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How do you approach hybrid cloud unified communications?

Hybrid cloud has become a popular option for organizations that want to maintain control over their UC environment. Learn how to make the most of hybrid cloud unified communications.

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Editor's Note: For some organizations, an all cloud or all premises-based unified communications environment doesn't meet their needs. Hybrid cloud unified communications addresses those needs, as it allows organizations to decide which apps to move to the cloud or keep on-premises. In this podcast, ZK Research principal analyst Zeus Kerravala explains how organizations should approach a hybrid UC environment.

Almost every organization I talk to wants to do some form of hybrid. Obviously, on-premises has some strengths and unified communications as a service (UCaaS) has some strengths. You want to be able to use the relative strengths and weakness from each.

For most organizations, the choice does not have to be one or the other. In fact, hybrid cloud unified communications gives companies the optimal system for their needs that are specific to their organization and continues to evolve for better performance. My research shows that a little over 85% of companies want to use hybrid cloud unified communications.

Although the benefits of the cloud have been very well documented, there are some decision makers who are hesitant to move fully to the cloud. When a hybrid solution is deployed, it alleviates that concern by allowing businesses to migrate only the resources they choose. This way, they can keep any sensitive assets on-premises, while having the redundancy they require if their systems fail.

No matter how much vendor support an organization decides to use, there will be less hardware and software for internal IT teams to manage. In general, hybrid solutions will reduce overall expenses while supplying a reliable system.

This means that if a business experiences any kind of outage or downtime, the provider should keep the cloud supported and allows the affected employees to continue working as close to normal as possible. While anytime, anywhere access to the business is certainly a benefit of the cloud, companies have increasingly been attracted to the hybrid option for a variety of cases.

Hybrid clouds enable secure, on-demand access, while also enabling greater flexibility to move workloads as needed. That's really one of the keys of hybrid -- that workload mobility. These characteristics are beneficial for the main uses of hybrid implementations, such as web and mobile app development. Many other companies have leveraged this type of platform disaster recovery with hybrid cloud, and collaboration is now reaching the point where it is a viable type of application for hybrid cloud.

In order to unlock the potential of hybrid cloud, there are a number of considerations that must be made, but it will not be a complete change from current operations. If you want to create a seamless hybrid cloud unified communications experience, it requires some fundamental components, including a common management platform, an orchestration tool, unified networking, common security policies, and a single place to call for support. That means that the vendor you use must be able to offer you both hybrid and cloud that are based off the same platform.

The cloud has become a prominent asset in companies, and vendors are striving to make use of this technology in their services. Use a vendor with a common platform that enables companies to deploy the same applications across their systems.

A lot of vendors do offer cloud and on-premises, but they're built on different platforms, so the hybrid nature of it is really kludgy. It doesn't work very easily. But if it is built off the same platform, users can migrate to the cloud at their own pace, while still leaving some resources on-premises.

This march to the hybrid cloud unified communications is something organizations need to think about. Today, unless you have a very, very technical staff, the success isn't going to be based on having the right service provider, but that common back end of a single platform.

Next Steps

How to maximize the benefits of hybrid cloud

Striking a balance for hybrid cloud unified communications

Choosing the right cloud unified communications service

This was last published in November 2016

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