Servers & Systems: The Right Compute

4 hybrid IT strategy tips for SMBs

As SMBs struggle to build a hybrid IT infrastructure, here are four critical tips that will help build a hybrid solution in a simple, secure and affordable way.

SMB_Hybrid IT tips_social.jpgLike many small-business IT solutions, implementing a hybrid IT architecture can present significant challenges to your business operations. This is especially true if you have limited funds and insufficient IT staff to deploy the project successfully.

Defined as an IT infrastructure that utilizes both on-premises and cloud solutions, a hybrid IT model can be complex to build. That's why HPE has tailored its SMB offerings to support a hybrid IT ecosystem that's simple, secure, and affordable for you to install. With that in mind, here are four tips to further ease your transition.

1. Choose hardware that can support your goals

As you capture more information about your customers and your business, you can expect your data to grow exponentially. You'll need the right hardware to derive actionable insights from the data you amass, as well as to provide your customers with enhanced digital experiences.

That's where hybrid IT comes in. Creating a dynamic digital business is easy with a hybrid IT architecture that boosts the performance, security, speed, and agility of your servers, storage, and networking equipment.

For example, the HPE ProLiant rack and tower servers provide advanced performance and eliminate complexity through simplified management tools and automation capabilities. They are agile enough to handle both traditional on-premises applications and cloud applications as well. Security is also covered: The servers are embedded with an unalterable digital fingerprint in the silicon. This fingerprint confirms that the firmware code booted into the hardware is valid and isn't compromised. Dubbed the Silicon Root of Trust, this fingerprint enables HPE servers to reject compromised firmware before ever booting up.

If your medium-sized business of around 500 to 1,000 employees has a data center where you're ramping up your hybrid IT architecture, HPE can also help. Through a hyperconverged infrastructure, the company delivers storage, virtualization, and networking services for guest applications, among other benefits.

Furthermore, as your company increasingly uses cloud computing, mobile devices, and the Internet of Things, you'll discover that HPE's networking solutions for SMBs offer an integrated wired and wireless access portfolio and built-in security that supports mobile devices and cloud-based applications.

2. Ensure every decision supports the business

Building a hybrid IT architecture will force you to make decisions that will impact critical aspects of your business. There's no one-size-fits all solution. Rather, you must decide how best to support your business objectives.

As you find the right balance between your cloud platforms and on-premises hardware solutions, you'll have to develop a data management strategy. For example, you'll have to determine which applications to host in the cloud and which to keep on premises.

Consider keeping mission-critical applications close to your users at your headquarters. This may include financial applications or data that's governed by federal or state regulations. Even though these applications tend to generate heavier workloads consisting of larger volumes of data, which may be latency sensitive, keeping them on premises is still a solid choice for a number of reasons. For example, your own data center may be better prepared to mitigate network slowdowns, delays, or outages. It may also have a better reaction time than a cloud provider when it comes to troubleshooting IT problems.

But moving some applications to the cloud has benefits as well. In a CompTIA survey of 502 executives—which comprised one-third small companies, one-third medium-sized firms, and one-third large corporations—small companies said cloud computing's top benefits are simplicity and speed in implementation, as well as independence for their business units.

There are other decisions to consider if you're building or updating your data center hardware, including the all-important cost. With HPE GreenLake, you can lease on-premises equipment on a pay-as-you-go consumption basis without the burden of huge upfront investments.

3. Find a hybrid IT partner to bolster your efforts

Making the transition to a hybrid IT solution can be challenging, especially for SMBs with fewer than 100 employees. For starters, financial constraints often mean your business isn't in a position to hire a team of IT staff. Additionally, IT staff often have a full plate of other responsibilities.

For these reasons, finding an IT partner can save you a lot of hassle. For example, managed service providers (MSPs), systems integrators, value-added resellers (VARs), and other IT service providers can help you augment your team's IT skills. These partners can also support daily tasks such as installation, IT integration services, and the management of selected workloads and services.

MSPs, systems integrators, and VARs have the added benefit of being channel partners to original equipment manufacturers and cloud providers. As such, they can offer their customers special discounts on products, which can be financially advantageous to SMBs.

The HPE-sponsored Cloud28+ community, a global cloud computing marketplace, can help you find the right cloud services and partners to help on your hybrid IT journey.

4. Secure your small business IT solutions

Every business operating in today's digital world knows that a data breach can be financially burdensome and can damage a company's reputation irreparably. As you build your hybrid IT model, several factors can impact where you keep your data, such as whether the data is mission critical or governed by regulations.

In the case of healthcare, for example, small physician practices know that if their patient data is breached and they are found in violation of the federal government's HIPAA rules, they could face fines of more than $100,000, according to AAP News.

As you build your hybrid IT architecture, you have a chance to classify and prioritize your data, as well as implement policies and procedures that govern how the data is stored, accessed, and maintained.

Remember that HPE can help you choose the right hardware and supporting programs that will make your hybrid IT architecture secure, easy to use, and affordable.

For more information about the best ways to implement a hybrid IT project that can drive innovation in your company's operations, check out the SMB Hybrid IT for Dummies guide.


Meet Server Experts blogger Nicole Lewis. Nicole is an independent journalist who covers public policy, technology and business. She has reported extensively on health information technology for InformationWeek and has written several articles for Tech Target, where her published work includes stories on issues facing IT service providers that are implementing cloud computing, artificial intelligence, blockchain and other technologies for their customers. Nicole was a senior editor at Electronic Buyers' News covering developments in high-tech manufacturing. She holds a master's degree in journalism from Georgetown University.

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