Why Shadow IT will drive you to a hybrid cloud Posted on July 7, 2016 by Tim Burke Given how much cloud apps can boost your business agility while reducing maintenance, labor, and capital costs, chances are you’re spending a sizeable chunk of your IT budget on them (probably more than you realize). You’re not alone. Industry watcher IDC predicts that in just a couple of years, at least half of all IT spending will be cloud-based, and by 2020, 60%-70% of all IT infrastructure, software, services, and technology spending will be cloud-based. Within three years, cloud-based data traffic will account for 83% of total data center traffic. Shadow IT looms Until now, most of this cloud activity has occurred in public cloud environments; last year, public cloud IaaS/PaaS services grew by 51%. Public clouds’ low-cost, easy-to-use, feature-rich capabilities have attracted so many that just about every organization now contends with Shadow IT, which, in classic tail-wags-dog fashion, accounts for a remarkably large swath of public cloud spending. As of a year ago, companies typically used up to 15 times more public cloud services to store critical data than their CIOs had authorized. The folks who uncovered this data observed such fast growth that they believed companies would be using 20 times more public cloud services by the end of 2015 than their CIOs had authorized. Unsanctioned public cloud spending that casts a shadow so much longer than expected exacerbates security and compliance concerns like user authentication, data encryption, vendor management, network and service catalog integration, and so on. The solution: a hybrid cloud The cost savings and convenience inherent in public clouds make them too valuable to forego, but most organizations that use them require the ability to add layers of security, compliance, and/or customization, and some must continue fielding legacy environments — so they’re tempted by a private cloud. Yet, building a comprehensive, true private cloud (i.e., moving beyond server virtualization to the automation required for IaaS) is a complex and expensive task. Fortunately, there’s a third option: a well-designed hybrid cloud that permits you to smoothly move some data into and out of a public cloud while keeping other critical and high-value IT resources in a private cloud. As issues of integration between public and private clouds get addressed, more companies are combining public clouds’ convenience with private clouds’ ability to protect data and enforce end-to-end security and compliance policies. It’s happening now and it’s happening fast. By next year, more than 80% of enterprise IT organizations will commit to a hybrid cloud architecture. When you’re ready to join them, make sure you seek the assistance of an experienced hybrid cloud services provider that knows how to help you review your business goals, prioritize your needs, and address any gaps in your technology infrastructure.