In a post-Covid environment, efficiency has become a top priority for business, along with enabling a remote workforce and tightly managing the user and customer experience. The public cloud is typically seen as the ideal solution for handling this increased requirement for automation, resilience, performance and more. However, the reality is that the public cloud is not a silver bullet. There are many reasons why certain data, applications and workloads may need to remain on premises, which lends itself to a hybrid scenario. Building the perfect hybrid cloud requires a strong foundation, supported by intelligent data management.

Years of transformation in just a few months

The Covid-19 pandemic saw the rapid acceleration of digital transformation and a significant shift in direction and strategy for many businesses. The strong push into hybrid cloud implementations has led to numerous challenges in terms of data management, and there is now a renewed focus on business continuity and disaster recovery.

With a rapidly increased remote workforce comes a veritable explosion in endpoint data unconstrained by the walls of the data centre, which requires it to be managed and protected under the same compliance guidelines as all business data. There has also been a definite uptick in the number of malicious attacks, with ransomware becoming ever more malicious, dangerous and frequent. Managing data effectively is now more critical than ever.

Characteristics of an effective hybrid cloud

Building the right cloud infrastructure enables transformation acceleration, which is critical in responding to the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Not only does an effective hybrid cloud facilitate an adaptive cost model, it removes resource constraints, enhances simplicity and allows for a focus on Artificial Intelligence (AI), to drive real value and speed.

Effectively leveraging the hybrid cloud can drive significant business value, from optimising costs to securing workloads, enabling a remote workforce, improving data security and backup, and even helping customers migrate their data to the cloud. This requires a balance of simplicity, security, cost and efficiency, protecting data while keeping it portable to enable it to be scalable. The challenge lies in getting to that point.

Intelligent data management is the key

Many businesses struggle with a plethora of point solutions, but this mess of disparate technology inevitably results in multiple copies of data, increased management complexity and more. It is also important to remember that data management is about more than just backup and recovery.

One of the most important components of an effective hybrid cloud is data portability, from device to device, on premises to cloud, and even within applications and different versions. Making the data transparent between environments and mirroring cloud capability on premises and across the hybrid cloud requires intelligent data management.

It is essential to integrate a holistic data management solution that supports on premises, public cloud or hybrid cloud, regardless of where data resides. A single, best of breed data management solution covering backup, archiving, ransomware, eDiscovery, compliance and more, using a cohesive infrastructure, optimises data and helps businesses accelerate digital transformation strategy.

The pillars of the perfect hybrid cloud

In order to deliver the right mix of flexibility, scalability and data portability along with data protection and security, it is important to address three key areas. Firstly, the public cloud platform needs to be optimised for AI and feature the ability to scale up or down as required to ensure the most cost-effective solution. Secondly, the on-premise hardware must be cloud connected and hyperconverged, for intelligent orchestration and AI modelling.

Finally, these two pillars must be underpinned by heterogenous, AI-driven data management. Intelligent data management is the key for complete data portability and visibility across all hybrid cloud options, while ensuring data is protected against ransomware and other threats.