IT Executives’ Top Concerns about Hybrid Cloud Computing

Written by Joe Kozlowicz on Wednesday, May 8th 2013 — Categories: Cloud Hosting, Hybrid Cloud, Cloud Hosting, Security

Interview with Cortney Thompson, CTO & Founder at Green House Data

Although IT executives like the benefits of hybrid clouds, they also have concerns about application and data security. IDG Research found 47% of IT executives are considering investing in hybrid clouds, because they can scale up or down quickly based on bandwidth needs. However, they’re also very concerned about hybrid cloud security issues like data loss or leakage (78%), insecure interfaces and APIs (77%), and account or service hijacking (76%) .

To get an insider’s view about these issues, we interviewed Cortney Thompson, Green House Data Vice President of Operations for his thoughts.

Q: Why do companies choose to deploy hybrid clouds as compared to public or private clouds?  What benefits do hybrid clouds offer?

Interview with Cortney Thompson, CTO Green House DataCortney: Hybrid clouds have some great benefits including the ability to scale fast based on bandwidth demands. For example, if you’re in a seasonal industry, like online retailing, you likely need more bandwidth capacity during the holiday season but not so much the rest of the year. Hybrid clouds let you quickly and affordably scale to satisfy those peak times.

With an in-house private cloud, you’d need to buy additional server hardware to handle the holiday shopping demand which would sit idle the rest of the year. Private clouds normally can’t scale, plus you don’t get the same degree of control over data and applications as with a hybrid cloud. Hybrid clouds really combine the best of public and private clouds.

Q: Why are IT executives often more concerned about security and integration with hybrid clouds than public clouds?

Cortney:  I compare it to watching your kid go off to college – there’s always concern over what will happen when they’re out of your sight. Same with the cloud – IT executives realize they’re giving up a level of control when they move their data and systems to it. In reality, though, it’s like sending your kid to a college with an armed guard outside the door; a good data center service provider has a lot of infrastructure in place to protect you.

For instance, your data center should provide you with a secure environment for your hybrid cloud. That means ensuring physical access to the data center is monitored and controlled 24/7, network security is top-notch, and industry and regulatory certifications like HIPAA, PCI DSS, or other standards are met or, in Green House Data’s case, exceeded.

Integration issues can be challenging especially for companies using legacy software that’s not cloud-friendly. This often happens with older databases that aren’t setup to be load balanced. In cases like these, we advise clients on the best way to optimize their infrastructure.  In most situations, it’s easier and less expensive to start with new software that’s cloud optimized. We work with lots of different software applications and hardware so we can give advice on what will work best for your particular situation.

Q: What can IT executives do to alleviate security concerns over data loss or leakage, insecure interfaces and APIs, and account or service hijacking?

Cortney: Most companies seem to assume that all the problems and issues they had with on-premise solutions will disappear when they move to the cloud. There are still security concerns with the cloud, though, which means you need a protection plan in place.

You still need a disaster recovery plan, for instance, and a way to quickly get your business back up and running if disaster strikes. Your IT team needs a plan for backing up your hard drives and important data – that type of due diligence doesn’t change when you move to the cloud.

At Green House Data, we always use trusted, well-known software and hardware providers for our infrastructure, because we know they really work.  We also spend time with our clients educating them on how the cloud can help and recommending steps for migrating to the cloud. It’s important to us that we give customers a “level of comfort” about their data and services.

Learn more about secure cloud hosting.

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