A quick introduction to the fundamentals of cloud computing, along with the best practices and key strategies for securing your hybrid cloud.
A hybrid cloud is an integrated cloud service that combines the benefits of both private and public cloud solutions. It effectively merges the security and comprehensive feature sets of private clouds with the flexibility and customisability of public cloud solutions. For many businesses, this is a match made in heaven.
Cloud technology offers organisations the scalability, efficiency and features that help to ensure consistency in their day-to-day operations. While most private cloud infrastructure services are inherently designed to fit your requirements, a public cloud offer cost-effective scalability to businesses of all sizes and industries.
By implementing a hybrid cloud solution, you will ensure that every platform and application within your company are seamlessly integrated in order to maximise accessibility. In order to successfully implement hybrid cloud solutions, however, you must already have a private cloud setup, either on-premise or via a hosted private cloud service. Following this, you will need a public cloud services partner, such as for example Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure.
Key Benefits of Hybrid Cloud Solutions
- Cost Efficiency
One of the major benefits of the hybrid cloud approach is the cost efficiency they offer. Essentially, a hybrid cloud provides a nice compromise by allowing companies to easily switch between public and private infrastructure when necessary, thus potentially saving on unnecessary expenditures.
- Enhanced Security
Security should always be a concern for businesses deploying cloud technology. As the numbers of sophisticated security threats are increasing every single month, it’s absolutely imperative that you follow good security measures and observe cloud computing best practices.
Luckily, hybrid cloud services offer good security measures as opposed to public cloud solutions. This because it combines both public and private cloud services at the same time, thereby including all the security strengths of each platform. Companies can assign the sensitive aspects of their day-to-day operations to the private cloud services, which are managed in-house. With this approach, you can ensure end-to-end monitoring – thereby making hybrid cloud more secure and dependable than most other solutions.
The ability to easily scale software solutions is integral to any growing organisation.
One of the many advantages of public cloud services is the ease of which they can be scaled up or down. Additionally, the scaling can be done completely without risking sensitive data leaking out, as all sensitive resources such as configuration settings, and customer and personnel information, are all managed in-house through the private cloud.
- Architectural Flexibility
The technology behind hybrid cloud systems will enable businesses to properly organise workloads, processes, and other important tasks in a highly efficient manner. The users can easily reconfigure the platform to suit the needs and preferences of the company without having to rely too much on third-party providers or IT specialists. It allows for easy migration to cloud, switch between resources, data deployment and infrastructure.
However, it’s imperative to know that one cloud solution alone can guarantee you full cyber security or be the perfect for all your requirements. This is because all organisations will have different requirements and preferences – what works for one company, might not be the right fit for you. In order to get the best out of any technology, you need to deploy it properly, reconfigure it to suit your needs, and keep track of its performance to ensure efficiency, productivity, security, and ROI.
With that said, below are some of the essential best practices for managing and securing your hybrid cloud infrastructure.
5 Key Practices for Managing Hybrid Cloud Environments
Make informed decisions
Firstly, you must consider your current situation and determine how you would want to benefit from implementing hybrid infrastructure. What specifically will hybrid cloud bring to your table?
For instance, if you don’t handle a lot of sensitive data, then you don’t necessarily need the data security protocols that a private cloud can offer. Rather, doing away with multi-cloud solutions, might be the cost-saving option you’ve been looking for.
Conversely, if you do handle sensitive and confidential data on a daily basis, you are likely to benefit greatly from a hybrid cloud solution. While your non-sensitive data goes to the public cloud, the confidential data will still be handled in-house through a private cloud network provider.
The principle of least privilege
Every network administrator, developer or IT specialist will be familiar with the principle of least privilege. In a nutshell, this is when access to specific portions of a network is restricted to only the individuals who need it – meaning that employees will never access parts of the system that they’re not involved in. All cloud environments should implement this simple strategy.
If you live by this rule, you can minimise unnecessary exposure of sensitive data. Of all the various best practices in securing cloud environments, employing the principle of least privilege is probably one of the most crucial and should be a standard in every organisation.
Choose the right cloud service provider
One of the most vital aspects in implementing a successful hybrid cloud network is to find the right service provider.
As a business, you must exercise caution in choosing cloud providers – and especially so if you are concerned about security and reliability. Always do your research on the various providers on the market, and look carefully at their experience and reputation. While there are many reputable providers, you will occasionally come across a slightly shady one.
Before you collaborate with a partner, we recommend that you first discuss these points
- Scalability options
- Resource requirements
- Ease of integration
- Data migration
Amazon Web Services (AWS), for instance, is one of the most popular public cloud providers on the market. However, even with the popularity of AWS cloud computing, you will still have to assess its key functions and features to make sure they fit your specific requirements and company standards.
Once you have settled on a provider and is ready for migration, it’s highly recommended that you start the process with a noncritical workload. If your vendor is experienced, the adjustment period should be easy enough – meaning that it won’t take you long before you can start migrating more crucial processes.
Employ solid endpoint security
Securing all endpoints is just as important, regardless of whether you’re running an on-premise network or a cloud infrastructure. Essentially, a strong endpoint security will only make your hybrid cloud solution more secure.
Most cyber threats start at the endpoint level, and this is no different when a cloud-based solution is involved. If you rely on hybrid cloud computing, you should consider implementing reliable and comprehensive network security solutions. Consider features such as application whitelisting a browser exploit protection, often found in firewalls, and provide proper user training and education on network security. There are plenty of security providers on the market, such as for example Panda Security, so you can be sure that you find something that fit your security requirements.
Additionally, we can recommend looking into password management solutions, which is a good way to generate and store secure passwords.
Practice comprehensive monitoring on your hybrid cloud
When running hybrid systems, such as the VMware hybrid cloud or Microsoft Azure, it’s a rule of thumb not to place a total trust on the public cloud alone. No software system or network infrastructure is infallible, so it’s vital that you keep an eye on any movements.
We see many companies learn the hard way that data security is their own responsibility – not the cloud provider’s. While your company is responsible for all business-related processes, compliance requirements, and day-to-day operations, cloud providers will only provide you with the tools, expertise and features that you’ll need to secure your cloud solution in the best way possible.