What are your thoughts on remote work? Prior to the COVID pandemic, your company may have been thinking along the lines of gradually transitioning some of your systems to a remote setting. But then lockdowns forced the issue. Companies had to shift to remote work in a matter of weeks. The whole COVID experience has revealed a lot of things that were previously hidden. It revealed the necessity for strong and robust infrastructure supported by a fully trained IT staff equipped with the necessary resources to keep things running. Far too many companies failed in this regard. They kept things going, but barely. The solution moving forward is to move parts of your workforce into the cloud but still keep the data centre as your foundation. This hybrid solution offers the best of both worlds. The cloud allows remote access to data and key applications, while the data centre offers cost savings, robust IT support, and much more. Infrastructure Is Already There More than one company jumped into the remote work pool last year only to discover that their infrastructure was inadequate. During the first few weeks of global lockdowns, commercial investments in infrastructure went through the roof. Suppliers couldn't keep up with hardware orders. Moving in-house equipment to a data centre solves that problem for one simple reason: the infrastructure is already there. Data centres and colocation providers already have working cloud environments standing by, ready to go. Your company doesn't have to invest in any new hardware. Your IT team doesn't have to spend valuable time setting up and maintaining a whole new network environment to support your legacy software. Management doesn't have to lie awake at night worried about security issues. The Hybrid Approach Offers It All For every company that struggled to make it through lockdowns with limited infrastructure, there was another that made the transition nearly seamlessly. Companies barely affected by the rush to remote work were in a good position because they had already transitioned to the hybrid model – a model that offers it all. In the cloud, a company can access all of its software and applications. Some may be accessed via subscriptions to software-as-a-service (SaaS) options. Others are accessed as proprietary applications moved from a company's local infrastructure to the data centre. Either way, both environments are up and running 24/7. The hybrid model offers nearly 100% uptime, especially when data environments are backed up in multiple locations, kept separate from one another. And with that uptime, data remains accessible from virtually anywhere in the world. The hybrid model also offers: Scalability– Moving your data and apps to a data centretakes full advantage of scalability. Everything scales up on-demand. Your growth is seamless from an IT perspective. Security– Data Centres aremore secure than ever. Every bit of data is protected on multiple fronts. Hardware, software, and business applications are hardened against outside attacks by the latest security technologies. Shared Storage– Moving to a hybrid environmentoffers access to shared storage regardless of your company's needs. Shared storage is an integral part of remote work inasmuch as not everyone is in the same location. Agile IT– Data centresoffer your IT team a measure of agility it doesn't otherwise have. Providers offer as little or as much assistance as your team needs. You can share responsibilities, let them handle it all, or just use their services on demand. Given the state of the modern data centre, there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of motivation to keep data servers on site. That leaves companies like yours with one big decision: work with a dedicated colocation provider or an in-house data centre. Migrating Your Servers Colocation offers the opportunity to keep your own servers but move them to a separate location where they are professionally managed. It offers a bit more flexibility along with the ability to continue using the same applications, even if they are linked to a cloud environment. In a colocation setting, you are not moving everything to a separate cloud environment. You are simply moving your servers. Migrating to a hybrid environment via a data centre is your other option. It is the more complicated of the two, but it also offers additional benefits you can't get from colocation. The biggest one is no longer having to invest in infrastructure or hardware. That takes money from the capital expenditures column and puts it back in the daily operations column. No matter which path you choose, now is the time to move your workforce into the cloud by way of key data and applications. But don't abandon the data centre. Combining the two in a hybrid model offers the best of both worlds – and worries about hardware and infrastructure.