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 authentication should be implemented when accessing different levels of hybrid cloud processing. Furthermore, trusted connections should be examined critically – ask yourself whether each particular connection needs to be trusted all the time, and why.
Data Encryption Is a Necessity
Encrypting data at rest is a great way to ensure a boosted level of security within the hybrid cloud infrastructure. When dealing with multi-tenant situations among colocation servers and a larger cloud service network infrastructure, it becomes absolutely necessary.
Encryption should also not be overlooked as a means of securing data while it is in motion. Data may be vulnerable when moving between cloud demarcation points, just as data being manipulated or processed by a cloud application is. Using some form of in-motion data encryption can help ensure that the entire data lifecycle is protected.
Address Data Visibility
Perhaps the most pressing issue concerning your cybersecurity policy will be data visibility. Where will specific data types be stored, and how visible will the data be?
These questions need to be considered at great length. Even highly organized CIOs can lose track of data visibility, so be sure it's one of your primary concerns throughout the cybersecurity implementation process.
It is not only data kept on private servers that needs to benefit from a robust access restriction and monitoring system. Public data entrusted to a cloud service provider needs to benefit from robust monitoring that can both track data store locations and traffic flow. This is doubly important for sensitive information, such as customer data, or voter information.
Lack of data redundancy also lies within the scope of data visibility – what happens when, despite your best efforts, specific hardware is compromised or damaged? You must distribute copies of secure, encrypted data among separate data centers in order to ensure business continuity – but beware of compliance issues and make sure that you do not violate any industry security standards in the process.
Hybrid Cybersecurity Must Be Scalable
Another important consideration that hybrid cloud enterprises need to be concerned with is the scalability of their security scheme. If your security architecture is not designed to grow alongside the company, you may find that it will restrict growth later on – even though every other element of your hybrid cloud network is easily scalable.
In one sense, the development of a uniform infrastructure policy will help achieve security scalability, but it cannot ensure scalability on its own. In fact, your uniform policy will present challenges in implementing a scalable security solution, but overcoming those challenges will ensure that you can scale your security solution to readily meet future needs.
In order to produce a clear and consistent security policy, you'll have to know and understand the details of your network. Facilitating discussion of scalable security architecture with your hybrid cloud provider is the best way to ensure that you can achieve your security goals. Does your security team know where data is being stored? How it is being stored? What kind of back up systems are compatible with your existing infrastructure?
Ask these questions and use the answers to develop a consistent, uniform policy that you can apply to every element of your business.
TIG's hybrid cloud solution eliminates many of the security concerns other cloud providers fail to address. Contact us to learn more about the security features of our hybrid cloud services.