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Understanding the Core of Hybrid Cloud Security

Avatar Andrea Abbondanza , 29 Gen, 2024

Hybrid cloud security is a trending subject in the IT industry, as more and more businesses use a hybrid cloud architecture to reap the benefits of both public and private cloud resources.

However, this technology trend is a complicated and demanding issue since it requires managing and safeguarding data and applications across many environments, platforms, and providers.

Ahead, we will explore the foundation of hybrid cloud security, its security benefits, best practices, its architecture, and its challenges. Read on to learn more!

What is Hybrid Cloud Security?

A close up laptop with cloud computing concept
A close up laptop with cloud computing concept

Hybrid cloud security is a set of practices and technologies for safeguarding data, resources, and infrastructure in a hybrid cloud environment that integrates elements of private cloud (organization’s data center), public cloud (third parties, like AWS or Google Cloud), and on-premises platforms (like Microsoft Office or Adobe products).

This involves workloads and business processes across IT environments, offering high flexibility and advantages.

A 2023 Gigamon survey found that 72% of global organizations have deployed hybrid cloud infrastructure. However, 99% of the respondents lack a security-first culture. As a result, 93% of global IT and Security leaders predict increased cloud security attacks in the next 12 months.

This study emphasizes the importance of robust hybrid cloud security solutions for all global organizations.

Security Benefits of a Hybrid Cloud Solution

Security of cloud database
Security of cloud database

Organizations implementing a solid hybrid cloud solution can reap several security benefits, including:

  • Meet international data governance standards: Utilizing a multi-cloud hybrid cloud environment hosted by various providers lets organizations comply with international data governance standards, such as CCPA and GDPR.
  • Minimizes single point of failure risks: Storing data in multiple cloud hosts allows organizations to reduce the risk of data loss all at once due to malware attacks, such as ransomware.
  • Better security risk management: Data stored in public and private platforms authorizes organizations to manage and regulate sensitive data under control without sharing all of the data with a third party.

Hybrid Cloud Security Best Practices

A secure cloud data
A secure cloud data

Solid hybrid cloud security requires the implementation of best practices, including:

  • Data classification: Classify the data based on the sensitivity to help proper data organization. 
  • Encryption: Establish a strong encryption system with inspection competence to avoid sneaky threats targeting your system.
  • Use automation to monitor and audit configuration: Use automation for regular monitoring and audit of system configurations. You can also utilize automated vulnerability scans. This way, you can detect user error immediately without relying too much on human effort.
  • Implement a zero-trust approach: Strong access controls must be implemented for all users, whether inside or outside the organization’s network before they can access applications and network traffic.
  • Prepare a recovery plan: Always have backup storage to speed up data restoration in case any breach happens.
  • Safeguard endpoints: Protect data moving to and from endpoints, such as IoT or mobile devices, even though users access it from beyond the network.
  • Review network topology: Whether it is a point-to-point, mesh, star, bus, ring, tree, or hybrid topology, they all need regular review to stay protected.
  • Create secret management: Store credentials, passwords, keys, certificates, and other sensitive data with special management and regular rotation.
  • Ensure cloud readiness: Configure the cloud for various scenarios, from stopping malware from accessing and moving within the cloud to integrating private automation tools and services.
  • Enforce network security: Enforce strong network security measures like network segmentation, firewalls, cloud workload protection platforms, and other relevant strategies.

Hybrid Cloud Security Architecture

Cloud technology management
Cloud technology management

Hybrid cloud security architecture is tailored to address the challenges posed by the coexistence of various environments. One of its fundamental principles involves seamlessly integrating security measures across on-premises and cloud components.

It mainly begins with determining who can access the web servers that store data. In a hybrid cloud environment, hardware is dispersed across many worldwide data centers, leading to the implementation of a “zero trust” strategy.

Ensuring data security in this environment is mainly reliant on encryption. This is analogous to locking down different system components, such as the operating system, software code, and data, during transmission and storage. 

Traditional security practices, such as firewalls and intrusion detection systems, remain crucial for on-premises infrastructure. Simultaneously, specialized security controls are applied in the cloud, where data is distributed across different service models.

Hybrid Cloud Security Challenges

A warning system error
A warning system error

Safeguarding a hybrid cloud environment requires extra effort, and with it comes common challenges, including:

Compliance and Governance

Organizations must comply with multiple jurisdictions and frameworks, such as GDPR, HIPAA, PCI-DSS, and ISO 27001, depending on the nature and location of their data and operations.

One way to check whether a hybrid cloud environment complies with regulations or standards is to use a cloud compliance tool or services, such as Microsoft Azure Security Center or IBM Cloud Security. These tools help assess, identify, and remediate any gaps or issues affecting compliance status. 

However, the challenges lie in the limitations of these tools or services, such as the need to integrate them with your existing tools and processes and the potential for false positives or negatives.

Therefore, verification and validation, as well as audits, reviews, and tests of the results of a cloud compliance tool or service, are very much needed.

Data Leakage

Data leakage is inevitable in a hybrid cloud environment, especially when private and public data centers are simultaneously used. Therefore, companies must go the extra mile to evaluate security protocols, ensure each platform is safeguarded with robust security strategies, and train employees to handle the data with extra care.

Visibility and Control

A hybrid cloud environment somehow blurs the line between private and public clouds, making it harder to see and control the security system. As a result, many security risks are prone to happen to these distributed resources.

The visibility and control include physical controls (service-level agreements), technical controls (networking, encryption, and authentication), and administrative controls (disaster preparedness). 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some of the security concerns for hybrid cloud models?

Some of the security concerns include vulnerabilities, insecure data transmission, non-compliance, and threats of data breaches.

Is hybrid cloud scalable?

When a hybrid cloud is maintained flexibly and cost-effectively, scalability, both up and down, is possible.

What is the biggest threat to security on the cloud?

One of the biggest threats to security on the cloud is misconfiguration—this happens when the cloud is not configured correctly, resulting in a gap that attackers are potentially targeting.

What is the biggest threat to security on the cloud?

One of the biggest threats to security on the cloud is misconfiguration—this happens when the cloud is not configured correctly, resulting in a gap that attackers are potentially targeting.

Conclusion

In conclusion, hybrid cloud security adoption is strategically vital. However, securing diverse environments demands diligence. Despite potential challenges, a robust hybrid solution meets international standards, minimizes failure points, and relies on best practices like encryption, automation, and a zero-trust approach.

Balancing between innovation and security is crucial for ensuring data integrity, confidentiality, and availability in this dynamic IT landscape.

Interested in tailoring hybrid cloud security strategies for your organization? Contact Fluxgate now!