What Is hybrid cloud security?
Hybrid cloud security describes the coordinated implementation of tools, processes, and technical know-how that an organization uses to protect its infrastructures, applications, and data across multi-cloud environments (public, private) and on-premises network devices.
The building blocks of hybrid cloud security highlight how demanding it is to safeguard these interconnected resources–and the data that travels between them. From policy design to harmonizing security controls, managing cloud providers, and automating workflows to keep up with business needs, the process can stretch security and IT teams to their limits.
What are the 2 other categories of cloud security?
Many businesses struggle to manage an incompatible and time-consuming patchwork of tools to protect their hybrid environment. Because conventional security solutions work for either on-premise or public cloud assets, this creates security gaps and expands their attack surface.
Private cloud security
A private cloud platform can be a smart investment for some organizations, especially those in highly regulated sectors. It offers unparalleled protection for sensitive data, customizable cybersecurity, and powerful access control.
However, a private cloud setup compels organizations to take full responsibility for physical and network security, encryption, and data storage techniques, while also ensuring scalability and flexibility. Given the magnitude of this challenge, enterprises often choose a hybrid cloud architecture.
Public cloud security
Public cloud systems, such as SaaS (software-as-a-service), IaaS (infrastructure-as-a-service), or PaaS (platform-as-a-service), offer limited visibility into the provider’s security tools and processes.
Despite their heavy investment in security, the biggest public cloud service providers (Amazon AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, Cisco, VMware) can’t fully protect against all threats. This makes the shared responsibility for cloud security model crucial.
Security benefits of a hybrid cloud solution
A well-managed hybrid cloud architecture offers great security benefits despite its increased complexity.
Greater control over data security
Hybrid cloud flexibility grants businesses greater security control. They can store highly confidential data in on-premise data centers for greater protection and use the public cloud to handle less sensitive data.
Hybrid cloud architecture also allows plug-and-play security solutions to extend visibility and management across the entire estate using automation.
Access to cutting-edge security technologies
Reputable cloud service providers hire top talent and use advanced tools to remain essential to their clients. Internal teams can elevate their skills and knowledge by tapping into the resources they offer.
Companies can also layer cutting-edge tech onto hybrid cloud security setups to become vendor-neutral and preserve the security posture as their IT infrastructure evolves.
Stronger business continuity and disaster recovery
The hybrid cloud model helps DevSecOps improve operational availability. Backup options at multiple sites simplify data consistency and make it easier to recover from failure. Also, portable applications that run on both on-premise and public cloud infrastructure ensure continuous application connectivity.
These and other capabilities support the company’s disaster recovery strategy, minimize downtime, and reduce costly business impact.
Improved security and risk management
Hybrid cloud architecture improves attack surface management because organizations can operate their security controls in a consistent and centralized manner. However, that’s only possible with technology that extends across providers.
This is why organizations prioritize proactive risk detection and automation when choosing a hybrid cloud security solution. Enterprises often end up working with companies like AlgoSec to also overcome challenges like staff shortages and keeping up with the changing cloud environment.
There’s no underestimating how complex hybrid cloud security is. Specialized research shows that fragmented security due to insufficient staff, manual management, unclear ownership, and lack of expertise is the main issue. And those are not the only obstacles.
Compliance and governance
Hybrid cloud architecture is under regulatory scrutiny given the volumes of sensitive data that pass through it. Data protection and compliance standards (e.g. HIPAA, PCI DSS, GDPR, ISO/IEC 27001, NIST, etc.) constantly evolve, pushing organizations to expand their security capabilities.
Cloud providers‘ certifications help with cloud compliance, but the “shared responsibility” model requires companies to assume more responsibility for risk management across their on-premises and multi-cloud network environments.
Visibility and control
Security owners face constant pressure to manage multiple vendors and security controls, understand network structures, track assets, and identify misconfigurations in real-time.
Since cloud providers‘ native security controls often fall short, organizations need a solution that can orchestrate security and give them full visibility and control.
With scarce resources and limited specialized know-how, protecting each component of the cloud computing environment is a sizable challenge.
Since finding skilled security experts is often a struggle, enterprises must get creative with either recruitment or a technical solution that can ease the burden.
Access management is more complicated in the hybrid cloud. Each provider has different authentication methods and access policies. Users with different roles and devices request access from various locations.
It’s challenging to reduce risks such as unauthorized access, data leaks, and non-compliance by coordinating dissimilar, incompatible tools and platforms.
Supply chain security
Cybercriminals take advantage of multi-vendor hybrid cloud environments because they know companies lack visibility and control over the entire supply chain. So they target vulnerabilities and inadequate security controls to reach high-value enterprises.
Managing security risks associated with each vendor and partner remains crucial, especially since it is notoriously difficult to detect and mitigate supply chain attacks.
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What are the risks in hybrid cloud security?
Executives may believe security and IT professionals have excessive risk aversion, but their fears are valid for hybrid cloud security. Hybrid cloud environments provide attackers with multiple possible entry points to gain unauthorized access, move laterally, and steal data.
Incomplete attack surface mapping
Mapping the attack surface of hybrid workload inventories is challenging without a solution that bridges multiple environments. Limited visibility leaves organizations overexposed to bad actors who scrutinize publicly available workloads.
Without close management of every cloud asset, even unused resources can become a gateway for attackers and security threats.
Cloud security misconfigurations are a main cause of cloud-related incidents and a major concern for security and IT professionals. Left unchecked, they create security gaps that can quickly escalate and lead to full compromise.
Realistically, without smart automation, it is almost impossible to identify misconfigurations in real-time.
It takes a lot of heavy lifting to prevent sensitive data loss. Security teams must ensure safe storage and access to confidential information, prevent developers from circumventing approvals, curb unsanctioned API use, and avoid vulnerabilities introduced by cloud security changes.
Without a trusted solution that automates the bulk of this, their work remains taxing.
Business pressure for rapid digitalization and growth strains security experts, diverting their attention from data security. The ease of use of cloud-based apps also increases the risk of outsiders accessing assets.
Enterprises need to implement processes and technology to help employees make the right decisions, rather than blaming them for mishaps.
Security controls incompatibilities
Legacy on-premise security controls often do not work with cloud-specific ones. This makes it impossible to run a coherent policy across both sets. On top of that, cumbersome manual processes add friction and can result in connectivity failures for the entire hybrid cloud environment.
This makes it imperative to find a hybrid cloud security solution that reconciles and eliminates these differences.
Lack of operational workflows
Securing hybrid clouds often lags behind adoption, leaving the security team to struggle with overexposure and unsanctioned public cloud use.
The top contributing factors include limited resources to develop comprehensive strategies before adopting hybrid cloud architecture, steep learning curves, missing expertise, and lack of proper tooling.
Cybercriminals are adept at monetizing access and data, so they focus on getting both. Misconfigurations and mismanagement often give them a way into the system. Cloud security breaches also result from targeted attacks that use zero-day vulnerabilities and from hijacking accounts with weak credentials.
Without a way to quickly identify assets that violate security controls, enterprises cannot move fast enough to limit risk or potential damage.
Sharing data with external, unauthorized parties
Cloud apps make access sharing easy and unlimited, but revoking it in a centralized way is often impossible. This is why unmonitored sharing can easily spiral into uncontrolled access and data leakage.
This exposure takes a long time to detect, making it a critical threat to organizations.
Components of hybrid cloud security
Any modern security strategy for the hybrid cloud follows an automation-driven approach that combines controls that plug into physical, technical, and administrative layers.
This helps internal teams coordinate security controls and avoid errors and synchronization issues. It also provides global visibility and helps organizations monitor environments, manage data security rules, run compliance checks, roll out patches, and more.
Ultimately, this strategy enables enterprises to stay ahead of risks rather than react to them.
Organizations handle physical security for on-premise infrastructure but lose control when working with public cloud providers. While SLAs (Service Level Agreements) also enforce physical security standards, most details remain out of their grasp. That’s why many enterprises invest in technical controls to reduce hybrid cloud risks.
The bulk of hybrid cloud security work involves orchestrating encryption, access control, micro-segmentation, vulnerability scanning, workload security, configuration management, and endpoint security. Automation comes into play here to ensure these technical controls meet compliance demands and keep up with business needs, keeping this intricate system compatible and effective.
Training, disaster recovery, and incident response plans are fundamental administrative controls. These protocols guide internal security experts in both ongoing activities and in crisis situations.
Automation offers crucial support here too, enabling teams to quickly identify risk and use the audit trail for compliance and forensics.
Hybrid cloud security infrastructure
Effective security management in a hybrid environment depends on choosing the right tools. There are four main areas an enterprise must cover to keep its use of public cloud, private cloud, containers, and on-premises networks equally safe and compliant:
- Secure connectivity – protect credentials and ensure safe access to services
- Workload security – detect, query, and secure hybrid cloud workloads
- Network security – monitor and manage network security, automate threat response
- DevOps integration – integrate security into development for safe app delivery
Businesses expect a hybrid cloud security solution to provide capabilities and options for:
- Application discovery and connectivity management
- Data center and application migration
- DevOps security
- Network segmentation
- Firewall management, auditing, and compliance
- Firewall policy cleanup & optimization
- Security management across multi-cloud estates
- Security policy change management and risk mitigation
- Incident response
To leverage these technologies and everything they offer, internal teams can use hybrid cloud security best practices to guide their actions.
Hybrid cloud security best practices
These best practices in hybrid cloud security help security and IT teams navigate the characteristic diversity of this environment, no matter how it evolves:
- Establish full visibility to harmonize security controls across all components
- Implement zero trust to ensure secure access and maintain business flexibility
- Automate configuration monitoring and audits to avoid errors and non-compliance
- Ensure continuous vulnerability scanning to find and prioritize risks and remediation
- Roll out security patches right away, using automation to check for policy conflicts
- Combine strong encryption with analysis capabilities to keep malicious traffic from sneaking in
- Ensure comprehensive endpoint security–mobile and IoT devices included–to protect data that travels to, through, and between them
- Maintain a recovery plan, including multiple separate backups to avoid a single point of failure and accelerate remediation.
AlgoSec and hybrid cloud security
Smooth setup, intelligent automation, and simplification are the main ROI drivers that IT and security managers mention about using AlgoSec. Large organizations with massive volumes of network security activity rely on us to help them:
- Understand their full security posture through full visibility across firewalls and security controls deployed on every type of hybrid cloud component
- Remain vendor agnostic and manage a multi-vendor strategy with less manpower
- Reduce complexity and minimize the learning curve for internal teams by making all policy changes transparent, accessible, and easy to understand
- Align key stakeholders across business, operations, IT, and security teams with access to up-to-date information about any aspect of their environment
- Materialize their digital transformation vision with consistent security and compliance during infrastructure expansions, application migrations, and new device additions
- Achieve zero trust with ongoing monitoring, proactive misconfiguration detection, and automated policy push
- Make confident changes to hybrid cloud infrastructure knowing that essential business capabilities will not be impacted
- Gain assurance of their security posture and ability to maintain compliance through easy setup, flawless functionality, and non-problematic updates.
Enterprise customers in 80 countries, including 20 of Fortune 50 companies, trust AlgoSec for its advanced hybrid cloud security capabilities.
Quick start and seamless integration
- Easy to use right out of the box
- Integration with all leading network security devices and solutions
- Immediate identification of traffic flows and their related security policies
Full visibility over the entire hybrid network
- Instant visibility of the full network topology
- Unified management of all on-prem and cloud resources
- Comprehensive traffic analysis capabilities
Cloud-centric risk analysis and remediation
- Consolidated network risk analysis and remediation
- Ongoing monitoring to hybrid cloud security configurations
- Proactive detection of misconfigurations and risky security policies
Hybrid network-aware automation
- “Zero-touch”, risk-reducing policy changes
- Intelligent rule design for a uniform network model
- Automated identification of unused security rules
Efficiencies of scale through optimization
- Firewall ruleset optimization
- Automatic notifications for time-based rules
- Staff efficiencies and confident decision-making
Large-scale, uninterrupted compliance
- Automated, audit-ready compliance reporting
- Standardized policy enforcement
- Built-in documentation and audit trails