Hybrid cloud has become the dominant architecture across most industries, as a way to scale parts of a business through public cloud while keeping the private, sensitive data locked away on private hardware.
According to Cisco’s 2022 Global Hybrid Cloud Trends Report, 82 percent of IT leaders are adopting or have adopted a hybrid cloud setup. This is up 22 percent from the same annual report published a year earlier by Cisco.
Even with all of this investment in hybrid cloud, there are still many misconceptions that businesses fall for when transitioning from on-premise to hybrid, and several challenges that spring up from businesses not implementing a holistic cloud strategy.
Most businesses see the need for a cloud strategy, 71 percent of respondents to IBM’s Transformation Index: State of Cloud survey said it would be difficult to realize the full potential of a digital transformation without one. However, only 27 percent of those same respondents said they had the characteristics to be considered “advanced” in cloud.
This feeds into a lot of other surveys conducted on cloud technology, in which most IT leaders and decision makers see the importance of strategy and foreplanning, but most do not have first-class understanding of the subject.
According to IBM’s survey, 69 percent of respondents said their team lacks the skills needed to be proficient in cloud. There is a skill shortage in most IT and engineering professions, but the lack of cloud expertise is extreme. According to a Wall Street Journal article, cloud expertise is one of the most sought after skills, with annual postings for cloud jobs increasing by over 100 percent in the past four years.
To reduce the need for specialists in multiple cloud fields, IBM suggests defining a strategic workstream, creating a cloud Center of Excellence (CoE) to incubate the hybrid cloud model and recognize the relevant skills necessary, and then have employees understand the hybrid cloud model through a skills and experience development program.
With this, businesses will not be forced to hunt for specialists, but instead through compromise and teaching retool their workforce to manage the hybrid cloud.
Security is another concern and challenge for businesses, especially in fields with a lot of sensitive data, or machinery that can be taken offline. In most cases, businesses hold the majority of their sensitive data offline, but that may be costing businesses in opportunities to integrate workloads across environments, reducing the value of moving to the cloud.
More than half of respondents to the IBM survey said that the public cloud was not secure enough to manage their data, with manufacturing, telecom, and financial services the industries most likely to move their data off the public cloud due to security concerns.
Alongside security, businesses are also worried that by moving sensitive data to the cloud, they may be in breach of regulatory or compliance rules. Half of respondents cited security and compliance as the top reason for taking data off the public cloud.
Most cite a lack of skills as the main reason why they might not meet regulatory and compliance standards. Without specialist help, there is a concern that the architecture and applications used in their hybrid cloud setup may not be proficient, which can lead to fines and other regulatory issues.
Hybrid cloud is here to stay and most businesses understand the importance of having data on the public cloud. However, businesses are worried that without specialist support, the cloud remains off limits to most of its sensitive data, which limits the capabilities of the cloud and invariably reduces the amount of innovation that can be achieved.
Organizations looking to move more of their business onto the cloud must come up with a comprehensive strategy, which includes support for employees transitioning from an on-premises solution to hybrid cloud model, alongside ensuring that the transition is worthwhile for the organization and does not overstep the goals originally set up.