A hybrid SharePoint environment refers to a deployment of both SharePoint Server and SharePoint Online. In a previous post we discussed the questions that an IT leader would need to ask before choosing one or the other, however there are many reasons why choosing both is the best solution.
1. To extend SharePoint Online functionality to remote workers.
Connecting a cloud system with the on-premises system expands SharePoint Online’s search capability to include data from other vendor’s systems that are connected using Microsoft’s Business Connectivity Services (BCS). This data can be accessed by using the search feature on SharePoint Online, making it accessible anywhere. This cannot be done without integrating Online and Server.
2. Synchronize look-and-feel across solutions by providing employees with one common SharePoint environment, regardless of location.
Instead of having on-premises SharePoint, and another solution for mobile workers like a VPN, a hybrid environment will require only a web browser to access, simplifying the process. Consistency is an important part of encouraging employees to use it.
3. To move into the cloud without breaking SharePoint 2010 customizations.
SharePoint’s versatility is probably its number one selling point, so some of the customization that is done is very impressive. Unfortunately, anytime a platform is upgraded there is a fair chance that those customizations will break. SharePoint Server 2013 has the ability to run certain pieces with 2010 code, ensuring those solutions still work. Most companies see the value in the cloud though, and want to begin or continue making inroads. A hybrid environment can accomplish this without the pains that rewriting SharePoint customizations would normally require.
4. As a way to determine best practices in the cloud.
Perhaps your company has already determined that the future is in the cloud, and now you’re looking for the best way to do so. Taking everything out of SharePoint 2010 and dumping it into a SharePoint Online 2013 environment is likely not the best course of action. Keeping the on-premises environment and complementing it with the cloud will allow for the business to test different use cases, take time to develop a comprehensive plan and ensure that the cloud environment starts neatly. A cluttered, confusing SharePoint is one that no one wants to use.
5. Concerns about privacy and/or security.
While Microsoft has ensured higher than government-level security at their data centres, some businesses and business leaders are simply not comfortable storing sensitive data in the cloud. For these people, a hybrid SharePoint environment works well since they can keep sensitive information on the Server, while moving less critical data into the cloud. The data is still accessible remotely through the Online portal, but is saved on company hardware rather than Microsoft’s.