If CIOs and their IT organizations want to maintain their business relevance – and be in a position to expand their business contribution – they must leverage mobile and social, as well as new technologies and services for business innovation. They need to complete the shift to a services-based provisioning and consumption model. It’s also critical that they enable business to put Big Data and analytics to work, all while maintaining security and business continuity in an extended-platform world.All these roads lead to Hybrid Cloud.Hybrid clouds incorporate the advantages of both public and private clouds. They are more than just a bridge between the two. They offer access to a wide array of applications and services like public clouds, with the reliable performance and security for critical business applications of private clouds.The hybrid cloud model enables IT organizations to choose where they host their workloads. It also increases business agility – the flexibility to use a variety of services, the scalability to keep pace with business volume, the efficiency to keep costs to a minimum, and the ability to protect data and other technology assets.Want an even more rigorous definition? Hybrid cloud is an integrated, automated, scalable and secure platform for provisioning and consuming business applications, datasets and other technology services that originate either inside or outside an enterprise.We’ve put a lot of effort into implementations based on these criteria because it’s the capability companies need today. No contemporary corporation should settle for less.Heightened Security with Hybrid CloudOne of the immediate opportunities for hybrid cloud relates back to security. An added dimension to security today is real-time analysis of what’s happening across all of an enterprise’s networks. Traditional perimeter defenses are being redefined and supplemented to protect against the growing onslaught of cyber-intrusions.You can’t build a hard shell around the enterprise when your employees and customers can be anywhere anytime. On top of that, no one can prevent all intrusions, so it is increasingly vital to detect attacks and reduce their “dwell time.”Data analytics help spot anomalies quickly, isolate problems, and take action. This is like the non-stop, high-volume fraud detection applications used by credit card companies. It requires assembling, scanning and analyzing vast quantities of granular and diverse data. Hybrid clouds provide a scalable, efficient and manageable platform for these new “data lakes” needed for security analysis.In addition, securing sensitive business assets in the public cloud has become a serious pain point for companies. You have to negotiate how to map and recreate your security apparatus to fit into an external service level agreement. It’s laborious and results have not inspired confidence so far from what I hear. Companies lose data and transactions in public cloud failures. These public cloud security issues have limited the business flexibility that cloud is meant to deliver. This is not the case with hybrid clouds.CIOs know that their most important role isn’t provisioning and running the computing environment, essential as those activities are. It’s to encourage and enable their business to use technology strategically. This includes both implementing business strategy and formulating it in the first place. Hybrid cloud should be part of the business discussion today and the business capability tomorrow with the CIO leading the charge.This post is adapted from What CIOs Need to Know to Capitalize on Hybrid Cloud.