The downside of this need for control is that operating and maintaining everything on-site can be time consuming, super expensive, and it can make your business more vulnerable to network downtime and cyber threats.

Although everything can be stored in the cloud at a fraction of the cost, many business owners aren’t yet convinced with the idea of sharing the infrastructure their technology runs on.

The great thing about the cloud is it’s not an all or nothing decision. This is exactly why so many small to midsize businesses have turned to hybrid cloud solutions such as Office 365 or hosted email. Just as the name implies, hybrid cloud solutions are both on and off premises. It’s the best of both worlds. A business owner can still control certain aspects of the business on-site, but simultaneously exploit the cloud’s cost effectiveness and overall flexibility.

For example, a local server can be housed and managed on-site but that server, or just specific files, can still be backed up in the cloud and stored far away off-site. This provides a partial disaster recovery solution in the event of a theft, flood, fire, or just a basic server crash.

Here are some tips for developing your hybrid cloud strategy

1. Honestly assess the current IT situation

Over time, as your business grows and technology advances, your well-planned and neatly arranged IT infrastructure transforms into a disorganised mishmash of different servers and disconnected software and tools. View this almost as the spring-cleaning of a cluttered garage. What systems or applications are critical to your business right now and which ones no longer support your current or future business initiatives?

2. Understand what information you want to keep close

Every business will be different in this regard. Certain companies will prefer keeping large files in-house, in a more controlled private cloud for easy access, but may be okay with having their email system hosted in the cloud.

3. See how your peers are taking advantage of hybrid cloud solutions

Services once only available to large enterprises are now available to SMBs. This presents an extraordinary opportunity to be more agile, flexible, and better suited for new business opportunities and growth. Remote monitoring, 24/7 support, and disaster recovery solutions can be easily integrated within a hybrid-computing environment – regardless of operating systems, server types, or mobile devices used.

4. Staged implementation

Be sure to plan your hybrid cloud strategy as a multi-year plan that is deployed in phases. For example, in the beginning, private controlled access to a public cloud service can be granted to internal staff experimenting or developing a new business initiative. Or a new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) application can be implemented using a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform.

If you’re not yet utilising the cloud in some shape of form then 2018 could be a year of opportunity for you. In the meantime, have a very Merry Christmas and prosperous New Year!

For further advice on how Microtrading and hybrid cloud computing can help transform your business contact us on 0121 784 0077.