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Identifying the Ideal Hybrid Cloud Configuration for Your Enterprise

  Greg LaBrie     Jun 13, 2024

Identifying the Ideal Hybrid Cloud Configuration for Your EnterpriseIn the era of digital transformation, enterprises are embracing sophisticated cloud strategies to enhance IT operations and ensure cyber resilience. This WEI blog article explores how businesses are leveraging a mix of public, private, and on-premises cloud models to revolutionize their IT infrastructure while also following best practices for cloud security.

At WEI, our cloud solution experts have keenly followed cloud’s evolution from traditional on-premises to advanced multi-cloud deployments, guiding the development of secure and efficient strategies across various industries. A recent study “From Hybrid Cloud By Accident To Hybrid Cloud By Design” by WEI’s longtime partner, HPE, highlights the growing preference for hybrid cloud among enterprise decision-makers due to its substantial business benefits. Hybrid strategies are tailored to meet specific enterprise needs, enhance organizational agility and data analysis capabilities, and address challenges around redundancy, security, and compliance.


Public and Private Cloud

Public cloud services are celebrated for their ability to scale and operating on a pay-as-you-go consumption model that is perfect for variable workloads, disaster recovery, and development environments. Today, approximately 33% of enterprises leverage a mix of private and public clouds, illustrating how this approach effectively balances flexibility and control.

In contrast, private clouds, dedicated to a single organization, offer enhanced security and control, making them particularly beneficial for businesses with stringent regulatory requirements or sensitive data. Private clouds can be hosted on-premises or by a third-party provider, providing similar scalability and flexibility as public clouds but with increased data privacy and compliance. Notably, about 4% of enterprises rely exclusively on private clouds.Five Reasons To Prioritize Data Agility and Security

Hybrid and Multi-Cloud

Hybrid and multi-cloud strategies are becoming increasingly prevalent as enterprises combine on-premises infrastructure with private and public cloud services to enhance their IT environments. This setup allows for optimal control and performance with latency-sensitive applications on-premises, while scalable workloads benefit from the cost-effectiveness and elasticity of public clouds, and secure applications utilize the heightened security of private clouds.

According to the referenced HPE report, a significant 33% of companies have adopted this flexible and responsive hybrid model, with an additional 15% employing both private and public clouds alongside on-premises setups. Moreover, many businesses leverage multi-cloud strategies, using services from various providers to prevent vendor lock-in and further optimize performance, costs, and resilience. This combination of hybrid and multi-cloud approaches ensures a robust, adaptable, and resilient IT infrastructure capable of meeting a broad range of business needs.

Choosing the Best Hybrid Cloud Combination for Your Enterprise

To choose the best hybrid cloud combination, consider the following:

  • Workload Requirements: Assess each workload's unique requirements, including performance needs, latency sensitivities, security demands, and compliance obligations. It's essential to match each workload with the environment that best supports its characteristics. For instance, critical applications that require low latency and high security might be better suited for on-premises deployment, while less critical tasks could be allocated to public clouds.
  • Data Sensitivity: Identify which datasets are highly sensitive and require stringent security measures. These should ideally be processed and stored in more secure environments such as private clouds or on-premises data centers. Public clouds can be utilized for processing and storing less sensitive information, where the risk of exposure is minimal and compliance requirements are less stringent.
  • Scalability: The hybrid cloud solution should offer the ability to dynamically scale resources up or down based on real-time demand. This flexibility ensures that your enterprise can efficiently handle varying workloads without overinvesting in unused capacity or underperforming during peak times.
  • Integration and Management: Opt for a hybrid cloud platform that provides seamless integration and straightforward management across your diverse environments. The ability to manage multiple cloud services and on-premises infrastructure from a single dashboard significantly simplifies operations and enhances overall IT efficiency.
  • Cost Optimization: Evaluate the total cost of ownership (TOC) for each hybrid cloud configuration. Consider all related expenses, including initial hardware investments, software licensing fees, and ongoing operational costs. A well-planned hybrid cloud strategy should optimize (TOC) by allocating resources in a manner that balances expenditure with performance and security needs.

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Hybrid Cloud: Transforming Data into Intelligence

For enterprises to gain a competitive edge, they need to transform mountains of data into actionable intelligence. The challenge lies in choosing the right strategy to do this effectively. Enter hybrid cloud solutions, as they have proven to be more effective than traditional on-premises systems, which often fall short in extracting valuable insights from data.

Recent findings underscore that cloud-based strategies—whether public, private or a hybrid mix—consistently outperform on-premises-only setups in drilling meaningful intelligence from data. For instance, public cloud users reported a 52% success rate in turning data into intelligence, closely followed by private cloud users at 47%. Various hybrid cloud models also showed strong performance, indicating a clear advantage in utilizing cloud infrastructures.

Cloud systems, especially hybrid clouds, stand out because they are fast and resilient. They process data quicker and more reliable than on-premises setups, reducing downtime and offering flexibility. This is crucial for real-time analytics and regular intelligence generation. Hybrid clouds are particularly adept at handling data from multiple sources, integrating it into a cohesive, consistent dataset across various platforms. This setup not only makes data analytics more efficient but also improves the accuracy of decision-making.

Hybrid cloud supports data management by providing a flexible infrastructure that allows data to be processed and stored in the most appropriate setting. Latency-sensitive and critical applications can be kept on-premises for optimal performance and control, while scalable applications can be hosted on public clouds. Private clouds can handle data requiring high security and compliance. This strategic distribution ensures high performance, enhanced security, and cost optimization, allowing seamless data mobility and real-time analytics.

Challenges of Securing a Hybrid Environment

Securing a hybrid cloud environment is inherently complex due to managing different security protocols across multiple platforms. Each component—on-premises, private cloud, and public cloud—has its own set of security measures and compliance requirements, making it challenging to maintain a consistent security posture. For example, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a common requirement.

The mentioned HPE report highlighted in this discussion shows that private clouds are considered the most secure, with 75% of respondents acknowledging their adequacy for enterprise needs. This is followed by on-premises architectures at 63%, and hybrid clouds at 60%. Public clouds were slightly less trusted, with a 59% security approval rating.

Chart 1: Percentage who said their current strategy is successful at achieving: “providing the right level of security.”

Six Strategies for Securing a Hybrid Cloud Environment

Despite these challenges, several strategies can help secure a hybrid cloud environment effectively:

  • Unified Security Policies: Develop and enforce unified security policies across all environments. This ensures consistency and simplifies management. A centralized policy framework helps to maintain control and oversight, reducing the likelihood of security gaps.
  • Advanced Encryption: Utilize advanced encryption techniques for data both at rest and in transit. Encrypting data ensures that even if it is intercepted, it remains unreadable without the proper decryption keys. This is crucial for protecting sensitive information as it moves across different environments.
  • Regular Audits and Compliance Checks: Conduct regular security audits and compliance checks to ensure that all components of the hybrid cloud meet regulatory standards. These audits help identify and address vulnerabilities, ensuring continuous adherence to security protocols.
  • Robust Access Controls: Implement robust access controls to restrict unauthorized access to sensitive data and systems. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) and role-based access controls (RBAC) are effective measures to enhance security by ensuring that only authorized personnel can access critical resources.
  • Integrated Security Tools: Use integrated security tools that provide visibility and control across the entire hybrid cloud environment. These tools can help detect and respond to threats in real time, offering comprehensive security management. Solutions that offer a unified view of security events across all platforms are particularly beneficial.
  • VPNs and Secure Transfer Protocols: Use Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and secure transfer protocols to protect data in transit. VPNs create secure tunnels for data to travel through, minimizing the risk of interception. Secure transfer protocols ensure data integrity and confidentiality during transfers.

Another layer to this complexity is meeting compliance with regulatory standards across different regions and verticals. For instance, a private cloud might be configured to offer tighter security controls suitable for sensitive data, whereas public clouds might be configured for broader accessibility and may require additional security layers to meet certain compliance requirements. Ensuring that each part of the hybrid cloud complies with applicable regulations without sacrificing functionality or performance is a balancing act for cloud security leaders everywhere.

Final Thoughts

Strategies focused on efficient, meaningful, and cyber resilient cloud practices are a must-have in today’s enterprise IT landscape. At WEI, we are committed to helping our clients harness the power of hybrid cloud to achieve their business goals. Our expertise in cloud solutions ensures that your enterprise can navigate the complexities of cloud adoption with confidence, unlocking new opportunities for growth and success. Let us guide you on your journey to an efficient and secure hybrid cloud environment.

Next steps:  Download our free white paper, Protecting The Edge To Cloud Landscape With An Eye On The Future, to discover the widespread effect of hybrid environments on security protocols. Readers will also identify the joint vision of HPE and WEI for embedding security throughout all operations. It emphasizes the transition from isolated to collective security frameworks, a method reinforced by HPE's GreenLake platform and vigorously advocated by WEI. Furthermore, the document examines new strategies for developing cybersecurity talent and the critical role of Zero Trust architecture, providing practical guidance for improving security in a connected digital landscape.

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Tags  cloud strategy public cloud hybrid cloud HPE

Greg LaBrie

Written by Greg LaBrie

Greg LaBrie has more than 20 years of network architecture and engineering experience designing networks that exceed technical requirements, improve operational proficiency and reduce total costs of ownership. Greg holds a number of technical certifications for HPE, Cisco, Fortinet, and much more.

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