Cloud is a dying buzzword, mostly because virtually everyone is already using cloud in some form or another, making it a daily part of life rather than a burgeoning trend. However, there is still a high demand for on-premise solutions, particularly in South Africa where cloud adoption has been tentatively and cautiously approached. Add to this growing security concerns in a landscape rife with cybercrime, prohibitive cloud data recovery costs, and it’s easy to see why so many organisations are still investing in on-premise solutions, even while they explore cloud’s value proposition.
In a world that is becoming increasingly service oriented and pro-efficiency, there is a strong shift towards managed services, or outsourcing. With the prevalence of hybrid solutions, combining both cloud and on-premise systems, where do managed services fit in, and how can organisations leverage the best out of outsourcing while maintaining cohesive environments and not cutting their own staff?
The cloud conundrum
When cloud was launched, it was amidst much hype about its simplicity and ease of use. While this is true for the most part, many cloud adopters were surprised to discover that they were still required to design and manage their own cloud data environment – much like they needed to do with their on-premise environment. They also discovered that, while cloud storage space was seemingly endless and extremely inexpensive by contrast to on-premise storage, when systems failed and they needed to restore data, it became an expensive exercise.
Cloud adoption slowed. Contributing to the air of caution around cloud was the increasingly apparent security concerns. Data is becoming more relevant and valuable, and with looming regulation such as GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and PoPI (Protection of Personal Information) to consider, organisations are reluctant to move critical systems and data to the cloud, preferring a wait-and-see method of adoption – trialing non-critical systems in the cloud and retaining important systems and data on-premise.
Managing and supporting these complex data systems and intricate hybrid environments has become a challenge for many businesses. Striking the balance between the right number of skilled professionals for on premise environments and the perfect number of those for their cloud environment is no easy feat.
Cloud and hybrid data management skills are still relatively low in South Africa, and there are not enough skilled individuals available to manage both on-premise and cloud environments while navigating the migration of data and applications from one to the other. A skilled managed service solution could be the answer.
In South Africa , the idea of outsourcing leads to the inevitable question of how to retain in house staff at the same time. However, outsourcing does not inevitably mean internal job losses. It means that businesses can redirect their in-house staff to core business functions, innovation and customer experience, while leveraging the extensive skills of an outsource partner to manage the complexity of their environments.
Hybrid managed service
Beyond the skills that a managed service partner brings to the table, there are a number of other benefits. One is that organisations have a single point of contact for any requirement or issue. Another is that a managed service partner who oversees both on-premise and cloud data management will understand the nuances and exact requirements of both environments. This includes the transition and migration between the two.
Backup managed service providers can be instrumental organisation to more easily and cost effectively migrate from on-premise to the cloud in a phased approach, particularly where cloud is being used for backup. For example, when backup data is already in the cloud, then moving applications and systems across becomes simpler. Backup data facilitates this move.
The same is true for migrating from one cloud environment to another – backup data kept in one cloud location can be restored to another, making for a more efficient transition of applications and systems between environments. Moving entire data sets and not leveraging backup data doesn’t make sense – it’s bulky and inefficient.
Managed service partners can offer organisation the ability to backup on site as well as in the cloud, too, enabling better data backups and restoration options. Particularly in light of increasingly prevalent ransomware attacks, having a partner who can restore your data in the quickest and most efficient manner is critical to fast service restoration.
Hybrid environments may combine two different infrastructure technologies, but that doesn’t mean it requires two sets of teams or two different data management requirements. A single managed service that looks after both, bringing the right skills to the table, and enabling the most efficient way to migrate between environments is your answer to simple easy data management.
By Iniel Dreyer, Managing Director at Gabsten Technologies