Day-in and day-out we tout the benefits of using cloud services. And there are plenty of benefits to celebrate! But the reality is that not every business is going to be perfectly suited to cloud solutions. Some companies need to manage their own servers and keep them on-premises for a multitude of reasons. But does it have to be an either-or scenario?
Not at all!
This is where Hybrid IT services can be useful to businesses who want the best of both worlds. They want to maintain on-premises hardware and infrastructure, but still want to take advantage of the best that cloud services have to offer, and find the right service providers who will offer them solutions to meet all of their needs.
What Are Hybrid IT Services And Who Can Benefit From Them?
Hybrid IT services, as the name suggests, involve using a combination of different platforms to meet your unique business needs. For example, hybrid IT could involve using on-premises storage for certain types of data, while taking advantage of cloud solutions for your daily operations. It can also involve using a combination of public cloud facilities, which are often more affordable, and private cloud facilities, which can be more secure and are certainly more customisable.
Hybrid services are particularly useful for businesses who are starting their cloud migration, since it means that you do not need to transfer all of your services to the cloud at once. You can prioritise the migration according to the areas of your business that will benefit the most from the flexibility, scalability and security that the cloud has to offer.
The most important consideration for businesses who want to take advantage of the benefits of Hybrid IT is that they find the right provider. Plenty of IT providers focus on adopting cloud services, but there are few reliable Hybrid IT providers who are able to help your business maintain a combination of services across both cloud and on-premises platforms. Successful hybrid IT management requires strategic planning, and while most IT service providers are great at troubleshooting and support, at Solid Systems, we have set ourselves apart by offering strategic IT roadmapping and project management – both of which are critical for companies who want to maintain a unique combination of services.
What Are The Benefits Of Hybrid IT Services?
While there are plenty of advantages to using cloud services all on their own, for many businesses there are even more benefits to having a combination of services at their fingertips.
1. Better Flexibility
Going all-in with on-premises solutions limits the options available to a business. And while there are a wide range of cloud services available for companies to use, choosing to only invest in cloud solutions presents the same problem. As a business, you want maximum flexibility when it comes to your infrastructure, storage and hardware, and this is one of the key components in hybrid IT services. Risk management for hybrid IT often means maintaining full control over your on-premises infrastructure like servers and networks where necessary, while still making use of cloud solutions where they will be most cost effective or boost the productivity of your teams.
2. Improved Innovation
One of the disadvantages to working with an on-premises system on its own is that newer hardware and developments are always in the works, and are difficult to implement on older infrastructure. These kinds of innovation impediments in mixed resources and skillset development mean that systems cost more, are more difficult to maintain, and require a much higher skill level and closer management by your IT team. By taking a hybrid approach to your IT services, you are providing yourself with the opportunity to take advantage of developments that can help your business to grow, while still maintaining the so-called ‘legacy’ systems that give you full control over your own infrastructure, and freeing up your internal resources to focus on the most critical areas of your business.
3. Maximum Value
On-premises infrastructure often comes with a high price tag. It requires hefty lay-outs right off the bat, but is also expensive to maintain, both in terms of upgrades and maintenance, and in terms of the time that your teams need to spend on those upgrades and maintenance. And that’s not to say that cloud services are always less expensive. Private cloud resources can also come in at a high price point, but it’s the price you pay for maximum control over your services and the way that they’re configured. But when you’re working with a hybrid IT model, you have the option of reducing costs in the right areas by making use of public cloud facilities where they are most effective and can have the biggest impact on your budget, while still maintaining private cloud or on-premises solutions where control is of utmost importance. This makes hybrid one of the best business choices for benefits of mixed life cycle strategies.
4. Improved Time To Market
When you’re launching a new product or running a new project, the last thing that you want to hold you back are the resources available to you. But when you are running on on-premises solutions alone, this is exactly what tends to happen. You need to wait for servers to be configured optimally, and you need to thoroughly test them before you’re able to even begin working on your projects. When you are making use of hybrid IT services, on the other hand, you can quickly and easily adjust your cloud services as needed to run and manage the project and get to market as quickly as possible, while still maintaining the integrity of your core on-premises infrastructure. This makes portfolio management significantly easier and gives your business the opportunity to address and change management challenges with mixed resources and skillset adoption.
What Are The Risks Of Using Hybrid IT Services?
Whenever you take on a new approach to managing your IT, there are going to be challenges involved. Knowing what these challenges are and the risks that you are going to face can help you to make the right decisions for your business, both in terms of the approach you will be taking to your IT management, and in terms of the companies that you may enlist to help you in the endeavour. With that in mind, let’s look at a few of the risks of using hybrid IT services.
1. More Platforms To Secure
Every platform has its own security risks. On-premises infrastructure may be more secure in terms of access, but without the proper maintenance, upgrading and monitoring, it can be just as susceptible (if not more so) to security risks. Public cloud services require access to be intricately maintained, as the services are shared by multiple companies, and a breach to any one of them, if not properly contained, could result in your services being compromised as well. It’s a rare scenario, but not an impossible one. And private cloud services, which offer the best of both world, still require manual intervention when it comes to maintaining and upgrading servers and services – the responsibility may be shared between your business and the provider, but that still means that a portion of the responsibility lies with you.
When you’re using all three platforms at once, security needs to be your top priority, since you will have all of the benefits of the platforms, but will need to manage all of the risk at the same time. Having a hybrid IT provider that you can trust can sere you effectively coordinating your security across different platforms while mitigating risk as far as possible.
2. Managing Integration
It’s difficult enough to manage a single platform, but when you are managing three separate platforms, as is often the case with hybrid IT services, it can take a good deal of strategy and planning in order to ensure that everything is coordinated effectively.
Once again, this is where a great hybrid IT service provider can be a huge asset to your business. You need a partner who has vast experience in project management and platform coordination, and who knows your business inside and out. This will help them to effectively manage the integration between the platforms that you need to use, mitigating risk and ensuring that data is migrated as necessary to the best possible platform for your needs.
3. Data Compliance
If you’re based in South Africa or in the EU, every platform that you use needs to be structured for data storage in compliance with regulations like the GDPR or South Africa’s POPI Act. This is one matter when you are using a single platform, but when you are using multiple platforms which include cloud services, it takes extra effort to ensure that your data is being labelled, stored and managed correctly, no matter which platform it ends up being stored on.
4. Additional Costs
I mentioned earlier that maximum value was one of the benefits of hybrid IT. But, at the same time, I also explained that each platform comes with its own price point. By managing hybrid IT services effectively, you can maximise value and cut down on costs. But it does take a good deal of management to do that. On-premises solutions can be extremely costly, as can private cloud services. Making sure that you are managing your budget and your infrastructure in the right way can save you money in the long-term, but it will also be more expensive than, say, only using public cloud facilities.
I hate to repeat myself, but having a managed IT services provider who specialises in hybrid solutions is the best way to ensure that you are spending money in the right areas, and are seeing the best possible results. It comes down to that strategic planning that I keep referring to, because part of roadmapping your technologies and planning for the future means planning for new platform adoption and having a budget that you can rely on to predict your monthly and annual IT expenditure.
How Can Solid Systems Help?
I keep talking about the importance of having the right hybrid IT provider. When you work with Solid Systems, exceptional IT support is part and parcel of what we do, but it’s not where we’re able to add the most value to your business. Our managed IT services are all about ensuring that your business is using the right platforms and the right solutions for growth. We don’t just offer an all-encompassing solution. We take a deep dive into your business, understanding who you are and what you want to achieve, and help you implement and adopt the right IT solutions (and hybrid IT solutions) to see you excel.
Are you ready to change the way that you think about IT? Get in touch with us today.