The race towards the cloud is well and truly underway in the enterprise. In their quest to improve operational efficiency, save costs, and create business value with technology, companies are embracing a hybrid, multicloud environment.
Still, that doesn't mean that those who embrace hybrid cloud automatically have data security and compliance all sewn up. While hybrid cloud environments are inherently secure in themselves, companies moving every imaginable workload to disparate private and public cloud systems are using a patchwork of security policies and protocols that give rise to new complexities and pose serious security risks.
“The modern post-COVID company is a million-armed octopus in thousands of locations, and every arm is a digital access point that can be compromised by script kiddies, social hackers, professional criminal hacking organizations, or even nation-state actors,” said John Koetsler, CEO of SSMRT.
“Only by managing security in all those million access points can a company ensure safety … and avoid becoming another ransomware story on national news.”
Unsurprisingly, security and privacy are the top factors that influence any cloud infrastructure design, according to technology specialist Steve Prentice.
“Hybrid cloud deployments can quickly transform into a multiheaded monster that places an increasing burden on already overstretched internal security teams,” said Prentice.
IT professionals are particularly concerned about the security of workloads that run in the public cloud part of the hybrid setup. And though public cloud providers have instituted solid physical security measures and maintained documented, stringent standards for protecting their infrastructures from intrusions, high-profile attacks like the Capital One AWS data breach are a constant reminder that no one is immune.
So what can security professionals do to secure the perimeters of their hybrid cloud environment and still enable functionality, interoperability, and ease of use? Here are some small and large steps they can take.
1. Take a Holistic Approach to Data Security
When data is managed throughout its entire lifecycle, it increases the chances of timely identification of vulnerabilities, enforcement of policies, and threat detection and mitigation.
"When data is spread across cloud and on-premises repositories, organizations need to take a holistic approach to its security," said Ilia Sotnikov, Security Strategist & VP of User Experience at Netwrix.
It is in the interest of enterprises to centralize management of the whole IT infrastructure and deploy a unified monitoring solution that gives end-to-end visibility and control.
Also needed is an identity and access management solution that provides tight control over data access, if not a zero trust framework.
Hybrid cloud provides additional layers of security between private and public clouds.