– Mika Javanainen, Senior Director of Product Management, M-Files Corporation, says:
There is no doubt that the cloud has forever changed how companies purchase and deploy business applications. Arguably, most businesses are already leveraging a cloud service of some kind. Many are drawn to the potential benefits of the cloud, which can include cost savings, flexibility and scalability.
But what does the cloud mean for information management? At a time when many businesses are more worried than ever about data breaches, doesn’t the cloud make it even harder to maintain control of content assets?
The good news is that organizations can leverage the cloud for managing information assets in a manner that enables IT can keep control of sensitive content while giving employees easier access to the information they need.
A hybrid cloud deployment, in which on-premises systems can be integrated with a public and/or private cloud, offers an effective approach for organizations that require certain business services or data remain on premises but want to leverage the benefits of hosted solutions to ease the burden on existing IT infrastructure. Hybrid clouds can protect investments in existing infrastructure and content, and simultaneously help organizations take advantage of the cloud in a manner that ideally suits their business goals and budget.
The Hybrid Cloud Approach: Factors to Consider
A hybrid cloud strategy for managing company information starts by taking into consideration several important factors such as security. Most organizations prefer to keep sensitive information on premises behind the firewall or in a private cloud, while the public cloud makes sense for managing non-confidential content that can be shared with both internal and external entities.
Managing credentials of multiple cloud and on-premises services is another important consideration. Users want single-sign on experience and do not want to remember unique credentials for each service. IT on the other hand, is concerned that once such common credentials are compromised, hackers gain access to multiple other services with the same username and password combination. Federated authentication and strong authentication mechanisms, such as multi-factor authentication are good ways to mitigate this risk while making logging process as simple as possible for end-users.
Integration also impacts cloud strategy. In a hybrid environment, an important consideration is whether existing business systems can be easily integrated with cloud solutions. If integration is required, the number of information management solutions to evaluate is reduced since providing smooth integration between various systems requires open and well-documented APIs that not all vendors provide.
Storage costs should be estimated based on current and projected requirements. Cloud storage costs can add up fast, and can be offset by using on-premises storage.
You must also consider how and from where certain data will be accessed. Having to upload large video files to and from the cloud can naturally affect the performance of the system since the network connections to the cloud servers typically have much less bandwidth than within a local area network (LAN).
And for larger organizations, location has to be a part of the cloud plan. Define the requirement variations based on the different regions where your business operates. With the flexibility to control where data is stored, hybrid clouds can help meet any country and area-specific laws.
The Momentum of the Hybrid Cloud
As leading information management solutions have evolved to meet the demand for cloud deployment capabilities, more and more organizations are choosing to “drive a hybrid.” Why? Because companies can augment their existing business systems with cloud-based services for optimal flexibility, scalability and performance. IT managers can ratchet up or down computing resources on demand, and give employees more flexible access to more responsive systems and information repositories.
The cloud offers more options and greater flexibility related to deploying technology. However, with data security always on the forefront of IT concerns, some organizations have concerns about the potential risk of having highly confidential or mission critical data stored offsite. With a hybrid approach, it’s possible to get the best of both worlds.
Mika Javanainen is Senior Director of Product Management at M-Files Corporation where he manages the M-Files portfolio, roadmaps, and pricing. Prior to his executive roles, Javanainen worked as a Systems Specialist, integrating document management systems with ERP and CRM applications.