Are you sitting there and thinking that the hybrid cloud sounds like the best thing since sliced bread, well, you might be surprised to know you’re probably already using it. If your company is using cloud computing services then it’s highly likely you are already in a hybrid cloud configuration. But, this brings us to the key question – are you using and managing it properly?

A 2014 research paper by Forrester – comprising in-depth interviews with 10 enterprise IT leaders – discovered that their teams were struggling to not only manage the issue, but failing to recognise it at all. So how can they ensure success on a successful hybrid cloud implementation? It all starts by understanding that cloud services are unique tools and should be used as complementary rather than a replacement to central IT.

As well as showing that nearly 70% of enterprises have already gone hybrid, the results highlighted several key findings and explained the key ways that companies can begin to manage their hybrid cloud more effectively and efficiently

Cloud use is motivated by agility, scale and cost. Every company wants to spend less money but they also need to adapt to changing business needs and require a system that allows them to do that. To make the most of the cloud, however, you must put a cloud policy in place. This will help to define what makes the cloud services different and how they can benefit the organisation.

Forrester’s second key recommendation from the research is to ‘start hybrid management with unified monitoring’ – a response to the claims that visibility is most needed when true customer experience is being measured. One respondent highlights the benefits of app-centric rather than network-centric reporting, as it shows the relationship between the cloud environment and the company’s own.

Data security is a hot topic right now. And with so many companies in the study sending sensitive information through the public realm, they have to know their data in order to secure their assets. The study shows that enterprises using the hybrid cloud are less concerned with potential security breaches, perhaps enjoying the comfort that comes with understanding how and where the cloud places assets?

As with so many IT services, positive experiences will open the door for further development of the hybrid cloud. Unsurprisingly, all of the enterprises surveyed for the report saw the cloud as an evolving entity and not a one-time move. Utilising their own hands-on experiences, many have advanced from opportunistic use to strategic thinking.

With this in mind, the report suggests bringing in third parties to supplement one’s own staff and knowledge. Trial and error may be an accepted form of learning in many areas of business but it really isn’t necessary here. Use what’s available to you to get the best benefits you can. This will also help your own IT staff to see the benefits they will gain for themselves. By understanding the cloud they will stop fearing that it will make them obsolete and instead gain the skills to use it effectively.

The hybrid cloud exposes any company to a number of new operational challenges. With potential cost increases and security risks, enterprises must acknowledge these issues properly in order to manage their hybrid state. And don’t fall into the trap of thinking the hybrid cloud is some fantastical future state, you’re probably using it already.

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