What is a hybrid cloud?

These clouds provide resources that are shared by multiple tenants. Private clouds can be hosted by third parties or can be hosted locally. These clouds provide private resources that are reserved for a single tenant.

For an architecture to be considered a hybrid cloud it must integrate the included infrastructures. Simply having resources in a cloud in addition to on-premises does not count as a hybrid cloud.

In addition to integration, hybrid clouds also provide:

  • Networking between devices and systems
  • High availability and scalability
  • Workload and application traffic distribution

Benefits of hybrid clouds

Deploying a hybrid cloud architecture has several benefits. The most common benefits include:

  • The hybrid clouds of accelerated innovation eliminate the limitations created by internal resources and allow for scaling as needed with lower costs. This enables faster prototyping and testing of applications and easier deployment.
  • Improved Business Continuity: Cloud services naturally provide greater resilience and data redundancy than on-premise environments. Hybrid systems allow you to set up cloud data replication and failover when needed. This reduces downtime and limits the risk of hardware failure.
  • Increased flexibility: Hybrid systems make it easy to adapt to changing needs and system requirements, as services can be adopted or abandoned as needed. These systems also allow you to extend the life of existing hardware, maximizing your budgets and the efficiency of your resources.
  • Increased Connectivity: Cloud services can provide high availability of data and services that are difficult to match on-premise systems. Many services also provide service level agreements (SLAs) that guarantee availability. When combined in a hybrid configuration, multiple systems are available from which services can be provided and data accessed, ensuring minimal downtime.
  • Increased hybrid security configurations allow you to retain greater control over your data, which can give you greater security compared to cloud-based systems. In addition, cloud systems often provide access to enterprise-level tools and knowledge that you may not have in your enterprise. This expertise can be leveraged to provide greater overall security.

Hybrid Cloud Security Challenges

While hybrid clouds can provide numerous benefits, these systems also present some challenges for security teams. Hybrid architectures are often more complex than single infrastructure systems and require much more experience to manage.

The two most common challenges that teams may face with hybrid cloud security include

  • Data compromise: When data is dispersed across systems and moves frequently between systems, it is more likely to be compromised. This could mean leaks, corruption, deletion or inappropriate access. Preventing these problems requires orchestrating access controls, encryption, data validation, and secure transfer channels. In a hybrid system, this can be further complicated by the shared responsibility models employed by cloud providers.
  • Human error-human error in terms of misconfiguration, accidental data sharing and misunderstanding of system use-presents a serious security threat. Unfortunately, hybrid cloud systems can increase the chances of human error. These systems often involve more moving parts and unknown components than traditional individual infrastructures.

How to develop a hybrid cloud security strategy

When deploying a hybrid cloud architecture, there are some best practices that need to be included. These practices can help ensure that your systems and data are as secure as possible.

Standardize processes

Standardizing your processes and settings helps ensure that all elements are equally protected and reduces problems caused by human error. This standardization should include access rights, default security settings, and auditing and monitoring processes.

It should ensure that system administrators follow a single security protocol in cloud environments and on-premises. Passwords are an example of where this should be carefully applied. For example, internal applications are less vulnerable with default or simple passwords. However, as soon as these applications are moved to the cloud, a significant security risk is created.

Databases, like applications, should also be standardized to facilitate monitoring and maintenance. This is particularly true if workloads are moved back and forth between the cloud and internal environments. File sharing among SMBs can help by ensuring that a single protocol is used to store and transfer data.

Encrypt all data

Regardless of where your data is stored, it must be encrypted. This is a universal best practice, regardless of your architecture. However, with a hybrid cloud, encryption of data in transit is especially important. Hybrid systems typically involve frequent data transfer between environments. Each time data is transferred, it becomes more vulnerable. Encryption ensures that even if the data is intercepted it cannot be used by the thief.

Create a disaster recovery plan

While hybrid clouds can provide greater business continuity, these architectures cannot completely eliminate the risk of disaster. To avoid any disruption of service and to be able to recover data quickly and smoothly, a disaster recovery plan needs to be created.