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In today’s society, it can sometimes feel like you have to choose between one thing or another, and it’s impossible to have both. Patriots or Steelers? Meat or tofu? Ice cream or cake? Beach or mountains? We see an awful lot of “or” but not many opportunities for “and”. This can seem limiting, especially in the cloud space, where CISOs can feel like they have to pick and choose solutions in a way that bounds their organization’s potential for growth.

Many organizations assume they’re locked into having a private OR public cloud with very few options in between. They can feel constrained by compliance, cost or location and unable to tout the benefits of whichever cloud solution they’re not currently utilizing. It’s frustrating, but you don’t have to be limited. What if we told you that in this situation, we can turn this “or” into an “and”?

You don’t need to take an all or nothing approach to your cloud solutions. It’s possible to have your cake and eat it too when it comes to the cloud. Introducing on-ramps to the public cloud and all the flexibility, reliability, and security they can add to your company’s IT strategy, propelling you forward into a landscape of possibility, not limitation.

What is an On-Ramp?

When discussing your cloud options, it can be hard to visualize what each option actually means for your organization. But on-ramps are exactly what you would assume: secure, privately owned pathways from your private infrastructure to the public cloud. You may have also heard these referred to as cloud exchanges.

On-ramps to the public cloud can give companies the flexibility to house some of their infrastructure or information in-house and outsource other elements of their IT infrastructure to a public cloud. This enables you to create a multi-cloud environment where you can experience the benefits of both public and private cloud without affecting speeds or quality of connection.

Understanding Public vs. Private Cloud       

It can be overwhelming to make decisions about the cloud when there are so many variations and critical facets involved with each. Here’s some quick information about the different cloud types, as well as a few pros and cons for each.

Public Cloud: Public Cloud is based on the standard cloud computing model, where solutions providers make resources, such as VMs, applications or storage, available to the public over the internet. Public cloud providers often provide a pay-per-usage model that can get shockingly expensive when you start factoring in a-la-carte add-ons and ebbs and flows in bandwidth usage. Due to the lack of control and the multi-tenancy model, public cloud may be a poor fit for highly regulated industries when it comes to some of their infrastructure or stored information.

  • Pros:More possibilities for scalability and flexibility, no hardware investments
  • Cons:Higher security risk, lack of customization options, absence of trust in shared servers, limited provider support

Private Cloud: A cloud infrastructure operated solely for an individual organization. It can be managed by either the organization or a third-party provider. It can be located on- or off-premises. A private cloud environment offers much more control, and has higher, more customizable standards for security and compliance due to its single-tenant nature. This is a popular choice for highly regulated industries like finance and healthcare, who need to be the masters of their own cloud.

  • Pros:Offers high security and customization, reliable and efficient, lacks the concerns of a shared server, greater control, greater provider support
  • Cons: The IT team might not have the expert knowledge necessary to manage the cloud if it is kept on-premises, higher initial outlay on infrastructure but typically balances out and becomes more cost-effective in the long-term compared to the public cloud

Hybrid Cloud: Hybrid cloud is a combination of both public and private clouds. It can maintain independence, while allowing for collaboration across different platforms. This is also often referred to as multi-cloud infrastructure and is where on-ramps come into play.

  • Pros:Offers flexibility and cost savings, along with security and data protection
  • Cons:The most complex cloud solution to manage and maintain, requires special expertise

Who Needs an On-Ramp to Public Cloud?

While nearly anyone can benefit from an on-ramp to the public cloud, there are definitely organizations that may feel the need more acutely, including:

Companies with Compliance Concerns

The public cloud can be an attractive option for companies looking to save money, offload some of the more rigorous IT requirements of a private cloud, or those that have applications natively built in the public cloud. That being said, it’s not always a possibility for every company to be completely dependent on public cloud. If your industry has lofty compliance standards, it’s more likely than not, impossible for you to take on the security risks of a public cloud for your mission critical infrastructure.

Now more than ever, with IT security threats becoming more complex and difficult to resolve, it’s critical to keep your most secure information close to home in a trusted facility with technical experts you know. It can be second nature to want to store everything in-house, but doing so can put significant strain on your IT staff when they’re overextended due to high volumes of storage and administrative duties. In many instances, off-premises delivers the perfect balance of control and peace of mind.

If you are stuck between a rock and a hard place with your compliance requirements and the capacity of your IT department, you may benefit from an on-ramp to the public cloud. With an on-ramp, you have the ability to keep your most sensitive infrastructure and information off-premises in a secure environment and purchase a private, protected pathway to the information that makes sense to store on the public cloud. This keeps you compliant and moves a lot of the risk and burden off of your IT staff, so they can focus on moving your business’s strategic initiatives forward.

Companies Looking for a Transition During Cloud Migration

Cloud migration is a hot topic right now, but there are very few resources that outline how to ace the transition. It’s not as fast as simply zapping all of your infrastructure to the cloud and forgetting about it. The transition to the cloud takes time, care, and attention to detail. And the way you handle the time between the completely local to completely cloud can have a significant impact on the future of your organization.

Sometimes cloud migration can feel clunky and if done incorrectly, it leaves rooms for gaps in customer service and platform access. Don’t let this be you. On-ramps to public cloud guarantee access to all elements of your infrastructure, no matter where it’s hosted so you and your customers have access to everything you did before the transition, saving you customers, time, money, and manpower.

Additionally, these on-ramps give you more options to scale on either end of this superhighway. On-ramps to public cloud provide options as you settle into your final cloud configuration, whatever combination you finally settle on. Think of it like the bar on a scale. No matter which way the balance swings, the two sides will stay connected.

Benefits

If you opt to invest in an on-ramp to public cloud, you’ll likely reap several benefits that can impact your bottom line and ability to scale up or down as your IT strategy and needs change. From compliance to performance to affordability, it’s easy to see why this is a solid choice for organizations who need one or both clouds to function.

Affordability

Having a private cloud that completely fulfills your organization’s storage and compliance needs can be a costly endeavor. Between the manpower needed to keep a private cloud fully functional and the cost of the actual infrastructure, a completely private cloud can make a significant dent in your bottom line.

Investing in an on-ramp to public cloud means you’re ultimately only paying for the private cloud space you actually need, while still maintaining the infrastructure and customer experience you want out of your platform. If you’re having a hard time negotiating a private cloud option with your C-suite, it may be time to add an on-ramp to the discussion so you can have the best of both worlds without losing money.

Connectivity

In a multi-cloud model, companies are working with multiple cloud providers, platforms and applications, so it’s critical to have a top-notch connection. This begins in the data center. This is where you again get to benefit from “and” instead of “or”. Providers should be able to build a high-performance platform that is cost effective and has provisions for on-ramps, so businesses can adopt their optimal hybrid strategy.

Find a data center provider that offrs on-ramps to public cloud services, so customers have the option of immediate access to multiple clouds that can work for them to provide increased connectivity and performance. Innovative providers have invested in diverse multi sub-duct networks so carriers and businesses can cross connect to a multitude of public clouds. An effective data center will make bridging the gap between public and private clouds seamless.

Flexibility

This is, once again, where the scalability and customizability come into play. If you’re migrating to the cloud and need a transitional bridge or if you’re needing to keep your high-compliance materials onsite, you will absolutely benefit from the ease of use and seesaw nature of an on-ramp to public cloud.

Once you have one on-ramp to one cloud provider, it’s easy to add another. Creating multi-cloud infrastructure is a great way to add layers of redundancy as your business grows, reducing your risk of downtime and maintaining customer satisfaction.

Compliance

With the multi-cloud strategy, utilizing an on-ramp can be a challenge in terms of compliance, but the key is in educating your team. Develop crystal clear guidelines as to what you can or cannot keep in each cloud and ensure everyone is trained to spot issues from the onset. No matter where you’re storing information, be sure documentation is available in the event of an audit.

Compliance can also be made easier by the fact that you often have the ability to inherit security controls from your cloud provider. These can be both industry-specific like HIPAA or HITRUST as well as more general like PCI DSS. If you inherit some controls, that can take the legwork out of audit prep and ultimately get you one step closer to passing those audits with flying colors.

Security

You may be used to accessing the public cloud via the internet, which is all good and fine, but leaves much to be desired in terms of security. That’s where on-ramps come in. When you invest in an on-ramp to the public cloud, you are ensuring that your connection is secure from end-to-end, no matter how many times you jump from your private storage to the public cloud. An on-ramp allows you to bypass public internet for direct cloud access, therefore blocking many of the threats that come with a public pathway. 

End User Satisfaction

It can be easy to see the benefits of on-ramps to public cloud in terms of your organization, but at the end of the day, if your customers aren’t satisfied with their access to your services, all of the flashy back-end features won’t mean anything. End users reap the following benefits from your decision to add an on-ramp rather than opting for public internet access to your cloud:

  • Improved access to customer services
  • Ease of use
  • Uninterrupted service, regardless of what cloud they’re in
  • More pathways for access, preventing bottlenecks

LightEdge Gives You the Power of “And”.

Multi-cloud solutions offer technical dexterity, scalability and security, giving organizations a competitive advantage in a rapidly evolving landscape. However, not all multi-cloud providers offer the same level of support, security, and compliance expertise, often asking you to pick and choose options that may feel limiting. Utilize our library of resources and expert staff to harness and leverage on-ramp options that give you the compliant, secure potential for growth that makes you feel the sky’s the limit, all while keeping an eye on your bottom line.

 LightEdge has secure and compliant data center locations at our Des MoinesKansas CityOmaha, Austin, and Raleigh data facilities. With LightEdge, you can achieve your multi-cloud migration goals. With a proven background working with regulated industries, our data center and hosting solutions provide you with confidence you need to meet your goals for scalable cloud infrastructure, in both private AND public environments.

Are you ready to unleash the power of “and” at your organization? Set up a call with a sales rep today to discuss your options.


Related Reading

Cost of Ownership: Public vs. Private Cloud Showdown

Cloud Disaster Recovery: What You Need to Know

Cloud Audits and Compliance: What You Need to Know

How to Manage Risk in the Cloud

Challenges Healthcare Faces in the Public Cloud

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Dan Kurtz

Dan is the Vice President of Business Development for LightEdge with an emphasis on Colocation and IBM Hosting. Dan is a results-oriented IT leader with more than 20 years’ experience in growing both consumer and B2B companies and brands. He specializes in B2B selling, strategic planning, partner channel creation, customer relationship management, and public speaking.

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