In this blog post
The Challenges in Securing the Hybrid Cloud
The cloud dust took more time to settle than experts had envisaged. The clear agreement running across industries and businesses is that hybrid infrastructure is the way to go. The hybrid model features a blend of cloud and the existing on-premise IT infrastructure and delivers everything that organizations need to compete at the highest level – scalability, flexibility, performance, and above all, cost savings. No wonder organizations are accelerating their infrastructure transformation initiatives. Many have already transitioned and more are in line to go from a fully on-premise infrastructure to fully cloud or to a combination of the two – Hybrid.
The hybrid model gives organizations and their key stakeholders complete control over choosing the right environment for their IT assets. What it also does is to allow organizations to keep business critical data and applications on the local servers and still experience the benefits that public and private cloud environments have to offer.
Having said that, there are some concerns about hybrid cloud security, including data security, protection, and compliance that still need to be addressed before a real push towards hybrid infrastructure could be made on a global level. And as is the case with any change in enterprise infrastructure, organizations need to properly run through the existing security infrastructure and processes and assess the need for adaptation to the hybrid model. In essence, going the hybrid way eventually helps organizations to get their security to the next level. But for that to happen, organizations need to make cyber security a key part of their hybrid cloud strategy. Else, they will end up jeopardizing their security by bringing in newer risks without knowing what exactly those are and what could be done to eliminate them.
Cloud security is critical and the findings of the 2018 Cloud Security Report by Cyber security Insiders is a good case in point. It revealed that 90% of cyber security professionals are worried about cloud security – the percentage is significantly higher than what it was in 2017. Hybrid cloud security is a complex and time-consuming undertaking as it involves two completely opposite poles of the IT infrastructure and computing world. However, there are things that organizations can do to make things a lot easier for themselves.
- Follow standard processes across the organization. The most probable reason behind compromised cloud security is the implementation of different processes for different cloud environments. And there are those organizations as well that aren’t able to properly implement the security processes, most of which are specific to an organization’s overall cyber security needs and objectives. However, there are a few processes that should be a part of the cloud security strategy as best practices.
So, organizations should emphasize the importance of following the same processes across cloud and on-premise environments. What also needs to be done to enhance security of cloud assets is using layers of encryption that is figuratively impossible to break. An example of the point we are trying to make here is that if developers don’t match the credential settings of database administrative accounts across the board – cloud and on-premise, data breaches that they may have to deal with due to the negligence in following standard process, could skyrocket before they know it. To prevent leaving sensitive business and customer data out in the open for cyber vultures to attack, organizations should ensure that there are standard procedures in place to manage the juggling of assets between the two completely different environments in the hybrid model.
- Hybrid cloud security isn’t just the responsibility of the organization. Where most things break in the hybrid model is the point when the two parties – an organization and a cloud service provider don’t understand the importance of sharing the burden for the success of the hybrid cloud security endeavour.
Most organizations believe that when their data is transferred from their local systems to the cloud, they have nothing left to do. This is an error in judgment and a mistake that could lead them having to look over their shoulders when it comes to the security of their systems and data. Their proactive involvement is the key to ensuring that they get the best out of their cloud partner’s capabilities. If both the parties don’t work in tandem, the minutest of error on-premise could bring the most confidential data out in the public, which can dent the organization’s reputation beyond repair.
- Visibility and ownership across infrastructure. What most organizations are finding difficult to deal with when it comes to the hybrid model is not having a unified, 360o bird’s eye view to both their on-premise and cloud assets. And that’s one of the reasons they are not able to deal with possible loopholes in either one of them as efficiently as they should. Visibility is only a part of the problem. Defining ownership of data and assets for the entire infrastructure is as important a concern and something that shouldn’t be taken lightly considering the impact it can have on hybrid cloud security.
Much of the concerns relating to hybrid cloud security have to do with the protection of data. To strengthen data protection, organizations need to think beyond encryption. They need to look for and adopt other techniques as well that can ensure the protection of data across the entire infrastructure. A lot of groundwork needs to be done before organizations can make the transition from their existing infrastructure to the hybrid model. They need to assess their needs, approach, and goals to streamline the transition process.