Only eight weeks ago, analyst firm IDC’s quarterly Worldwide Cloud IT Infrastructure report (August 2016) forecast that, by 2020, spending on cloud services will almost equal what is being spent on traditional IT. This increasing spend on public and private cloud infrastructure, anticipated to grow by around 15.5 percent, will be made up in some part of hybrid cloud architecture. A combination of on-premises and off-premises deployment models, the hybrid cloud offers unparalleled speed, scalability, flexibility and, most importantly of all for smaller businesses, a healthy ROI.
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As overall business data volume is also growing fast, at a rate of more than 60 percent annually, it’s not hard to see why the hybrid cloud approach is burgeoning.
Inadequate data protection can lead to a business’ downfall
2016 has been the year that companies of all sizes realised that data protection is a basic requirement for doing business. The inability to access customer, operational or supply chain data can be disastrous and every second of downtime can impact ROI. Critically, losing data permanently threatens to damage operational function, as well as business perception. The latter is especially key in business relationships with suppliers and customers. What may have taken years to develop can be undone in the course of a few hours of unexplained downtime. It’s never been easier to take business elsewhere, so the ability to keep up and running irrespective of hardware failure or an extreme weather event is critical.
The best of both worlds – speed and cost benefits
Perhaps the most obvious benefit of hybrid cloud technology is that SMEs have access to enterprise-class IT capabilities at a much lower cost. SMEs can outsource the management of their IT services through Managed Service Providers (MSP), allowing for immediate scalability and negating the need for them to manage – or hire internal IT experts to do so for them – those potentially complex IT systems in-house.
Another significant benefit is budgetary. Outsourcing via MSPs means avoiding a large upfront expenditure for installing IT systems and, instead, enjoying the benefits of data protection in the example of hybrid cloud data backup, for a monthly retained or pay per user basis.
One UK business that benefited from these benefits is Harbro Ltd, a £100 million multi-national agricultural feed supplier. On recommendation from its MSP, Clark Integrated Technologies, Harbro Ltd implemented SIRIS 2 – Datto’s hybrid cloud solution. Just six months later, the company was hit by ransomware. Datto’s SIRIS 2 quickly restored the 120,000 corrupted files by going back to an hour before the virus struck. If Harbro had still been backing up its data and files using traditional tape methods it would have suffered days of downtime.
Austen Clark, Managing Director of Clark IT, commented: “Preventing data loss and ensuring business continuity for our customers is key. The financial data the company holds on its clients and the loss of revenue and reputation due to a stall in business operations can have a fatal effect on any business – particularly in today’s climate. By selecting Datto, we can be sure that businesses like Harbro can keep on going.”
The considerable upside of the hybrid cloud model is that local storage devices can make immediate access to data or services possible without any of the delay associated with hauling large datasets down from the cloud. This is particularly important for SMEs that may be affected by bandwidth and/or cost concerns. In the event of a localised hardware failure or loss of a business mobile device, the data can be locally restored in just a matter of seconds.
The ability to backup files at any time, without any network downtime
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Often hybrid models use network downtime to backup local files to the cloud, lowering the impact on bandwidth during working hours, while ensuring that an off-premises backup is in place should a more serious incident occur. Of course, this style of network management is not a new approach, but with a hybrid cloud setup, it’s much more efficient. Whereas in a cloud-only set up the SME’s server will have an agent or multiple agents running to dedupe, compress and encrypt each backup, using the server’s resources.
A local device taking on this workload leavings the main server to deal with the day-to-day business. Consequently, backups can be made efficiently as and when required, then simply uploaded to the cloud when more bandwidth is available.
Good news for MSPs
Finally, the hybrid cloud offers many benefits for the MSP side of the coin, delivering sustainable recurring revenues, not only via the core backup services themselves, which will tend to grow over time as data volumes increase but also via additional services. New value-add services might include monitoring the SME’s environment for new backup needs, or periodic business continuity drills, for example, to improve the MSPs customer retention and help their business grow.