In a hybrid environment, there are different scenarios. You will have virtual hardware, non-virtualized hardware, private and public clouds which come together to support workloads of organizations. When small and medium sized enterprises are keen to build up an infrastructure, they are not sure whether they should do so in their own premises or outside. Ideally, the best choice for them is to use both these scenarios. When SMBs choose a hybrid environment, they can enjoy better control and quicker access. The security is top-notch as you would expect in an on-site facility. At the same time, these businesses can benefit from cost-savings, better agility and higher flexibility which a public cloud will offer. What makes a hybrid approach more desirable for these enterprises is that this can be deployed faster. Such businesses will not have to get bogged down because of complexity of traditional IT tasks and high expenses. It is important to understand the problems which these small enterprises can face when they try to manage IT on their own. This will also highlight the benefits which a hybrid approach will offer them. Why do you need a hybrid approach? When you are just starting out you may prefer to sign up with cloud hosting because it is affordable and there are no legacy issues of concern. On the other hand, those businesses which were already there will continue to keep their on-site set-ups. This is however not the best solution for the kinds of issues which the SMBs have to face today. It is then that these start-ups and established businesses realize that choosing one option over the other may not help them in the long run. In short, they stand to gain when they adopt a hybrid approach. To prove this argument, studies have been undertaken on many small and medium businesses and the problems facing them. The biggest challenge was found to be data security and data privacy. Regulatory compliance is another significant concern. This concern is not so profound where the organizations stick to either cloud or on-site hosting. While it is useful to get both cloud and on-premise hosting to work in sync, it turns out to be a stumbling block in reality. Factors that have increased popularity of a hybrid approach: Small businesses work on a tight budget; they are likely to choose a hosting solution depending on how costly the ongoing maintenance is. These businesses prefer their on-site architecture to work closely with cloud-based platforms. These should not only run well independently but also enhance each other’s performance when they work together. Like the larger businesses, smaller enterprises seek solutions which let them scale their infrastructure easily to meet new demands. They are also keen to ensure that they are able to allocate the right workload to the right platforms. So, while there are some workloads which need the flexibility of clouds, there are others which need the control and speed of on-site facilities. When they choose a hybrid approach, they can get the benefit of quick deployment of applications, cost-savings and scalability from the cloud. Side by side, they can enjoy the heightened security guaranteed by on-site systems. Statistics reveal that those small businesses choosing a hybrid setting are faring better than their competitors who have not yet been bitten by the hybrid bug. Organizations choosing a hybrid approach have been found to enjoy better site performance and higher scalability; they have also reduced downtime significantly. A hybrid approach however does not suggest that the business has to compromise in any way. Incidentally, businesses choosing the hybrid cloud hosting solutions were found to enjoy nearly double the IT flexibility. They can choose to leverage cloud and on-site hosting which offers them this flexibility. Hybrid businesses will witness fewer down times besides this increased flexibility. However, to enjoy the benefits of a hybrid approach, they must follow some practices: To start with, these smaller sized businesses will have to design systems which have the power to scale upwards and which are reliable. They should evaluate their own infrastructure needs. There are many businesses that do not realize the real need for cloud hosting. They have to righty understand what operations should be handled by the cloud and which should be on-premise. Secondly, these businesses must be aware of their own technology needs. It is not possible to improve an existing system if you do not understand how it works. You have to make sure your on-site systems can adapt to a hybrid world. When on-site systems are faulty and outdated, businesses cannot enjoy the real benefits of a hybrid approach. When businesses become capable of using both on-site and cloud solutions, they can get the best of both worlds. These businesses have to build an infrastructure which can cater to your future needs too. This is because technologies will keep emerging and opportunities will keep coming. The challenges will be new and different and these small enterprises must be prepared to cope with these. When they have a hybrid infrastructure which is both flexible and agile, handling these new technologies becomes easier.