8 best practices for going hybrid cloud Posted on August 25, 2016 by Tim Burke Public cloud apps and services are great for shifting your non-differentiated business functions and infrastructure from expensive on-premise environments to low-cost off-site facilities managed by specialists you have no hope of keeping on staff. Yet, if you’re facing shadow IT issues, demands to improve security and compliance, or the realization that you must prepare for a future in which success depends on your ability to differentiate your business, then you need something more than public cloud subscriptions. Most enterprises are already opting for a hybrid cloud that can combine and integrate public and private cloud capabilities so you’re able to move data in and out of the public clouds you use while keeping other critical and high-value IT resources in a private, customizable environment. Here, then, are the eight hybrid cloud best practices I suggest you employ for designing, building, and deploying a successful hybrid cloud. 1 Ask and answer: why does a hybrid cloud make sense for the business? The more granular your answers, the closer you’ll get to articulating the business goals you want your hybrid cloud to achieve. 2 Know your data and classify it. You need to understand what data is being generated and used in your various cloud services as well as your data center — and you need to appreciate their dependencies, degree of sensitivity, and other implications. Look for process bottlenecks, regulatory or audit problems, and other business exposures. 3 Make sure you keep your data portable. 4 Build security into your hybrid cloud from the very beginning. Be prepared to patch holes and extend existing capabilities. Use defense-in-depth measures to detect unauthorized access, including: real-time intelligent monitoring; granular, role-based access control; and strong authentication. 5 Study hybrid cloud costs and paybacks. If you lack expertise, use a vendor-neutral hybrid cloud technology advisor to help you find approaches based on off-the-shelf technologies and to help you understand the full scope of the solutions you’re considering. Do this before you commit to any particular strategy. 6 Avoid infrastructure investments whenever possible. Seek software-defined everything, which can speed deployment time and reduce human error. 7 Know your partnership interdependencies. Vet the cloud services providers that you’ll be partnering with. Examine their capabilities with great care, paying attention to security features and certifications as well as service-level agreements (SLAs) — and make sure you have both a migration strategy and a cloud service exit strategy for each provider. 8 Base your ultimate hybrid cloud decision on your business goals and requirements rather than on technology. A trusted hybrid cloud technology advisor can help you sort through your options and make sure you get the hybrid cloud capabilities your business needs.