First came the cloud, then came the public and private cloud models and now we have the hybrid cloud. But how does a business decide whether to move its IT to a hybrid cloud computing model? The decision is unlikely to be straightforward and requires expert advice and consultation.

A hybrid cloud computing solution delivers a tailored IT delivery model to meet organisations’ complex business needs. It provides a ‘pick and mix’ approach to outsourcing, enabling organisations to operate their IT across a range of public and private cloud platforms. If they so wish, organisations can even combine these cloud offerings with non-cloud options such as on-site IT hosting.

Here are my top tips to help organisations decide whether moving towards a hybrid cloud computing model is right for them.

  1. Understand the various benefits and drawbacks of the different cloud models. Is either a public or private cloud the best fit for your business? Don’t pick just one option if it doesn’t neatly fit with your business proposition. For instance an organisation that holds highly confidential and mission critical data is unlikely to feel comfortable having all its data in a public cloud. A combination of different cloud models may be the best way forward.
  2. Have a clear plan of how the different IT models will fit together once you have gone live and take the time to ensure a clear strategy is put in place.
  3. Will you be able to ensure interoperability between your different IT providers and services? It is vital that all your managed service and cloud providers have a close working relationship. The ideal scenario is to have one provider managing all your IT including both cloud and non-cloud IT services.
  4. Understand where your data will sit within the different clouds and the regulations and laws you will need to adhere to. You will also need to ensure that all the relevant data protection and compliance agreements are in place. This will be key if you have a central IT team with international offices.
  5. Consider your service level agreements (SLAs). You will need to be clear about the SLA with each cloud and non-cloud service provider and try to get them all to match to ensure coherence and consistency.
  6. Make sure that you know in detail the SLAs that each provider is working towards to get the best from each of your services. This will include understanding the escalation routes when logging any issues with your IT providers.
  7. Be clear about the contract start and end dates of each IT service and ensure that you renew at the right times. Trying to tie them all together is often best from an administration perspective.
  8. Make sure that you use cloud services and applications that work with your existing service desk procedures. If they don’t work, you will have to upgrade them.
  9. Ensure that you will be able to back-up and replicate your data in the cloud, regardless of which cloud platform/s you choose, and that you have a clear and workable business continuity policy.
  10. Consider your exit policies for all IT services, understanding what will happen to your data when your contracts end.

Migrating to the cloud can be a complex and risky venture. It is therefore essential to work with a trusted advisor with extensive cloud and non-cloud experience. This advisor needs to be able to recommend the best services model for your business and be in the position to guide you through the myriad of challenges you are likely to face.