The advancement in cloud technology has enabled enterprises to scale much more rapidly than before. Gone are the days when expanding would mean halting resources and existing resources for days. However, as enterprises grow, the challenge of remaining sustainable grows alongside.
One of the main challenges that enterprises face is ensuring dependable security. Research by Forrester has found out that threat events due to cloud mismanagement or misconfiguration have risen throughout the last few years. The rise in risks coincides with more enterprises embracing cloud (and multi-cloud) technologies. However, a rise in vulnerabilities means a potential increase in breaches. Therefore, it is essential to understand how popular cloud approaches like hybrid cloud address the threats.
This article quickly explains what a hybrid cloud strategy is and how it works. Afterward, we’ll help you understand the security concerns faced by cloud technology in general, and discuss how the hybrid cloud helps manage these security challenges.
A Quick Rundown Of Hybrid Cloud Technology
The ‘hybrid’ in hybrid cloud technology comes from the fact that it involves integrating multiple cloud services. It provides an interface to orchestrate the integration and manage all the cloud technologies in question. Through hybrid cloud technology, the strengths of all the cloud services are leveraged effectively and a single yet distributed system is created.
The main aim of the hybrid cloud approach is to enable easy scalability without worrying too much about the issues that may come with it. Research by Forrester suggests all hybrid cloud strategies should incorporate public and private cloud services along with on-site services. All these different services are used in varying capacities as per the enterprise’s needs. However, modern hybrid technology is increasingly moving away from on-site and becoming cloud-focused.
Enterprises have shown great enthusiasm for the hybrid cloud approach, and a significant number of them have already adopted it. These enterprises look towards a hybrid cloud when they seek better control of their data and an opportunity to deploy a flexible IT infrastructure. Another study shows that 59% of enterprises in Europe and North America with a cloud strategy have opted for a hybrid cloud.
Hybrid cloud is getting increasingly popular, yet enterprises have not trusted it blindly. Security remains one of the top demands of enterprises from their hybrid cloud strategy. The potential risks with managing multiple cloud services are always there as well. Therefore, it is essential to plan out a solid hybrid cloud strategy.
General Cloud Security Concerns
Cloud technology has gotten more robust in the past decade or so. The kind of connectivity and ease-of-access cloud technology promises also means that malicious forces can overtake it. Besides that, cloud technology also has several moving parts that are often housed away from the user. Consequently, the security measures of cloud technology have always been a big question.
Many different kinds of security concerns have come up throughout the evolution of cloud technology. While some were expected problems as more and more features were added, some sprang up after major incidents. Some of the significant security concerns associated with cloud technology are briefly discussed as follows:
- Data Privacy: Inevitably, one of the biggest security concerns will be the safety of all the data housed in the cloud. Keeping your data secure is one of the main promises that a cloud service provider makes. However, as Forrester highlights, there has been a meteoric rise in enterprises losing millions of sensitive data files in a ‘breach.’ Recently, there has been a global attempt at automating and consolidating data infrastructure to avoid such breaches.
- Access Control: Secure user access is a fundamental part of any cloud service. However, if the cloud service is not careful enough, the security around user access can be hacked into or cheated. Additionally, it is possible that the cloud service doesn’t provide very robust control settings, and there is no way for the user to implement access control.
- Vendor-locked Security Features: While it is a very disappointing scenario, it is not entirely uncommon. Often, the cloud service vendor would lock access to crucial security features. Such a case could arise because the vendor realizes the extent of user dependence on its services. In such a scenario, the user is left vulnerable and prone to breaches and hacks until it can fish out more money to pay the vendor.
- Lack Of Human Resources Experienced In Cloud Security: As critical cybersecurity has become in this era, there are unfortunately not enough experienced personnel working in the field. It can be challenging for an enterprise to trust someone with the critical task of securing their cloud technology. However, more people have been moving towards the field after seeing a rise in its opportunities.
How To Tackle Hybrid Cloud Security
Just like any other kind of cloud strategy, a hybrid cloud has its fair share of security concerns. However, for each challenge, the hybrid cloud infrastructure has specific strategies to deal with it. Some of the approaches apply to the traditional hybrid cloud infrastructure, while some were formulated for the modern hybrid cloud.
Some of the primary security concerns and mitigation strategies of hybrid cloud strategy are discussed below:
Securing a single cloud service is a challenge in its own right. Managing a system of multiple cloud services can only mean a more extensive security challenge. If even one of the cloud services involved is left vulnerable, it can serve as a backdoor to the whole hybrid cloud infrastructure.
You can avoid the complexity of hybrid cloud and its concerns by using consistent platforms across all the public and private cloud services involved. As Forrester suggests, enterprises have to worry less about adapting to new technology and services if they choose platforms that utilize components that they know and trust.
Proper Integration Of Cloud Services
As mentioned before, you can form a hybrid cloud strategy by using different permutations of public and private cloud platforms. However, if the platforms don’t fit with each other nicely, there can be potential data loss and vulnerabilities.
It is essential to ensure that the platforms integrate smoothly with each other and with security endpoints. Such a strategy will provide security as well as a seamless data flow. Security endpoints can include threat protection solutions and IT applications that monitor and control workload configurations.
Reports by Forrester show that as the hybrid cloud gets more advanced, its security strategy has to focus on data. One of the many ways of securing data and forming a backup in loss is through data redundancy. Multiple copies of data are stored alongside the original and retrieved when needed.
With multiple cloud services to manage, poor implementation of the approach can lead to vulnerabilities and needless resources. To avoid this, as IBM explains, it is necessary to include security when forming a data strategy and not just focusing on enhancing performance.
The Security of Hybrid Cloud Explained
Cybersecurity is becoming increasingly important as the years pass. As a result, more and more personnel are needed to man an enterprise’s cloud infrastructure and protect it from potential data breaches, DDoS, and other attacks.
However, enterprises are beginning to partner with dedicated cloud security services to secure their infrastructure. As the years pass, cloud strategies are getting more competent regarding security, and hybrid cloud is a prime example.