There is no doubt that cloud computing technology is now reaching all sizes of businesses and markets, offering a great opportunity for companies to achieve flexibility, efficiency, and scalability.

However, large enterprises are still concerned about how cloud technology can enhance or replace their entire IT environment. This is probably why a lot of companies are considering to implement a hybrid cloud environment that comprises of an onsite data center, a private cloud, and public cloud. That said, there are many benefits of a hybrid cloud model, along with a few security concerns.

Hybrid cloud security includes different practices and standards for the protection of data, applications, networks, and infrastructure as part of a complete IT architecture. Let’s get a more in-depth understanding of the benefits of hybrid cloud models and the challenges associated with hybrid cloud security and how enterprises can fix them.

Hybrid Cloud Security – Benefits

Hybrid clouds allow companies to choose where they want to place the workloads and data based on the audit, compliance, policy, and security requirements.

The various environments used within a hybrid cloud solution continue to stay unique and exist as separate entities. However, the migration between them takes place using containers or encrypted application programming interfaces (APIs) that enable transmission of workloads and resources. The architecture includes separate yet, connected elements that allow enterprises to use the private cloud for more critical and sensitive workloads and the public cloud for more standard workloads.

Besides, with exponentially increasing reliance on mobile solutions, enterprise apps have also become a growing priority majorly to yield desirable returns. Considering just how much apps earn in today’s time, enterprises are motivated more than ever before. They want to invest in the hybrid cloud security to make their apps safer for the users and themselves. Let’s look at more reasons that are making companies choose hybrid cloud solutions:

  • There is almost unlimited space to scale up and down because of the on-demand cloud resources. In long-run, it can help the company avoid unnecessary maintenance costs.
  • As the cloud services are distributed through multiple data centers, you can ensure never to lose sensitive business or user data.
  • Lower capital expense. Investing in a secure IT infrastructure is one of most important priorities of any enterprise. However, a lot of times, creating the IT structure from scratch can require a considerable investment. But, with hybrid cloud solutions, you don’t need to purchase all of your data center equipment.
  • Hybrid cloud solutions help protect your data through a firewall, making it accessible only to designated resources. The integration of private cloud is better suited for companies to process or store sensitive business information.
  • More control and customization. Along with higher security, a hybrid cloud offers more space for customization in servers to meet your enterprise’s requirements and preferences.
  • High flexibility. When running a large corporation, situations can change at any time, and hybrid cloud solutions offer flexibility to adapt better to altering business needs. Enterprises can transfer non-sensitive data to the public cloud to create space and accommodate any sudden demand for space in the private cloud.
  • Business continuity. Hybrid cloud security provides means for companies to continue running standard operations and procedures even during a failure or disaster as the data is still accessible often without any downtime.
  • Opportunity for innovation. Running an enterprise within a competitive market is challenging. But, hybrid cloud solutions help reduce some barriers to innovation by cutting down on the significant capital expenditure in terms of infrastructure, time for research, and labor required. Besides, the cloud environment also allows running a prototype much more easily so you can gauge or assess capacity and measure success.
  • Operational speed. In the digital age, the speed at which your digital assets go live can completely change the game for your company. Enterprises today need the ability to rapidly spin up environments and test, prototype, and launch new offerings. However, doing with an IT infrastructure that is functioning very close to its capacity can be challenging and possibly create problems. But with a hybrid cloud system, enterprises can deploy and operate automated processes that help yield better results, leveraging improved speed.

Hybrid Cloud Security – Challenges & How To Fix Them:

Despite the many benefits of hybrid cloud solutions like cost-effectiveness and allowing users to leverage the best benefits the two unique structures of private and public cloud have to offer, there are several concerns and challenges that companies face when using Hybrid cloud solutions.

For example, what prevents some companies from cloud migration is security concerns. Even though private cloud data centers might just be located on the company premises, they will still follow the model of cloud computing. The data in the private cloud is accessible through the company’s personal IT network infrastructure, which means it’s possibly vulnerable to issues like data leak, infringements, and eavesdropping.

Let’s look at an overview of some major hybrid cloud security challenges and how enterprises can fix them:

Lack Of Encryption:

Network transmissions and data are vulnerable to man-in-the-middle or hijack attacks and eavesdropping that can lead to the third party individuals becoming a proxy to the internal communication by impersonating endpoints. Hence, mobility division managers of enterprises must encrypt their communication and data transmission to prevent any security incursions.

Besides, companies can integrate a reliable VPN, using cryptographic protocols and include endpoint authentication to shield transmissions from such attacks especially on their private cloud parameters. They can use SSL/ TLS to encrypt all communication and manage server authentication.

Lack Of Data Redundancy:

Poor management of data redundancy puts your hybrid cloud system, IT infrastructure, and enterprise at risk. It can create more problems and challenges for your companies if you don’t have smartly distributed redundant copies of data across multiple data centers or servers. Having a proper system to distribute data will help mitigate the costs and damages that business has to bear in case of any malfunction in one of the data centers.

However, companies can implement data redundancy by using several data centers from a single cloud provider, utilizing a few different public cloud providers, or maintaining a hybrid cloud.

Inefficient Security Risk Assessment:

No matter what kind of IT infrastructure you might have, a hybrid cloud system or not, failing to perform comprehensive risk profiles and analysis can have dire effects. It prevents the IT managers and network administrators from determining how and where data intrusion has taken place or what problem has occurred. Similarly, to ensure this doesn’t happen, enterprises need to perform a regular risk assessment for the hybrid cloud system to help prevent possible future breaches.

Companies must also use IDS and IPS systems that can scan any malicious traffic in the network, activate log monitoring, and keep the software up-to-date at all times. Rigorous risk prevention and assessment efforts can help enterprises stay prepared. Besides, adopting a holistic approach like using reliable, security information and event management, SIEM system that provides real-time security alerts, can further enable enterprises to protect their data.

Poor Compliance:

If you are using a hybrid cloud system, you have to show more due diligence, particularly with compliance. However, managing and demonstrating compliance can be more complicated, especially with the hybrid cloud model as the data is going back and forth. Hence, both the private cloud system and public cloud provider must recognize and stay within their compliance parameters.

Enterprises can improve their compliance by making sure the industry standards for data security are met for both clouds, more so when dealing with sensitive information. That said, it is also significant that the two clouds are coordinated and in compliance.

Weak Security Management:

During their entire career, many enterprise managers, on some level, come across challenges like failing to employ authentication, authorization of procedures, and identity management for private and public clouds. This often happens due to weak security management, and they need to integrate cloud security protocols.

Enterprises must replicate their security controls for both private and public cloud and synchronize security data or collaborate with identity management services that work well systems similar to yours. Besides, it is also recommended that companies store data within the in-house network for critical and sensitive information, which is not safe to keep on the public cloud.

Unprotected APIs:

If not taken any action, unprotected API endpoints can expose your sensitive company data to malicious attacks by exploiting authentication and authorization permissions or manipulating any personal data. This increases company’s vulnerability concerned with enterprise mobility management and BYOD, bring your own device, transmissions due to insecure connections.

Companies can fix this hybrid cloud security challenge by handling API elements in the same way as encryption and code-signing. The system must verify every third-party request for access before releasing API keys to prevent a security breach.

Poor IP Protection:

As an enterprise, you need to be extra careful and ensure your intellectual property is protected by integrating the highest level of encryption and security protocols. You need first to identify and classify your IP to be able to determine any potential security risks. Besides, a vulnerability assessment and incorporating encryption is imperative.

However, entirely automated systems are not efficient enough to quantify the risk to your intellectual property. It means you need to incorporate some level of manual administration. Hence, you can use automation to identify the risks associated with IP once the data is classified. Other than that, it is also crucial that you identify the source of threats and develop a thorough threat model. It helps to perform comprehensive third-party audits and strengthen all open source elements to prevent possible incursions. Above all, you have to make sure the IT infrastructure is secure.

Denial-of-Service, DoS Attacks:

When the attacker renders DoS attack, it temporarily or indefinitely disrupts the network service as this leverages an inherent weakness of shared resources like RAM, CPU, or disk space making the network resources available for intended users.

However, within cloud management APIs, the Denial of Service attacks are caused due to sending bad REST or SOAP requests from the company. To fix this security challenge, IT managers can use flow analytics and react directly to the incursion and redirect the traffic to a mitigation platform. Besides, ensure your flow analytics tool is scalable according to the traffic it can collect and analyze because a slow process won’t be very useful in a large volume of DoS attacks.

Distributed Denial of Service, DDoS, Attack:

Volumetric or distributed Denial of Service attacks has been on the rise for a while now. They are more insidious than DoS because in it, there are numerous incursions maliciously distributed at different resources while being generated at a central point. Often, by the time the IT team notices the attacks, the network traffic gets into a virtual gridlock making the website or application helpless.

That said, the best practice to prevent this hybrid cloud security challenge is the robust deployment of a DDoS mitigation device that helps fend off the DDoS attack. The device will help continuously process all incoming and outgoing traffic to identify the point of attack. To be effective in solving this problem, make sure your device acts immediately and is scalable so it can perform efficiently within a multi-vector attack environment.

Data Leakage:

Inefficient and inadequate security protocols from your cloud provider can ultimately compromise the safety of your data, which can be destroyed, corrupted, or inappropriately accessed. This chances of this happening go high very fast if you provide an employee-driven BYOD environment.

The solution for this challenge is for your IT team never just to assume that the provider covers data leakage until it’s in writing. The key here is data loss prevention. You must double-check to ensure access permissions and protection measures are well-defined in the service legal agreement, SLA, you sign with the cloud service provider. The same goes for your enterprise’s expectations and requirements. So, guarantee that your data security is never compromised. Make sure to cover all bases, carefully read what you sign-up for, and ensure your extensive security measures counter infrastructure malfunctions, software errors, and security breaches.

Wrap Up:

In such a time when data security is the top priority of enterprises, hybrid cloud is becoming the choice of many companies due to several benefits that we discussed earlier. However, just like any other network model, hybrid cloud security faces many challenges, some more severe than others. But, with the right team, cloud provider, and by adopting quality data protection and security measures, enterprises can fix the possible challenges. Besides, there rarely is one solution that fits into all scenarios or caters to the needs of all industries, particularly when it comes to complex IT infrastructures. Hence, it is imperative for enterprises to understand your business needs, consult an expert, and customize your network and IT system with additional focus on protecting your sensitive data.