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Changing Communications Landscape: How Hybrid Cloud Offers Right Solution


A Business Development Director at RDA comments on an article from No Jitter - Looking to deploy a hybrid cloud to drive collaboration and communications?  Let your requirements, budget and answers to the questions in seven key areas be your guide.”

Hybrid cloud solutions can be the perfect way to address the needs of the current business climate as long as you do your due diligence.

A few years ago, office space was primarily a place where people could work together and host in-person meetings with customers. That has changed in the modern era.

Today, customers don't want or need to spend their time taking trips to your office. They are just as busy as you are and want to save every precious minute they have. This means they've come to prefer virtual meetings and updates via email, phone calls, and project management software.

How you communicate and the tools you provide to do that have shifted. Public and private clouds are popular in business environments. At the same time, for various reasons (privacy, compliance or security concerns) it may be difficult or even impossible for businesses to fully move their infrastructure to public cloud services. The most common scenario is when an enterprise continues to have a private cloud while moving a part of the service to a public one.

In this scenario, the private and public clouds are connected and work as an integrated infrastructure. Here is an example: A company keeps Microsoft Active Directory services in a private data center and uses Microsoft Azure to integrate Active Directory with Office 365. This type of infrastructure is called a hybrid cloud. Hybrid cloud solutions usually provide services that help you connect your local infrastructure with the public cloud. This can be via a dedicated line to a cloud, VPN gateways or services for integration between Active Directory and cloud identity and user management.

Hybrid cloud solutions are on the rise, and the perfect way to address the needs of the current business climate.

Regardless of the type of business, communication and collaboration with customers, partners, and teammates is vital. Whether comprising internal or external members, teams need tools for distributing work and tracking progress, sharing documents, and completing other tasks. How better to deliver that with efficiency and continuity than with the hybrid cloud? But how to implement it to best serve your needs is the big question, and I will help you answer it.

Business Communication and Collaboration Service Needs

Many companies today extend access to the software collaboration tools used internally to external users, like customers and partners. They do so as a convenient way to improve business processes and collaboration efforts among project participants. At the same time, building an infrastructure is a real challenge, considering time to market, costs, availability, and resiliency. In general, you have two options:

  • To build your own service, for example, you may deploy Microsoft Exchange or SharePoint in your on-premises data center
  • Buy a ready-to-use service like Office 365 and integrate with your infrastructure

The option "to buy," in most cases, is more attractive for a business than "to build," as business owners have clear visibility into associated costs, what they will get, and when. As a result, we have clearly defined needs for a hybrid cloud service. The cloud infrastructure must provide:

  • Security to protect their customers and the enterprise data they are using and generating
  • Compliance with government regulations
  • Fast time to market
  • Predictable cost -- OpEx instead of CapEx
  • Flexibility of response to business challenge
  • Geographical presence

In addition, businesses expect to receive the following from the communications applications housed in a hybrid cloud:

  • Remote access to their collaboration software application and ability to access the service from any device
  • Low latency when accessing and using the application

The success of a business largely depends on the speed of decision making, and the cloud allows you the ability to have all the information at your fingertips instantaneously and communicate with others in real (or near real) time.

Questions to Ask in 7 Key Areas

Moving physical or virtual infrastructures is an undertaking that takes careful planning. When moving to a hybrid cloud infrastructure, you need to start the planning process by getting answers to the following questions:

1. Multiregion deployment

  • Are you going to assume that each region is an isolated business unit that follows regional government regulations?
  • Are you going to implement a global service to provide your services across the globe?
  • Does the cloud provider you are evaluating have enough geopresence in the regions that you need?

2. Compliance

  • Is the cloud service or services that you're going to use compliant with regulations specific for your business domain?
  • Does the cloud service provide enough tools for a compliance implementation?
  • How much effort do you need to spend for compliance implementation?

3. Connectivity

  • What connectivity options are available from your data centers or different clouds?
  • Can you connect your fiber optic wire to the cloud provider directly?
  • What VPN options are available? 
  • Are the VPN options compatible with your network infrastructure?

 4. Buy Versus Build

  • Are you going to buy a ready-to-use service or deploy your own implementation of a service on cloud infrastructure?

5. Security

  • How will you protect your cloud infrastructure from hackers and security attacks?
  • How are you going to grant access to employees and manage permissions?
  • Can you integrate a cloud identity and access management service with Active Directory?

6. Performance

  • Can the cloud service provider give you enough computing power, storage, and network performance?

7. Scalability

  • If your business grows, can the cloud provider give you enough resources to properly scale in an acceptable time at a reasonable price?

Decide on your own priorities, needs, and budget. Then you can build a clear vision of what to expect from a cloud provider by getting the answers to all the questions above. Once everything aligns, you can get started enjoying the multiple benefits of the hybrid cloud to deliver a great communications service or collaboration software to your customers and team.

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