Your clients have Shadow IT — and Hybrid Cloud can help Posted on July 12, 2016 by Adam Burke Ever ask your clients how many public cloud services they use? Odds are the number is higher than even the most senior tech guy knows. In fact, the appeal of low-cost, easy-to-use, feature-rich public cloud services is so universal that by 2020, cloud will claim two-thirds of all IT infrastructure, software, services, and technology spending. By then, cloud-related communication will account for more than 80% of total data center traffic. A longer shadow than you might think Welcome to the intractable world of Shadow IT, where line-of-business employees turn to public cloud apps — not their IT people — as they plug away at their jobs as effectively and efficiently as possible. It’s been estimated that as of yearend 2015, companies typically used up to 20 times more public cloud services to store critical data than their tech managers had authorized. Shadow IT lurks behind many of your clients’ IT management headaches, especially security and compliance concerns like user data encryption, authentication, network and service catalog integration, vendor management, and so on. But who can afford to build the sort of extensive private cloud that would be needed in order to supplant and then keep pace with today’s continuing abundance of new public cloud apps? A hybrid best of public and private clouds So Shadow IT-generated security, compliance, and management hassles are forcing many firms to seek relief in another way: A hybrid cloud uniquely customized to their needs. A hybrid cloud combines public cloud services that mask complexity with cloud automation (e.g., programmable APIs, self-service portals available via an intuitive, easy-to-use dashboard) and a private cloud’s customizations and ability to enforce security and compliance policies. Those of your clients who’ve virtualized their data centers may find they already have many of the elements necessary for the private cloud portion of a hybrid cloud architecture. But virtualization alone isn’t sufficient for the private cloud portion of a hybrid cloud. Managing the complexity of integrating a constantly changing line-up of technology resources and services requires something more: cloud automation. Hybrid cloud automation: easier with an expert The good news is that neither you nor your clients need be daunted by the prospect of hybrid cloud automation. Hybrid cloud tools, infrastructures, and architectures have matured greatly. Containers, microservices, and unikernels make it easier to migrate services between public and private clouds, to rapidly scale them up and out, and to manage the dynamic operational complexity of maintaining infrastructure performance, security, disaster recovery standards, storage needs, and more. An expert hybrid cloud services provider who knows how to assist you in helping your clients review their business goals, prioritize their needs, and address their technology gaps can make an enormous difference to your clients’ business as well as their future — and yours.