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Finally, More than Just a Silver Lining in Hybrid Cloud Security


Nitin Rajput, AlgoSec’s technical consultant and solutions architect, discusses the most pressing Hybrid Cloud security challenges and how organizations can overcome them

There’s never been a greater shift to cloud platforms than in recent times. According to the Flexera 2022 State of the Cloud Survey, nearly half (49%) of all enterprise workloads and  49% of enterprise workloads are in the public cloud. For 57% of companies, “migrating more workloads to the cloud” is one of the top cloud priorities. Additionally, 89% of them have a multi-cloud strategy, of which 80% have implemented a hybrid cloud strategy.

These stats show that organizations acknowledge that the cloud can unlock extraordinary value by helping them scale faster, become more agile, reduce operating expenses, and enhance enterprise resilience. But at the same time, many enterprises also struggle with a key challenge: hybrid cloud security. This is unsurprising since hybrid cloud architectures are complex and therefore more difficult to secure.

It begs the question: what are some of the most common hybrid cloud security challenges facing organizations and what can they do today to overcome them?

Is hybrid cloud security keeping you up at night?

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All major cloud service providers (CSPs) like AWS, Microsoft Azure, and GCP implement up-to-date security features to secure their customers, i.e. your workloads and data. However, they operate along the “shared responsibility model” for cloud security, meaning they will only take responsibility for the security of the cloud, not the security in the cloud. So while they will protect the cloud’s infrastructure, software, and services, the security of your applications, users, and data is your responsibility.

Hybrid cloud security is an ongoing concern for many organizations. And as the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) discovered, 75% of companies also lack the confidence to protect sensitive data in the cloud. This is concerning, since so many (67%) host sensitive data or workloads in the public cloud. You probably do as well. That’s why you should know the hybrid cloud risks inside your clouds and follow proven hybrid cloud security best practices to address and minimize these risks.

Common hybrid cloud security challenges

Gartner predicts that through 2025, 99% of cloud security failures will be organizations’ fault. This is because it is usually organizations and not CSPs that fail to implement and manage robust security controls to address hybrid cloud security issues and protect their cloud assets.

One common self-created security challenge is misconfiguration errors – a leading vulnerability, particularly in hybrid cloud environments. Common misconfiguration errors include unrestricted inbound and outbound ports, unlimited access to Non-HTTPS/HTTP ports, disabled monitoring and logging, insecure automated backups, and misconfigured control settings.

In addition, there are several other hybrid cloud security concerns for many organizations. One is open vulnerabilities that open the door to cyberattacks and data breaches. Insecure interfaces, APIs, software, and third-party resources, and poorly managed secrets (encryption keys, passwords, admin credentials, etc.) also create serious data security risks in the cloud.

Your organization may also be facing these security challenges in your hybrid cloud environment:

  •  Having multi-cloud platforms means expanding the attack surface; setting the stage for hackers to exploit existing security weaknesses
  • Lack of visibility and control may prevent you from properly securing your assets
  • Dynamic provisioning and de-provisioning of cloud assets make it harder to enforce protection policies
  • The complexity of the hybrid cloud combined with a lack of IT expertise increases hybrid cloud risks
  • Insider threats and open-source components increase the potential for breaches and advanced persistent threats (APTs)

So how can DevSecOps teams work in concert to overcome these security challenges and create a more secure hybrid cloud environment? Furthermore, what guardrails should they implement to protect their organization’s assets from the bad guys without compromising on application speed and agility?

Strategies to overcome cloud security challenges and boost hybrid cloud security

To safeguard your cloud workloads, resources, and data from cybercriminals, you should not rely on the security features and services provided by your CSP. Reliable and continual security in the cloud requires robust hybrid cloud security solutions that you implement, such as:

  • Policy-based identity and access controls based on the “least privilege principle” to ensure that all users are properly authenticated before they can access a cloud resource
  • Zero-trust security controls in logically isolated networks for granular cloud network security
  • Static user-defined routing configurations to control access to virtual devices/networks and public IP addresses
  • Automated security and configuration checks to avoid misconfiguration errors and ensure the deployment of secure code
  • Next-gen web application firewall (WAF) to safeguard all cloud-native distributed apps and microservices
  • Enhanced data protection and regular checks to detect misconfigured buckets and terminate “orphan”, potentially insecure resources

It’s also important to implement threat intelligence solutions that detect and remediate threats in real time, as well as tools that provide real-time threat alerts and trigger auto-remediation workflows.

Gartner also recommends developing a detailed enterprise cloud strategy. The strategy should clearly state how you will control and use your hybrid cloud, what data you will place and how you will secure it. You should also conduct regular cybersecurity risk assessments to identify potential threats in the hybrid cloud and guide your risk mitigation strategies.

Next steps to consider If your organization plans to adopt a hybrid cloud strategy, robust security tools should be your mission-critical priority. AlgoSec [AS1] provides numerous such tools to enhance your visibility and control over your hybrid environment and help you effectively secure your workloads and data. To explore more, be sure to take the first step[AS2]  on your journey to mastering hybrid cloud security.

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