The adoption of the cloud and the hybrid cloud is growing quickly. The hybrid cloud promises the best of both worlds where you can keep your business critical processes and sensitive data on-premise and still expand to cloud for development and testing as well as backups and disaster recovery. Using the hybrid cloud can enable your organization the flexibility to provide more services without the costs of needing to buy new computer hardware. However, the hybrid cloud is a new technology and it’s easy to make missteps. Let’s look at five of the biggest hybrid cloud mistakes.
- Choosing the wrong cloud provider – While the major cloud providers all seem to offer similar services, there can be huge differences both in the specific types of services provided as well as the pricing for IaaS VMs and storage. For instance, if you’re looking to backup your SQL Server systems to the cloud then Microsoft offers several built-in Azure backup integration options that you won’t find in Amazon AWS. Choosing the wrong cloud provider can limit the options available to you as well as cost you more than you might expect. With cloud providers, it is really a case of needing to do your homework before jumping in. You need to understand the types of services that you need as well as the costs of each different cloud provider.
- Putting off security – One of the other most important hybrid cloud mistakes is making security an afterthought. Many businesses are not initially all that familiar with hybrid cloud capabilities and connecting to services and data in the cloud can take up the bulk of their planning leaving security as a second tier concern. However, considering many of the recent high profile security breaches like Equifax and the new types of emerging threats like ransomware, security and especially cloud security need to be a top priority. Using preventative measure like strong authentication is a day one requirement.
- Lack of cloud expertise – Cloud adoption is growing rapidly. A recent Gartner study estimates that by 2020 90% of organizations will be using some type of hybrid cloud infrastructure management capability. Even so, the cloud is still a new technology for many businesses and it opens up the possibilities of new projects like IoT, cloud analytics, and container services. Tackling the hybrid cloud and these new project types can take considerable time and resources. In some cases, you might consider using cloud consulting services to help get these new hybrid cloud projects up and running more quickly.
- Inadequate restore testing – Using the cloud as an offsite backup site is becoming a popular option for many businesses as they look at replacing their tape backup and legacy offsite storage solutions. There’s no doubt the cloud can be a great option for offsite backup as there is near ubiquitous connectivity for multiple locations and cloud storage is cheaper than local storage. However, the real test of a backup is in the restore process and many companies don’t adequately test their ability to restore their backups. This a particularly important concern with cloud backup as network latency can have a big impact on restore time. To ensure the best levels of data protection you need to have a process in place to regularly test your ability to restore your cloud backups.
- Not accounting for network latency – Latency can be one of the biggest problems with hybrid cloud implementations. For most businesses, your link to the cloud is over a shared public Internet connection. While these type of links can be great for web browsing and most SaaS type of applications, if you’re transferring large amounts of data they can be a problem. If you find that you need more bandwidth for your hybrid cloud applications there are a couple of different ways you can handle it. You can get multiple connection points and multiplex your cloud connections – it can be a good idea to use multiple ISPs to provide improved redundancy. Alternatively, direct cloud connections like Azure Express Route and AWS Direct Connect can provide high bandwidth low-latency connections to you cloud provider.