How To

Hybrid Cloud Security: Everything You Need To Know

May 18, 2023 | min

Hybrid cloud security conceptualized as a cloud with a padlock


Adopting a hybrid cloud infrastructure grants your organizations the freedom to run data and applications anywhere — including within both private and public clouds. This diversification of infrastructure solutions is a boon to business, but it raises the question of security when workloads extend across multiple nodes. By understanding more about hybrid cloud security, you can transition to a more future-proof infrastructure with confidence.

Key Takeaways:

  • The hybrid multicloud is a cost-effective solution for business leaders who understand the differing levels of risk in their various applications and workloads.
  • Private and public clouds have their own pros and cons when it comes to security, but effective use of a hybrid environment capitalizes on the best of both infrastructures.
  • The right cloud service provider will collaborate with consumers on upholding best security practices such as encryption and monitoring.

You need a cloud platform that supports operations across private and public clouds and is scalable to accommodate a hybrid approach as well. Knowledge of cloud security should inform the decision to scale up to a hybrid environment.

What is hybrid cloud security?

Hybrid clouds refer to infrastructure environments made up of both on-premises private cloud components and third-party public cloud services. The separate elements of a hybrid cloud environment coexist on a network, allowing your enterprise to flexibly deploy workloads to the most suitable location based on factors such as cost or performance.

Hybrid cloud security, therefore, is the practice of mitigating risks that are inherent to the process of exposing your data, applications, or infrastructure to a network. 

The hybrid nature of this infrastructure empowers companies to store critical data on private infrastructure and run less risky applications on the public cloud. All the while, the option exists to reallocate workloads as you see fit.

This principle of “data and apps everywhere” makes your operation more adaptable and cost-effective. Taking advantage of the computing power and off-site storage capabilities of a public cloud service allows you to lower the cost of running a high volume of less sensitive workloads. Meanwhile, you can make the most of limited on-premises infrastructure to store mission-critical data that is unsafe to expose to a public solution.

The nature of security in private and public clouds

Hybrid cloud environments consist of private and public clouds, both of which have their own pros and cons when it comes to security. An effective hybrid cloud security plan capitalizes on the benefits of the private and public elements of the infrastructure while covering for any potential weaknesses that one location might have.

The private cloud exists either in your on-premises datacenter, in a physical infrastructure provided by a third party, or through the use of virtualization software. While building the architecture for a private cloud may entail high upfront costs and ongoing maintenance, the benefits of selecting a reliable private cloud solution often outweigh these challenges. Furthermore, opting for a proper private cloud solution not only helps reduce costs but also minimizes the required maintenance levels.

The public cloud is an infrastructure as a service (IaaS) , and consumers subscribe to that service in exchange for a certain service level and accessible scalability. On matters of security, though, public cloud providers and consumers share the responsibility. A reliable provider guarantees the use of cutting-edge tools to secure the infrastructure, but users must still properly secure their own applications and data within the cloud.

Use of a public cloud also comes with the risk of increased exposure to potential breach attempts by cybercriminals. Your private cloud, while more costly, is less of a target for hackers seeking large volumes of valuable data.

Benefits of the hybrid cloud for security

The nature of hybrid cloud security allows for effective management of your risks. You can lock sensitive workloads within your private or public clouds behind authentication tools and conduct vulnerability scanning to analyze and report weaknesses in your security.

Diversification of data across multiple clouds also negates the risk of a single point of failure shutting down your entire operation. While the definition of a hybrid cloud infrastructure entails the use of at least one private cloud and one public cloud, you can further diversity by adopting a true multicloud environment consisting of two or more third-party cloud solutions.

The hybrid cloud approach also facilitates compliance with privacy regulations and can grant peace of mind to users concerned about security. The right solution can provide users with direct access to the data or apps running in your cloud, without the need to expose them to potential risks in the public network.

While it is true that a poorly designed hybrid cloud environment grants attackers more points of entry when targeting your data, the hybrid cloud security approach also enables the use of microsegmentation to close the gaps. The creation of subnetworks that limit a user’s movement through the environment is a powerful security measure.

Challenges for hybrid cloud security

The immediately apparent challenge of seeking a hybrid cloud solution is overcoming compatibility issues between on-premises infrastructure and public cloud environments. It is important to consider whether latency will become an issue when end users require communication with both physical datacenters and more readily available cloud-based processes.

Knowing where to place data, when to move it, and how to handle the overall management of data is another key challenge. Unnecessary transfers can be burdensome or even risky from a security standpoint. Data encryption is a necessary practice for ensuring that workloads in transit remain secure if a transfer does become unavoidable.

Even after adopting hybrid cloud security, there is work to be done in centralizing authentication and authorization practices. The company must determine the best way to use sign-on tools and permission assignments while still enforcing zero trust security measures.

Maintaining a security team is another notable challenge. Your organization needs to onboard or train IT staff to understand all aspects of the hybrid cloud. It is not enough to have specialization in just one aspect of the environment. Your IT team should be familiar with the public cloud, the private cloud, and the networks between them.

How to choose the right hybrid cloud security solution

The ideal provider to help you build your hybrid environment is one that values both enterprise and consumer privacy and will collaborate with you in the pursuit of running your data and apps everywhere.

Your hybrid cloud provider should help you with monitoring security access points as well as with auditing configurations for vulnerabilities. Security is a collaborative process when working in a hybrid environment, so your third-party partners must be communicative and proactive about applying patches as well.

Above all else, you need to be able to enjoy peace of mind in knowing that your provider is doing their part to keep your data secure. A comprehensive disaster recovery plan is the least you should expect from a diligent IaaS partner. You should also take steps to confirm that competent support is truly available 24/7 before committing to a vendor.

The Nutanix hybrid multicloud platform is an enterprise-grade solution that adapts to your business’s needs, provides a simplified management experience, and gives you the hybrid cloud security you expect from a vendor and partner.

Learn more about how to simplify data management in the hybrid cloud and protect data in the enterprise setting.

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