A hybrid cloud can be understood as an integrated network deployment that combines one or more public cloud hosting environments while also supporting private cloud hardware. With almost all enterprise companies engaged in implementing hybrid cloud infrastructure in one way or another, hybrid cloud security has become a primary concern for companies the world over. In this article, we will try and look at some of the challenges that hybrid cloud security has to face as well as the steps involved in developing an effective hybrid cloud security strategy. Cloud Services Vermont, can you help your local business implement hybrid cloud infrastructure.

Hybrid Cloud Security Challenges

Compliance and Governance

There is a reason why companies in highly regulated spaces such as healthcare have not been very keen on adopting cloud computing in a hurry. Some of them have only relegated non-critical or no sensitive tasks and data to the cloud. Unsurprisingly, these companies can be a bit paranoid about data security, as any breach or carelessness in handling highly sensitive data can lead to legal ramifications for them. However, cloud services have matured over the years, and most industries are now involved in integrating them into their critical work processes. That said, the hybrid cloud still poses significant security challenges for companies involved in healthcare, finance, the public sector and other highly regulated areas of business. The biggest challenge comes from the fact that these companies still have to manually check for regulatory compliance. As can be expected, this process is tedious, resource-intensive and time-consuming. This also leads to results that can be highly error-prone, as the complexity of dealing with a mix of heterogeneous systems in the cloud and on-premises cannot be underestimated. On top of this, manually configured changes may not register at times, resulting in not repeatable processes and cannot be shared easily in case of security audits. In such cases, companies must exert themselves to implement automation wherever possible, especially for the scanning and remediation of security controls. The best way for companies would be to use open source tools to achieve this. This will enable them to have better visibility into specific tasks as well as allow them to scale these tasks as needed.

Visibility and Control

More and more companies are starting to go beyond physical machines and virtualization in their infrastructure. As companies start mixing public and private clouds, the resulting infrastructures also increase complexity and risk exposure. As complexity increases, visibility into specific systems and tasks decreases. With lower visibility, companies lack control over all the distributed systems in their infrastructure. In complex scenarios, manual monitoring of security and compliance is not enough, and manual patching and configuration management can lead to security loopholes. It becomes difficult to track configuration changes and even implement new features such as self-service systems. In such an environment, collaboration becomes difficult, and there have been roadblocks in the past to agile development and deployment. Again, the answer lies in companies aggressively implementing automation, including infrastructure as code and security as code. This enables a greater degree of repeatability and sharing, making it more convenient for organizations to pass security audits. Heterogeneous infrastructure requires a comprehensive and centralized management tool (hopefully, open-source) to enable visibility across the framework.

Data Leakage

Hybrid cloud environments are complex architectures where sensitive data can be compromised in ways that administrators have not perceived yet. This can include corruption, destruction, improper access, or legitimate loss of data. A secure private cloud does run the risk of being accidentally shared with the public cloud in a hybrid cloud environment. This makes it critical for companies to evaluate their cloud services provider's security protocols and data practices and ensure the carryover of security strategies from on-premise to the public cloud.

3 Key Steps to Building your Hybrid Cloud Security Strategy

Make use of standardized processes.

One of the key steps in implementing an effective hybrid cloud security strategy is to standardize all business processes and security processes currently in use in both their public and private clouds. The cost of not doing this can result in human errors, and security gets down the path. Even though cloud service providers do their best to provide the best cloud security to their clients, it is ultimately up to the data owners and companies to ensure they have the correct configuration in public clouds. Some of the worst data breaches have recently happened due to avoidable configuration errors. Similarly, companies also need to ensure that processes of transferring assets such as virtual machines or databases between on-premise and cloud-based environments are also standardized. Hybrid Cloud Solutions designed by Managed IT Services Vermont can help your business capitalize on true competitive advantage.

Always Encrypt Data

Companies should be encrypting data anyway. But this is especially important for ensuring the security of your hybrid infrastructure. Encrypting data in transit and at rest ensures that hackers are never able to use the data even if they manage to breach the defences of the network. Increasingly, cloud service providers are starting to offer data encryption as an embedded feature of their security packages. However, companies still need to pay close attention to coordinating encryption between public and private clouds so that they can confirm the same standard of encryption everywhere.

Isolate Critical Infrastructure

Companies should make use of network segmentation to isolate mission-critical systems as much as possible. This principle applies irrespective of whether the systems are on public or private cloud, and they must always be cut off from other systems. Access to mission-critical systems should only be granted to users with the highest possible clearance levels and those with an actual job rule linked to the systems (such as IT administrators). For more information on hybrid cloud security and hybrid cloud benefits, please refer to IT Support Vermont.

About Steve:
Steve Loyer is the president and CEO of Tech Group, LLC. Computer consulting Vermont company. With over 25 years of sales and service experience in network and network security solutions, Steve has earned technical and sales certificates from Microsoft, Cisco, Hewlett Packard, Citrix, Sonicwall, Symantec, and McAfee, Barracuda and American Power Conversion. Steve graduated from Vermont Technical College with a degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technology.