In the debate as to whether a business would be better-served using a private or public cloud for data storage, the answer that has emerged is quite simple: All of the above.

The hybrid cloud would more often than not appear to be the best answer, as it combines the security of a private cloud with the speed and flexibility of the public cloud.

The debate, however, figures to rage on, as different companies have different needs. One thing that is indisputable, however, is the value of data: Globally it is worth some $3 trillion, trailing only the oil and banking industries. As a result, data integration technology, worth $6.44 billion in 2016, is expected to nearly double in value to $12.24 billion by 2022.

To date the use of public clouds is more common. Under that scenario, everything — every bit of infrastructure, every bit of hardware and software — is in the hands of a third-party provider. Things are more efficient and easier to use. A company has no worries about maintenance or reliability, and it doesn’t cost much to make use of the public cloud.

But, once again, security is a potential issue, as your business shares network space with others — no small matter, considering hackers stole some $12.8 billion of data in 2016 alone. And that is not the case with the private cloud. Yes, your IT team has to maintain it. But it can also customize it and make it more secure.

In a hybrid situation, however, a company can cherry-pick the best aspects of both technologies. There is the security of the private cloud and the reliability of the public cloud, all rolled into one. It was suggested in one report that it would be best to use the public cloud for such things as web-based email, while more sensitive data, such as financial reports, could be shielded in the private cloud.

Such a configuration also allows a business to break apart the data silos that can plague companies — i.e., the set-up under which different groups within the same walls are able to access certain information, while others cannot. One blog pointed out that that divide can fall under cultural, structural or technological lines, but the result is always the same — massive inefficiency.

Forbes noted that third-party providers have already begun to implement hybrid solutions, as evidenced by Microsoft (with Azure), HPE (with Cloud Tech Partners) or VMware (with Cloud Health Technologies).

To date cloud integration strategies can be divided into seven categories:

  1. iPaaS (Integration Platform as a Service): Application-programming interface (API) communication simplified, via a console.
  2. Big Data Integration Platform: Data collected from various sources and fed to external databases, via processors.
  3. Cloud Migration: Enterprise files transferred to the cloud.
  4. Ecommerce Data Integration: Ecommerce platforms melded with with external apps and databases.
  5. Enterprise Service Bus: Joining and monitoring of internal apps.
  6. Extract, Load and Transfer: The oldest service of the bunch; takes data from various sources, organizes it and delivers it to its final resting place.
  7. Stream Analytics: Coordinating and monitoring Internet of Things (IoT) endpoints.

No matter the path a business chooses, this would appear to be the wave of the future, the ultimate answer to an ongoing debate.