The art of seamlessly integrating cloud and on-premise

Samuel Farag from Frends explains the challenges and solutions for the seamless integration of hybrid cloud environments.

Samuel Farag


Samuel Farag

Solution Consultant

Whether applications, data or processes - gaining control over your own digital infrastructure is a valuable asset today. The problem: networks in companies are at risk of becoming increasingly heterogeneous due to the introduction of diverse systems, devices and infrastructures. It is therefore increasingly important to ensure the connectivity of previously insufficiently networked IT landscapes. This is because the greater the number of solutions in use, the greater the administrative and management effort involved, which also increases the risk of potential errors and creates dependencies on individuals - so-called cluster risks.

Companies therefore need a comprehensively integrated system landscape to ensure that they remain competitive in the future. The seamless integration of cloud and on-premise systems is crucial for companies that want to get the most out of their IT infrastructures. However, this complex process harbours numerous challenges. It is therefore worth taking a look at the top challenges in the seamless integration of hybrid cloud environments to derive appropriate solutions.

Mastering the complexity of system landscapes

The promise of cloud-based services and systems is often to reduce costs and simplify IT management. However, in order to utilise the full added value of these solutions, they must first be integrated into the existing IT landscape. Hybrid IT landscapes often consist of a mixture of cloud and on-premise systems that use different interfaces and data formats. If a company has extensive legacy systems on site while at the same time using modern cloud applications, things get complicated. For example, this could be a manufacturing company that collects and analyses real-time data from its production facilities. To reduce latency and network traffic, this data is usually processed locally and close to the application. However, some of the data obtained must also be seamlessly integrated into the company-wide cloud ERP solution. The complexity here lies not only in the technical integration, but also in the standardisation of data models and ensuring consistent data quality.

Ensuring data consistency

The challenges of data formatting and standardisation are well illustrated by a financial services company pursuing a hybrid cloud strategy. It needs to integrate data from multiple sources, including internal legacy systems, external partner APIs and cloud-based SaaS applications. The heterogeneous data formats and structures require precise transformation to ensure that the data can be interpreted and processed correctly. An error in formatting can lead to incorrect analyses or even legal consequences. Therefore, not only the transformation and integration of the data is required in this case, but also its validation. A validation mechanism establishes rules and constraints to recognise and correct potential data errors at an early stage. This can mean, for example, checking date formats, numerical values, duplicates or the integration of more complex validation scripts. This avoids serious errors and ensures the quality of the data. Particularly in hybrid IT landscapes, granular control over data changes and flows is necessary in order to quickly identify sources of error.

Take security and compliance to heart

Particularly in sensitive industries such as healthcare, fine-grained control over data flows and access is crucial in terms of security and compliance. A hospital that stores patient data both locally and in the cloud must ensure that all data protection regulations are adhered to in order to avoid fines and maintain patient trust. In fact, the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) also provides for an exceptional level of protection for this so-called personal health data. This presents companies with numerous legal as well as practical challenges that need to be mastered, for example in IT management.

Role-based access controls, multi-level authentication mechanisms and monitoring functions to detect and prevent suspicious activities are required. The encryption of data transfers and storage using modern cryptographic encryption algorithms such as AES and the secure management of encryption keys are also important to ensure the integrity of the encryption process. The same applies to other access keys used within the hybrid IT environment, such as API keys, secrets or access tokens.

Establishing connectivity and interoperability

To ensure connectivity and interoperability between cloud and on-premise systems, companies should rely on proven standards such as RESTful APIs and message brokering. These offer a structured approach for the development of interfaces and the exchange of data between different systems. API gateways enable secure access to cloud resources and facilitate interaction with internal systems. Providing consistent APIs and a governance model for internal APIs are key to ensuring interoperability and seamless integration. This also ensures that internal systems can securely access cloud services without exposing sensitive data. At the same time, the cloud services are enabled to communicate and exchange data with the internal systems in order to efficiently support business processes. A governance model for internal APIs regulates standards with regard to API design, lifecycle and compliance.

Taming the digital silo monster - mastering hybrid environments

Mastering the complexity of hybrid IT landscapes requires a solution approach based on proven standards and technologies. Supported by Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) tools, companies can streamline complex integration tasks while improving the flexibility and scalability of their IT infrastructure. iPaaS solutions such as those from Frends are used as a digital command centre for all integration activities and processes. In addition, automation solutions can be used to speed up integration and minimise human error. Companies should also make sure to train their employees accordingly so that they can effectively manage and support the hybrid environment.

Success factors for efficient integration with iPaaS

Even with digitalisation projects already underway, the formation of silos within IT jeopardises the efficiency and performance of companies and therefore their competitiveness. The integration of cloud and on-premise systems in a company's IT landscape is a complex process that requires careful planning and implementation. By mastering the complexity, ensuring data consistency, complying with security standards and establishing connectivity and interoperability, the challenges can be successfully overcome and the added value of the IT solutions maximised. A strategic approach and the use of suitable tools and technologies such as Frends iPaaS are crucial to ensure efficient integration. Application integrations can be managed quickly and easily so that technical departments can be involved from the outset and retain control over IT.