The hybrid cloud is one of the most prominent trends in cloud computing right now. According to RightScale, 58 percent of organizations report that they rely on a hybrid cloud strategy. As more adopters shift their focus to cloud-native infrastructure, the hybrid cloud will become an increasingly central part of their cloud strategies.
For all the benefits that the hybrid cloud can afford you (e.g., better flexibility, interoperability, and speed), it does come with its fair share of challenges as well. Your organization won’t be able to make the most of your hybrid cloud environment until you understand and push past these roadblocks.
Here are a few of the biggest challenges you’ll face in the hybrid cloud:
1. Maintaining compliance with industry regulations
There was once a time when organizations balked at cloud computing due to concerns about maintaining security and compliance. Over the years, cloud technology has evolved in such a way that the majority of enterprises rely on at least some cloud services—even those in highly regulated industries like health care and government.
Despite the maturity of the cloud, the hybrid cloud structure is still a major challenge for many organizations. The distributed nature of the hybrid cloud creates additional complexity because it allows for the free movement of data between cloud environments. Organizations that must abide by stringent compliance regulations cannot leave room for any mistakes that could compromise their data and, potentially, open them up to fines or lawsuits.
Overcoming this challenge can be difficult, but it is crucial to ensuring compliance while in the hybrid cloud. Organizations must implement tools that provide total visibility over all their assets in the cloud.
Before migrating to the hybrid cloud, you must also make compliance a key aspect of your cloud management strategy. Implementing resources like automated security controls will help maintain compliance down the line.
2. Managing cloud costs
Cost management is both a benefit and a challenge of hybrid cloud adoption. On one hand, you can easily scale your resources up and down to accommodate your budgetary needs. On the other, it can be difficult to manage spending in such a complex cloud environment.
Most cloud resources are fairly affordable and accessible, which can tempt you to provision as many as you can. However, many organizations ultimately find themselves consuming more of these resources than they originally planned. As such, wasted cloud spend has become a major headache for cloud adopters. Pinpointing your specific cloud needs and right-sizing your resources to meet them will help you manage your hybrid cloud costs more easily.
3. Filling the talent gap
Hybrid cloud adopters are facing a widening cloud skills gap. RightScale found that 79 percent and 77 percent of enterprises and small-to-medium businesses (SMBs), respectively, find themselves without the expertise needed to properly manage their cloud environments. It isn’t difficult to see why—moving away from a single, onsite infrastructure to one that involves multiple clouds can be a major challenge without the right know-how. In many cases, organizations are left floundering until they can acquire the necessary skills to manage the hybrid cloud.
Unfortunately, most organizations are struggling to fill this talent gap. As cloud technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace, adopters simply can’t keep up. There are, however, steps that you can take to build a company culture around learning and keep your team up to date with the hybrid cloud. Taking a proactive approach to cloud skills management will make it easier to identify your team’s shortcomings and hone their capabilities before they will need to use them. You should also leverage cloud certification to both verify your employees’ cloud skills and promote continuous learning.
4. Avoiding human error
You won’t have much use for the hybrid cloud without your employees. Unfortunately, these end users are most often to blame for data breaches and other security threats. It’s common for employees to accidentally send e-mails containing sensitive information to the wrong parties or connect to your data via unsecured devices. In the hybrid cloud, your team may be unknowingly putting your organization and its data at risk.
Thankfully, you can mitigate human error by simply providing your team with the right training and education. The more they know about the hybrid cloud, the less likely it is that they will accidentally compromise your infrastructure. You should teach them about the various risks they face when using the hybrid cloud and set forth clear guidelines for the use of cloud services. To ensure ongoing compliance, you should host frequent training sessions to keep the rules fresh in your employees’ minds.
5. Managing complexity
In recent years, the hybrid cloud has shifted toward a multi-cloud setup where organizations build their cloud infrastructure with public and private services from multiple providers. On average, organizations are using just under five clouds at once. This is the ideal cloud setup for many adopters, but it can lead to issues surrounding complexity.
Multi-cloud infrastructure can make it difficult to determine which of your cloud environments to deploy at any given time and how to manage costs in these separate environments. You will need to maintain strong communication between your in-house IT team and your cloud provider to ensure that everything runs smoothly and your cloud environment stays efficient.