A hybrid cloud integrates a public, private, or on-premise infrastructure. It helps run the firm’s workload and apps. While the hybrid cloud offers many benefits, it has more moving parts and complexities. Do firms have the proper process to ensure optimal security in the hybrid cloud environment?
As per a recent report by Gigamon, “2023 Hybrid Cloud Security Survey,”
Hence, firms require complex configurations, monitoring systems, and data protection protocols to secure the hybrid cloud.
What is Hybrid Cloud Security?
Hewlett Packard Enterprise defines hybrid cloud security as:
“Hybrid cloud security is the multifaceted process of protecting infrastructure, data, and applications across several IT environments, including private clouds, public clouds, and on-premises hardware.”
“This complex methodology defends against both cyberattacks and malicious insiders and is often managed across multiple third-party providers and enterprises.”
What are the Most Pressing Hybrid Cloud Security Challenges?
1. Migration and Configuration
Gigamon’s report also states that
The hybrid environment’s complexity makes it hard for firms to ensure that the configuration is standardized and secured against threats. Moreover, they must consider policies that are applied uniformly and migrate their data and apps carefully.
As hybrid clouds offer diverse services, monitoring all of them is hard. Cloud services provide monitoring tools. Often, these tools are incompatible with existing solutions and won’t easily integrate.
3. Data Protection
A hybrid cloud facilitates data transfer between on-premise and cloud resources. But, the data is at risk of corruption and loss. Also, cloud access requires internet connectivity. This means that the data can be easily accessible, making the data in transit vulnerable to external attacks.
4. Compliance Issues
Hybrid clouds pose significant compliance challenges. Firms must adhere to data sovereignty laws and GDPR. Gigamon’s report states that
What are the Best Practices for a Secure Hybrid Cloud Environment?
1. Conduct Regular Audits
Cloud services and default settings require changes to align with the evolving security needs. In the cloud, firms can obtain audit data readily via API frameworks.
They can build steady audit and review plans using these APIs and the cloud vendor’s existing audit functionality. This helps enhance security, risk, and audit posture. Moreover, audits help identify misconfigurations and optimize performance.
Geoff Swaine, VP APJ at CrowdStrike, says, “Regular scanning of container images for vulnerabilities and continuous audits for real-time visibility and compliance checks are essential.”
2. Uniform Data Encryption
Encryption is critical in keeping data secure while transferring between clouds, users, or devices. Weak encryption protocols can expose data being moved through the network as traffic. Therefore, consistent data encryption will help secure valuable assets, regardless of whether it is at rest or in transit.
Swaine agrees, “Securing connections between multiple cloud infrastructures is crucial. Since hybrid cloud environments involve integrating on-premises infrastructure and multiple cloud service providers, ensuring secure and encrypted communication between these components is essential for data protection and preventing unauthorized access. ”
3. Adopt the Zero Trust Principle
The zero trust principle restricts the interaction of new resources with an environment until they are considered fair and secure. For the hybrid cloud, this means limiting new local servers to joining a hybrid infrastructure until validated. Gigamon’s report states that
“A zero trust approach should be adopted for new applications and tools. Prioritizing cloud identity protection and gaining visibility into security gaps are critical”, adds Swaine.
4. Set up a Monitoring System
When running hybrid systems, firms must not trust the public cloud entirely. This is because no network infrastructure or software system is free of errors. Hence, scanning suspicious movements over the hybrid cloud is vital.
Swaine also added, “Real-time monitoring and prompt patching of vulnerabilities are vital to stay ahead of threats. Monitoring for unusual behavior, such as unauthorized access or configuration changes, is necessary.”
A wide monitoring system helps track the network’s performance and addresses vulnerabilities. Setting up end to end monitoring helps capture the ingress and egress data traffic.
More importantly, the costs of hybrid cloud setups scale fast, so tracking the issues that make the cloud infrastructure less efficient becomes essential.
5. Plan Backup and Recover Strategies
A robust security method prevents manual errors. A fixed backup and recovery planning ensures that the team follows a similar security approach across all systems.
While the team might operate across various cloud environments, a consistent and uniform security strategy can yield the best possible results.
These strategies also ensure that encryptions, password protection, and authorizations are implemented across every system. This protects firms against all possible security breaches.
Here’s an example- admin staff uses the system’s infrastructure (public or on-premises) to manage customer data. Hence, to prevent data breaches, ensure that password authentication and encryption are implemented across each system consistently.
As environments turn to clouds, it becomes essential for firms to expand their security monitoring abilities. They must review security data to determine issues and mitigate them.
Also, security automation is highly beneficial for hybrid cloud security. This demands configuring various devices on the network to obtain relevant logs and security data. It can be further supported by expert security analysts who will design and optimize the scripts behind the automation.
Swaine also agrees that “Networking and security experts should carefully review network topology. This involves analyzing the structure and configuration of the network to understand how different components and services are interconnected.”
To further enhance security, consider permissions of role based categories. It simplifies permission management and reduces possible threat profiles during account compromise or misuse events.