Atlantic.Net Blog

Hybrid Hosting – One Size Does Not Fit All

Kent Roberts
by Atlantic.Net (80posts) under HIPAA Compliant Hosting

A hosting service provider may tend to focus more on standardized packages or on its ability to customize and provide highly specialized service on a case-by-case basis. When a provider is known for its central attention to customization and creating unique systems to meet the challenges of organizations one at a time, they will often have to find ways to problem-solve sophisticated technical issues of their clients.

Again, customization of solutions should not be a standard expectation. Often a company will sell simplified one-size-fits-all plans or will simply offer external server management. On the other hand, a company with a broad array of customizable solutions will offer a range of services that could include dedicated servers and nodes, public cloud, private cloud, and colocation, along with managed services – all of which can be ingredients of a hybrid hosting setup.

Examples of Hybrid Hosting Solutions

In terms of different types of situations that benefit from a customized approach, here are a few:

A company will often want to improve its cost savings, security, and efficiency by transitioning to a cloud environment from an internal data center, colocation setup, or hosted servers. These customers might need services that will handle migration and management of the system, along with the infrastructure services that will allow them the raw resources to run their workloads and support to maintain their systems.

An organization might run an advertising demand-side platform (DSP) or other type of online ad network with very specific stipulations in terms of their IT space. They will have to find an environment that gives them incredible memory, processing, and network connectivity performance. At the same time, they need to be conscientious about cost since they do not have big margins with which to work. An organization of that type will generally want to use a public cloud plan along with some sort of private cloud. These two types of systems may or may not be fully integrated with one another by the provider.

A hosting client might need to have the strongest possible security mechanisms and protocols in place. These elements might include two-factor authentication (2FA), firewalls, and encrypted backup. Often the companies that will need this degree of security are those concerned with compliance – as is typical of healthcare organizations. A fully compliant setting can be provided by a host that has a properly designed system within public cloud; note that there should be total isolation of data and compute to allow for the greatest possible organizational control and agility.

One other type of company for which a hybrid setup is useful is an aviation business that specializes in flight controls. A firm of this type might want to use colocation services in order to maintain full control of the aspect of the system that they want to run through equipment they own. For the rest of their infrastructure, though, these companies will often choose to spin up servers on Public Cloud, allowing them to avoid a large initial expense and ongoing maintenance.

Priority #1 – Security

For many organizations, especially those in highly regulated industries such as healthcare, data security is the first priority. When security is a paramount concern, firms want to know the best practices in terms of storing something in a private cloud vs. a public one.

However, a high-quality hosting provider will have a data center audited to meet the exacting parameters of the Service Organization Control Reports (SOC 1 and SOC 2), formulated within the Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements No. 18 (SSAE 18), a standard developed by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Called “Reporting on Controls at a Service Organization,”

SSAE 16 is a highly respected set of guidelines used for auditing purposes, to check for appropriate security safeguards and other best-practice accounting and monitoring controls. The effort and expense required to get this voluntary certification is an indicator that a host cares about data safety, and that it wants to prove it.

Within an SSAE 16 compliant setting, backed by a hosting provider with years in the industry, anyone using the hybrid hosting provider should feel confident that they can get secure solutions in the full range of environments – dedicated servers and private cloud, as well as public cloud. Since many thought leaders have suggested recently that cloud might even outdo on-premise from a raw security perspective, more companies are transitioning their systems to cloud, including test environments. At many companies, very little of the infrastructure is now maintained internally.

Choosing a Hybrid Host

The challenge with setting up a customized solution is that it is, by its nature, unique. Setting up environments in this manner requires engineering skill and an environmental culture of flexibility. Specifically in terms of networking, you want an organization that commonly utilizes technologies such as virtual private networks (VPNs) and multi-protocol label switching (MPLS) so that communications can occur through standardized security protocols.

Are you looking for a hybrid host? At Atlantic.Net, we have a lot of flexibility and go as far as the client requires, with customized solutions configured to individual specifications, including HIPAA Managed Hosting. We are audited to meet SOC 1 and SOC 2 for broad SSAE 18 compliance, and offer years of networking and connectivity experience, having originally formed as an internet service provider (ISP). Extend your IT infrastructure.

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