CloudSecurity

What Is Hybrid Cloud Security

What Is A Hybrid Cloud?

The orchestration of several platforms that characterize hybrid cloud technology enables activities to flow between public, private, or on-premises clouds as computing requirements and costs vary. Consequently, it gives enterprises higher stability and more alternatives for data deployment.

Hybrid Cloud Architecture

Consider that one application needs greater computing capacity than others, and the on-premises data center has more capacity than the cloud server. The organization can freely shift the application to its in-house data center.

IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service) is also incorporated into a hybrid cloud architecture. It allows buying an off-premises computer with a CPU, RAM, and hard disc space. The setup’s specifications are customizable for the required functionality to accomplish business goals without excess payout on unnecessary or redundant functions.

Resources can be connected over a LAN or a WAN when connecting the components of a hybrid cloud. Other options are API or VPN. Management software allows for handling different environments and resources. It helps the IT staff to maintain the hybrid cloud system security and modify its functionality to meet the company requirements best.

Types Of Hybrid Cloud Environments

Several distinct cloud environments can combine to form a hybrid cloud architecture. A corporation may combine several forms of hybrid cloud computing resources depending on the needs of its IT system.

Private Clouds

Private clouds are housed on hardware solely available to users within a single company. It may be proprietary infrastructure owned by an organization or infrastructure provided by a third party. Private clouds give businesses greater control than public clouds but are also more costly and challenging to implement.

Public Clouds

Resources like SaaS applications are accessible remotely through public cloud services from third parties (Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, and Amazon Web Services AWS, etc.) either at no cost or with various price options. Customers are liable for data security, while public cloud providers are liable for protecting the infrastructure.

On-premises Private Cloud

A private, on-premises cloud is one where only one corporation, possibly with many business units using the services, uses the cloud infrastructure. The hardware that makes up the cloud is retained on-site.

On-premises (Legacy)

An internal data center supports the infrastructure when it is built up using an on-premises legacy configuration. However, cloud hosting services can also connect to an on-premises traditional infrastructure.

Data sensitivity accounts for cloud data which depends on governmental or corporate regulations and data type. Extremely sensitive data is maintained in a private cloud, and less sensitive data is maintained in a public cloud.

What Is Hybrid Cloud Security?

The tools and procedures used to safeguard resources, infrastructure, applications, and sensitive data in a hybrid cloud environment that combines a mix of private cloud, on-premises, and public cloud platforms are collectively called hybrid cloud security.

It involves implementing controls across multiple clouds, service providers, and other on-premises elements and guaranteeing data security at rest and in transit. Security teams can control security permissions, policies, etc., from a single point of control with efficient hybrid cloud security frameworks that combine protection and enhanced security measures across complicated cloud deployments.

Components Of Hybrid Cloud Security

For hybrid cloud security, corporations must understand the cloud architecture elements (servers, networking, storage, applications, middleware, operating systems, data, and virtualization). Cloud security issues depend on the service type. Both organizations and cloud service providers share responsibility for maintaining hybrid cloud security.

The hybrid cloud requires multi-level security, including:

  1. Physical security.
  2. Technical security.
  3. Administrative security.

Physical Security

Cloud service providers must maintain the physical security of public cloud services. It is essential to prevent intrusions and erect barriers around the IT assets of an organization. The internal infrastructure for the private cloud must have:

  • Locks.
  • Security cameras.
  • Security parameters.
  • Protected environment.
  • Restricted physical access.

Technical Security

It is necessary to enforce Numerous security protocols and safeguards to maintain effective data protection and avoid data breaches, such as:

Endpoint Security

Remote access necessitates endpoint security management and control. Devices are vulnerable to theft, loss, and hacking, opening the door to a hybrid cloud and all its resources and information. Devices have local ports for printing or USB drives. Activities of remote workers on these ports must be tracked and recorded, along with restricted access.

Cloud Patching

It resolves security vulnerabilities in cyberattack compromised applications and software. Cloud patching keeps the operating system updated and helps lower security risks for the hybrid cloud infrastructure.

Encryption

Data in transit travel across cloud levels (SaaS, PaaS, IaaS) and the network. Data at rest is stored. Both require encryption and protection. The encryption feature is not enabled by default; hence data at rest is usually not encrypted.

Access Management

Establish routine access arrangements and check any unusual activity or patterns that might indicate a security risk. Evaluation and monitoring of access by technology, people, or related sources are essential. It includes:

  • Network access points.
  • Time.
  • Date.
  • Location, etc.

Multi-Tenancy Security

The cloud environment logically separates all clients and tenants. There are virtual borders between all tenants. If resources are misallocated, or a tenant’s data overflows, it can also affect others and give data access to hackers. Hence, data isolation and configuration are essential to prevent interference.

Automation Orchestration

Delayed manual responses are eliminated in hybrid cloud environments through automation orchestration. Human error elimination requires automation of monitoring, suitable responses, implementation, and compliance checking. Continuous enhancement and examination of the responses are necessary.

Administrative Security

It includes written policies and guidelines like:

  • Employee education.
  • Processes for assessing security risks.
  • Data protection policies.
  • Disaster recovery strategies.

Employee Education

A security-conscious culture is essential for enterprises. Individuals’ actions are among the biggest security threats to the corporation. Hackers aim to gain access to any firm through workers, partners, service providers, and independent software retailers. Education and training of staff, partners, and contractors can help prevent security threats.

Data Protection Policies

Zero Trust Architecture (ZTA) guiding principles and protocols continuously analyze trustworthy cloud environments’ access, limiting access to basic privileges. Excessive access to a person or technological solution results in a security breach. Hence, data governance is essential.

Disaster Recovery

Disaster recovery and determining hybrid cloud architectures usage necessitate risk assessments and business impact analysis (BIA). It includes data redundancy concerns and cloud architecture placement for prompt attack recovery and service availability.

Security Risk Assessment

Social engineering is a security risk for individuals and organizations. Hackers can access data for malicious acts against corporations or employees. Hence, it is essential to safeguard against social engineering, baiting, phishing, etc.

Apart from these, another component of hybrid cloud security is:

Supply Chain Management

Analyzing third-party platforms, software, and infrastructure security vulnerabilities is important. Installing hacked or compromised third-party software can give hackers unrestricted access to a company’s hybrid cloud environment. Ensure checking third-party software approaches and implement protected security controls for their offerings.

Hybrid Cloud Security Challenges

Securing a hybrid environment differs significantly from securing a traditional one. Hybrid cloud security offers difficulties for businesses with strict regulatory obligations and more established business practices. The following are typical places where challenges manifest:

Lack Of Clarity About Responsibility

Lack of communication with cloud providers and ambiguous SLAs can make it difficult to resolve conflicts or address security breaches and raise doubts about who is blamed for outages or other incidents. Designate tasks to areas of the hybrid cloud to prevent this. There should be a separate failure and incident strategy and unique performance and security controls for every cloud section or task.

Security Governance Challenges

All public and private cloud services offer distinct privacy and security features. Loss of control and visibility can result from data flow between them. Ensure proper security procedures for all internal systems and private and public cloud services to resolve this difficulty. Establish clear roles and expectations regarding security control and ensure prompt incident information sharing between your cloud provider and you. Monitor all data activities in both private and public clouds.

Compliance And Legal Risks

Compliance and regulatory risks may arise when sensitive data is freely transferred between public and private clouds. Even minor rules and regulations violations can lead to significant fines or legal action in highly regulated industries like government, finance, and healthcare.

Organizations must handle regulation compliance for both private and public cloud services. They must ensure that their cloud provider establishes all essential procedures and safety measures to protect data. Ensure that your internal security controls adhere to the obligatory rules. Several businesses opt to store their sensitive data in private clouds to maintain total control over it.

Security Incident Handling

Both public cloud service vendors and consumers are accountable for identifying, notifying, and managing. To get prompt breach notification, ensure open lines of communication and establish clear notification guidelines.

Access Control

Hybrid cloud storage solutions stand security risks due to numerous access points. Hence, it is necessary to know access details and ensure strict adherence to security best practices and protocols—for instance, the principle of least privilege.

Lack Of Isolation From External Cloud Services

Shared resources and multi-tenancy are prevalent features of public cloud computing. Attackers can breach on-premises and private cloud computing equipment if they access the hybrid cloud environment’s public cloud component. Strengthen authorization and authentication through digital device authentication and multi-factor authentication strategies.

Visibility and Audit

Monitoring and gaining visibility into private and public cloud environment activities can be challenging. Utilize tools that audit every cloud system from a single location.

Mitigating Common Hybrid Cloud Security Threats

Mitigating some of the most prevalent security threats to the hybrid cloud includes:

Data Breach

Adopt role-based network access, examine user behavior, monitor activity surrounding critical data, adopt a least-privilege framework, and run frequent entitlements audits to avoid unintentional or intentional unauthorized data access.

Malware

Reduce the chances of malicious software and ransomware attacks on your systems by installing antivirus, routinely data back up, and educating and training all personnel on safe IT system usage practices.

Insider Threat

Reduce the chances of a worker utilizing access privileges to willfully or unwittingly acquire, harm, or disclose corporate data. Monitor rigorously for unusual behavior, particularly by privileged accounts, and follow the principle of least privilege.

Misconfigurations

An unsafe configuration setting could provide an unauthorized user with administrative access, like failing to turn off the platform’s default feature. To find configuration modifications, ensure using configuration auditing.

Account Hijacking

Attackers can obtain a genuine user’s login information and transform it into a potential insider threat. Consider access control and strong identity encryptions, such as multi-factor authentication and strong passwords.

Hybrid Cloud Benefits

A hybrid cloud is a better choice against non-cloud or cloud-based alternatives. The hybrid cloud model helps enhance the security posture of an organization. Its advantages include:

Scalability

An infrastructure’s setup, maintenance, and growth costs are among the biggest challenges a private network presents. Employing a hybrid cloud configuration is simple, adds more computing capacity, and runs more complicated and resource-demanding applications with public cloud alternatives. Utilizing the resources offered by the cloud service eliminates the need to hold off until you have enough money to purchase additional servers.

Security

Using encryption techniques in a hybrid cloud environment makes it simple to guarantee data security throughout the procedure. The IT staff has multiple alternatives with a hybrid cloud to secure data transport and storage.

Cost

Hybrid clouds help reduce long-term expenditures. The company saves money while expanding since scaling a hybrid cloud higher is simpler and cheaper. It enables businesses to expand faster and start making profits. Fully on-site storage can impede growth, which raises opportunity costs because the organization loses potential revenue.

Control

Organizations can tailor the private cloud model to their needs rather than leaving all aspects of IT infrastructure to a third-party supplier. A hybrid model simplifies which components of the infrastructure should execute applications and security processes. Achieving sufficient agility with a multi-cloud or solely on-site solution is a hassle. Get the control you need with a hybrid cloud to eliminate expensive or time-consuming procedures.

Speed

A hybrid cloud system isn’t necessarily faster than a public or multi-cloud architecture. Edge computing in a hybrid environment allows to speed up IT infrastructure. The improved control reduces processing time.

Hybrid Cloud Security Best Practices

  • Ensure routine sensitive data identification and classification, security control setup, and remediation automation.
  • Establish an in-house or single identity and access management (IAM) system for all cloud environments.
  • Enable network security using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) among cloud services and on-premises environments.
  • Encrypt sensitive data irrespective of its location.
  • Implement perimeter security across all cloud environments, like DDoS attack handling, Firefox, etc.

Conclusion

Organizations can benefit from a hybrid cloud solution that combines the flexibility and security of a private cloud environment with the convenience and cost-effectiveness of public cloud services. But adopting this architecture necessitates knowledge of the specific security risks that hybrid cloud systems encounter and adherence to data security practices.

Derik Belair

As President and CEO, Derik leads the vision, strategy and growth of Augmentt. Prior to founding Augmentt, Derik was the Vice President at SolarWinds, leading the digital marketing strategy for SolarWinds’ Cloud division. Derik has been working in the channel for over 20 years, starting his career as a channel sales rep at Corel Corp. and eventually becoming the first employee at N-able Technologies in April of 2000.

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