The American Computer Scientist, Alan Kay once wrote, “The only way you can predict the future is to build it."
Cloud computing is now part of our daily lives. From the movies we watch, to the services we use in our personal and working lives, the demand for more cloud computing is likely to grow even further. As we look ahead to life beyond pandemics, enterprises are now in a very different reality. At the beginning of the pandemic, many enterprises adopted cloud computing as a survival measure to maintain connectivity with workers and customers. As a result, we may have potential hidden issues like accidental hybrid IT and inadequately planned cloud adoption within businesses. More and more, enterprises are turning to Managed service providers (MSP) and IT service providers (ITSP) to guide them through the complexity of this new world.
ITSPs and MSPs provide a wealth of services to enterprises to support them on future-proofing their business. They are best placed to provide the infrastructure and technology that will manage future demands.
Re-thinking hybrid cloud for the future
As businesses continue to transform and new systems and services emerge, the operational model faces fresh challenges. Companies have moved on from using just one central on-premises system: most now use a mix of cloud services, legacy systems and third-party solutions working together to form one complex hybrid infrastructure. The challenge now shifts from the maintaining and adapting of one system – to the integration and communication of many.
This is going to put pressure on today's service providers and system integrators who will need to adapt to new and ongoing demands on their customers' IT environments. Simply providing connectivity will not be enough. So, what steps do IT service providers need to consider? Here are five that we would see as critical:
- Infrastructure Certainties: Constant and rapid change is now a guarantee. Today's service providers and system integrators will need to adapt to new demands on their customers' IT environments, including the growing communication between different systems, platforms and users. And with data regulation becoming ever more stringent, everything needs to be fast and safe: you will need to have full control of where data is housed to meet the high expectations of security and performance that your customers, and the regulators, set.
- Local handling and storage: More companies are now using cloud services and hybrid infrastructure to take advantage of more flexible and scalable solutions, but with these advantages new connectivity and security aspects arise. This is particularly relevant for private organisations and public entities handling sensitive data. For these types of customer, data storage is often a crucial factor in choosing their IT infrastructure: they will demand a comprehensive security strategy and the use of qualified partners at all stages of cloud migration – for systems, applications and data.
- Colocation and cloud: Cloud providers like Microsoft, AWS, Oracle, as well as Google, IBM and many more, offer good security with firewalls and real-time monitoring against intrusion and threats in the public cloud. But for those entities with strict legal requirements for local data storing and processing, this is not enough. Providers have responded to this with locally housed private cloud-based services, where applications are run and stored locally, in-country, alongside any data produced. These neutral and local data centres provide private direct connections to all major cloud providers, built to ensure a fast and secure connection. This stops data transfer taking place, in contrast to standard Internet lines which cannot guarantee the same performance or security.
- Managing the hybrid environment: Of course, some organisations may not need local data management for all their data and applications: some areas of their operations can often be placed in the public cloud. For organisations using a colocation data centre, IT administration can often be managed using a dedicated interface, where the administrator can easily connect a private connection to one or more cloud providers and manage their Wide Area Networks (WAN) in one place. The hybrids can be optimised in line with load and need, without compromising on safety or performance.
- User accessibility: By offering a more flexible environment, hybrid cloud solutions allow organisations to scale, streamline and implement new features more easily. They can improve the management of their resources, offering better control, and now, even organisations subject to strict data-processing rules can benefit from this, using secure data handling from colocation centres and models.