IT infrastructure must move with the times and adopt hybrid models

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Operations rely on online environments now more than ever before and it’s a trend that’s unlikely to die down. Despite this, 81% of IT infrastructure still isn't stored in the cloud. That’s a surprising figure when you consider that many companies are now permanently offering hybrid or remote working models post-pandemic. Returning to on-site work practices could have significant implications for talent retention as 30% of employees would consider switching jobs if their office required in-person attendance from Monday to Friday.

One thing is clear: companies need to create flexible working environments if they are to attract qualified employees. But without scalable and flexible IT infrastructure to match, keeping track of data across different environments – from the home office to on premises – becomes tricky.

Many businesses are aware of the benefits that a hybrid cloud approach can offer their organization yet remain uncertain about processes for implementation. That’s especially true when the same IT processes have been embedded in a company for decades.

As traditional working structures continue to fall away, legacy IT must move with the times too. Employing technologies that make every facet of the IT landscape trackable will be key if businesses are to ‘future-proof’ their operations.

Martin Hodgson

Martin Hodgson is the Director Northern Europe at Paessler AG.

What is the hybrid cloud? Putting it in plain English

The hybrid cloud is a concept with multiple interpretations, but the most popular definition is when it refers to the use of both a private cloud and a public cloud in parallel, or a connection between the two.

Many companies currently operate their own cloud, a so-called “private cloud”. Should demand for computing resources temporarily spike, the company is able to scale its resources by outsourcing some of the processing to a public cloud.

In this way, the company can scale its data center to handle normal traffic load rather than needing to invest in enough resources to handle peak loads. When demand drops down again, the organization simply stops using the additional public cloud resources. Any especially sensitive data and applications stay in the company’s private cloud, whilst more menial processes are outsourced to the public cloud. Digitized areas generate huge volumes of data that require transportation, storage and processing. The hybrid cloud is able to tackle the complexity of such data because it gives companies the ability to transition between on-site storage or the public cloud seamlessly, securing operations.

Sounds ideal – but what’s the catch? Without an overview across public and private environments, it’s easy for systems to become disjointed and inefficiencies to occur. When you add legacy IT infrastructure to the picture, things get even more complicated.

A centralized overview drives watertight security

The more important the role of IT becomes for the success of a company, the more data is generated and processed. The more complex - and thus more difficult to keep track of - IT landscapes become, the greater the threat of cybercrime for companies. Given that siloed operations can present a potential security risk, it’s surprising that the public sector, which traditionally deals with reams of sensitive data, has been the slowest to migrate to the cloud. 92% of government data is still stored on premises.

The slow transition to the cloud might in part be due to an ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ attitude. Leaders face a myriad of possible challenges including security and compliance risks and software compatibility as they bring old tech up to date. IT teams are already inundated with day-to-day issues to resolve, from connectivity to data management. The thought of uprooting tried and tested IT processes can understandably seem like too much legwork.

No matter how challenging the move, it’s better to address the challenges of any roadmap for digital transformation now rather than later. A recent report from IBM found that 83% of organizations experienced more than one breach in 2022, with 41 million records exposed. Dealing with the aftermath of cyberattacks is far more consuming and costly than a pre-emptive approach that secures operations in the first instance. Consolidating all of your monitoring data in one tool is the best way to give you centralized dashboards and alerting for the most holistic picture. This includes having data from all your locations, from your OT environment, IIoT sensors, wired and wireless networks, and traditional IT devices and systems in one location. Genuine visibility will be more vital than ever to stay one step ahead of threats as cybercriminals continue to evolve their tactics and grow in sophistication.

The long and short of it

When businesses decide to run hybrid infrastructure, it’s important that comprehensive monitoring is introduced alongside it to ensure its availability and performance. Otherwise, the lack of acceptance and efficiency of the hybrid environment will quickly negate any potential benefits. Monitoring integrates the private and public cloud as well as traditional IT infrastructure with the design of workflow, optimizing employee experience and promoting better security at the same time.

As the modern workplace continues to evolve, the right software is essential to capture, contextualize, and evaluate relevant information across divisions. When IT leaders empower themselves with insights, they gain a forensic understanding of the interrelationships across entire networks and can react proactively rather than reactively. It’s natural that businesses are experiencing hesitancy when cloud migration is no simple feat. However, a more collaborative approach presents undeniable opportunities to become more efficient whilst knowing that precious data is correctly monitored and safeguarded.

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Martin Hodgson

Martin Hodgson is the Director Northern Europe at Paessler AG.