Despite constant shifts in information technology approaches, pure cloud computing technology persists as a trending, catch-all solution for business owners.
We dare to disagree. A pure cloud solution is right for some businesses, but others might benefit from a hybrid cloud solution. It all depends on your unique business needs and individual growth strategy – not on hype and fanfare.
In our last post, we discussed why cloud-based IT solutions are not always the answer. But when are cloud-based IT solutions right for your business?
Here’s a breakdown of which business components function best with pure cloud solutions and which ones work better with on-premise or hybrid cloud solutions:
Best for Pure Cloud:
- Customer-facing applications and services, such as ecommerce sites and customer service portals, work well in a pure cloud environment, allowing them to rapidly scale for changing demand.
- Company collaboration tools, such as instant messaging, enterprise social software and intranet applications like Microsoft SharePoint, all thrive in the cloud because they allow mobile employees to connect quickly from any location.
- Back-up and disaster recovery function well in a pure cloud solution, protecting company data in case of a physical or natural disaster.
- When piloting new applications, businesses are able to have a prototype up and running in the cloud in a matter of hours without having to buy a server and maintain it – particularly if the experiment isn’t yet successful.
Best for On-Premise:
- Print services and drivers perform better in physical IT solutions – after all, printing is a physically driven task and your technology should match it.
- Directory services: for provisioning user accounts to be hosted on-site. You need to change them often, and you don’t want any sensitive data to be compromised in the cloud.
- Highly integrated or customized applications for your business may not behave correctly or predictably in the cloud. Optimize your investment in these applications by not migrating them to the cloud.
- Legacy applications, such as a 20-year-old ERP system or an in-house developed program, may also malfunction in a cloud-based IT environment. Keep the system on-premise or upgrade before you migrate it to the cloud.
Why use a Hybrid Cloud Solution?
Hybrid cloud solutions exist because of external and internal limitations in your business applications, and/or because of any personal concerns you may have about the cloud. These limitations or concerns could be personal (e.g. you're concerned about the security of your data), business-related (e.g. a government law prevents you from keeping certain information in the cloud), or technical (e.g. a software program your business uses does not function well in the cloud).
To give a realistic example, let's say that a software your business uses daily has a few data restrictions that don't work well in a cloud setting, so you choose to keep those systems on-premise. On the other hand, your email application works best in the cloud so that your employees can work from a number of locations. A hybrid cloud solution allows your business applications to be stored where they will thrive, whether they be on-premise or in the cloud. What's great about cloud technology is that it doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing option.
There are always exceptions, but the guidelines above should help you decide which solution (pure cloud, hybrid cloud or on-premise) fits best for each component of your business. Consider which key areas of your company are right for the cloud – and which aren’t – then leverage those strengths to achieve your business’s growth strategy today.