right balance

Finding the right balance between cloud, on-premises data centres, or hosted data centres will vary from business to business. Still, companies must choose a model that works best for them, one that aligns with business objectives and enables teams to work efficiently. Taking an agile and flexible approach to IT infrastructure and adopting a hybrid IT approach will ensure systems can adapt and grow with the business. 

By partnering with an MSP, businesses can strike the effective balance between the critical consideration of high-level security, easy and efficient workload management, and cost efficiency that hybrid IT offers. Best of all they benefit from expertise gained from countless previous successful deployments with a ready model for replicable long-term success. 

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