Uniform Policy Keeps the Hybrid Cloud Secure

Hybrid cloud services are becoming increasingly popular among enterprise-level businesses, and with them come security concerns unique to the hybrid cloud infrastructure.

According to a study by Avanade, 75% of C-suite executives believe that hybrid cloud integration should be the main area of focus for their company in 2017. At the same time, cloud security spending is expected to grow from $24 billion in 2016 to $26.4 billion in 2017.

This growth is sure to attract the attention of the global cybercrime industry, which is experiencing a surge in growth year-by-year. In 2015, there was an average of 1,000 ransomware attacks per day, and in 2016 the rate had ballooned to 4,000 attacks per day, according to a joint report by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Secret Service. The WannaCry Ransonware attack of 2017 affected over 200,000 victims, and a security hole in a public cloud service exposed voter information of over 200M Americans. In 2017 and beyond, enterprise-level businesses and institutions should expect massive cybercrime growth.

Cybersecurity for the Hybrid Cloud

Hybrid cloud technology offers enormous benefits to enterprises and large organizations. However, keeping hybrid cloud data secure presents unique challenges. Hybrid cloud service providers and clients need to work together to form reliable and secure strategies for data protection.

The main security goal for the hybrid cloud is configuring and maintaining a uniform policy across the entire cloud network – easier said than done, in most cases. To begin building a robust cybersecurity policy, enterprises must clearly define the following processes in a cloud processing-friendly way:

  • Infrastructure Policy: A hybrid cloud infrastructure policy needs to carefully delineate what processes and services occur on the private cloud and which ones occur on the public cloud. Geographically-relevant colocation processes need to be outlined as well. Without this policy, cloud management quickly degrades into a data free-for-all that is difficult, if not impossible, to secure.
  • Firewall Rules: Firewall rules become more complex as internal and external network connections are added to hybrid cloud infrastructure. Web application firewalls need to be customized for each environment in the cloud and narrowly focused for each. Incoming traffic needs to be forced through the firewall in environments where multiple subnets may allow firewalls to be bypassed.
  • IPS Signatures: Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) signatures need to be constantly updated cloud-wide. New threats appear on a disturbingly regular basis, and signature-based inspection is one of the most effective cybersecurity methods currently available.
  • User Authentication: User authentication remains one of the most common points of exploitation used by cybercriminals. Two-step authenticatio
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Enterprise Cloud Solutions – Public, Private, Hybrid – What's the Difference?

It seems today that every enterprise solution has been relabeled as a “cloud solution” in order to fit today’s version of buzzword bingo. This leads to some level of confusion as to what a “cloud” really is, and what we mean when we talk about public clouds, private clouds, and hybrid clouds.

Cloud Infrastructure Basics

To address this question, we need to emphasize the difference between the cloud and traditional IT services. Cloud solutions typically refer to the use of public internet connectivity to make business processing power & storage available wherever it's needed. For example, instead of a customer relationship management (CRM) database being run and managed on servers in an internal datacenter, this application is hosted on someone else’s datacenter and connected to through the internet.

The Public Cloud

The biggest, most well-known cloud service providers offer public cloud services. Microsoft Azure and Amazon AWS are two of the biggest names in the public cloud market. Public cloud providers offer managed, decentralized IT services to their clients through an online portal.

In return for maintaining a data center and renting out its data processing power, businesses and organizations gain access to a reliable data infrastructure with no up-front equipment costs.

Benefits to the public cloud include:

  • Cost-Effective: Public cloud clients generally pay a strict monthly rate for using the cloud, which makes it a very easy budget item so long as they avoid hidden fees and charges.
  • Easy to Scale: Growth is easy to accommodate in a public cloud environment. Clients can adapt their subscription on an as-needed basis.

Drawbacks to the public cloud include:

  • Inflexibility: Since the client is not in control of its own IT resources, there is little room for data processing flexibility. If the services your public cloud provider offers don't fit your needs exactly, you might need to make compromises.
  • Security concerns: By delegating all of your data processing power to a third-party, you expose your data to risk. Although public cloud providers spend a great deal of resources on maintaining security, they can't always adhere to enterprise data security needs, especially in sensitive industries or fields.

The Private Cloud

An enterprise that already has its own equipment can implement a private cloud solution. In this case, existing infrastructure resources are decentralized and made available to the organization's employees, partners, and customers. This lets the organization retain a great degree of control, but it also forces it to assume responsibility for maintaining the equipment.

Even if a company has its own data center, it may find that the ongoing costs of maintaining a private cloud outweigh the benefits over time. Servers eventually need to be replaced, cybersecurity becomes increasingly complex, and organization growth needs to be accommodated continuously.

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Integrating Private Cloud Systems with Hybrid Cloud Solutions

Hybrid cloud solutions offer key benefits to enterprises – combining the best services of multiple providers allows each individual aspect of your business to run at optimal efficiency. However, keeping track of decentralized data and integrating existing private cloud systems with a hybrid cloud provider can be challenging.

The key to ensuring the best possible result from hybrid cloud integration is by establishing a uniform policy that serves as a foundation for communication among disparate business units that may be running on separate infrastructure platforms.

There are a few situations that hybrid clouds are uniquely suited to address. For instance, if your company wishes to use a Software-as-a-Service application but is concerned about security, the SaaS vendor can create a private cloud, inside their firewall, specifically for your company. If the company provides you with a virtual private network to access the software, you're essentially using a small-scale hybrid cloud.

The key element there is that there is a private cloud working alongside a public cloud – this is the defining characteristic of hybrid clouds. Enterprises get a flexible, cost-effective mix of public and private cloud services.

Elements of the Combined Private/Public Cloud

The purpose of the hybrid cloud is giving enterprises the ability to move workloads from the private cloud to the public cloud when needed. This may be desirable for any number of reasons – outage or peak demand for computing resources in the private cloud, for instance.

When this happens, the hybrid cloud infrastructure allows for additional computing resources to be called upon on an as-needed basis, but achieving that level of integration requires considering a number of factors:

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«December 2020»