Some Hybrid Cloud Security Risks Challenges and How to Repair them

Security, Data Security: Let me begin by saying that the cloud filth has finally settled at last, and it became vividly clear that a hybrid cloud model makes the maximum intelligence for most organizations. Therefore, a mixture of new or existing Information Technology infrastructure and public cloud offers the flexibility, cost effective, performance, and scalability that companies require to compete in their niche. In other words, the big question then becomes: How do you secure the hybrid cloud infrastructure?

As can be seen from Gartner’s research that not less than ninety percent of companies will adopt hybrid infrastructure management capabilities by the year 2020. Meanwhile, companies may feel strongly that hybrid-cloud architectures are the excellent choice, big concerns still remain about data protection, security, and compliance from cloud service providers.

In the cause of this article, we will be discussing four (4) major challenges with hybrid-cloud security. We will also provide information on how your IT team can tackle them.

Hybrid cloud: A deal organizations can’t refuse

A good hybrid environment carries with it capacities of choice and flexibility. Ordinarily, this will allow IT leaders to keep data in either environment that works best for that data; from both a compute and security perception. It will also provide the chance to keep some sorts of sensitive or critical data—such as personally identifiable information (PII)—on premises while still embracing the enormous potential of private and public clouds is hard to turn down.

Meanwhile, due to changes to an enterprise infrastructure, adopting a hybrid-cloud model means looking at the security practices already in place and how companies may need to be modified.

However, when properly done, a hybrid infrastructure ought to help improvement of an organization’s security posture. Overall, security must be a visible piece of your overall hybrid-cloud strategy, or you might be presenting fresh dangers without taking the suitable steps to moderate them.

There are four (4) primary security risk challenges they will need to overcome, as enterprises consider migrating to a hybrid infrastructure to meet their IT needs.

1. Visibility and control

As soon as clients begin to introduce infrastructure beyond physical machines and virtualization—for example, a combination of public clouds including Azure, AWS, and Google with private clouds such as OpenStack—complication and risk grow at an exponential rate. Furthermore, this makes it much more challenging for companies to obviously view and control all the distributed systems that make up the infrastructure. Additionally, if you can’t see your whole environment, how can you control or secure it?

After all, this is particularly true for administrators who can physically monitoring for security and compliance—not to mention manual patching and configuration organization.

Keep in mind that it’s not just security that becomes compromised in this kind of scenario. All organisations that doesn’t have good visibility into and control of their infrastructure are far less likely to be successful in their efforts to implement, say, self-service systems. Equally, if no one is quite sure who made what configuration change when, there will be finger-pointing when things don’t go well—not precisely the kind of cooperative environment necessary for agile development and deployment.

For customers to ultimately reap rewards from hybrid cloud and gain security, organisations must endeavor to automate anything and everything they can. While implementing not only infrastructure as code, but security as code as well. That is to say that you should avoid a manual process when you can create an automation. In other words, automation will offer repeatability and the ability to share and verify, all of which will lead to making it easier to pass security audits.

While it is imperative to put some sort of tooling in place to offer integrated management and visibility across the entire heterogeneous infrastructure, it is also significant that such tools are open. If not, your companies are sure to hit a wall as your infrastructure inevitably changes but the management tools you are using don’t—or can’t. To summarize, using tools based on open standards will also make it easier to find people who know the tools and can work from repeatable, sharable features and processes.

2. Compliance and governance

It has become a new trend for some time now; companies in highly controlled industries were neryvous about cloud computing—to the point that they completely banned it or leveraged it only for noncritical or non-sensitive tasks and data.

Hybrid Cloud technology has within the years developed to the point that companies in all industries are using it at some level. That being said, hybrid set-up does present unusual problems for companies in the healthcare, financial, government, and other synchronized divisions.

In the same way, one of the major tasks comes not from any one regulation, but from the fact that many organisations are still physically checking to see that they are compliant and meeting custom or regulatory security standards for security compliance and auditing requests.

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As has been noted, it is a boring, complex, and error-prone process to start with, nonetheless it becomes even more so when dealing with a mixture of various systems in the cloud and on-premises. In the long run, when configuration changes are made physically, many times these changes not be detected. So procedures are not repeatable, sharable, and reproducible—all musts, if you are planning on passing a security audit.

That’s not all, organisations ought to be searching for a technique to automate the scanning and remediation of security controls using open-source tools. All in all, the main aim is to offer crystal-clear visibility into tasks and allow for scalability of these responsibilities—from the container level to individual systems to the hybrid infrastructure in general.

3. Data security

Right from time, it is a known phenomenon that Security is always challenging, but hybrid cloud ups the complexity—and the ante. Also, data can be exposed to risk both in transit and at rest, across progressively complex and expansive hybrid-cloud environments. However, since the same information may be at rest and in motion at different points in time, no single protective implementation can avoid all possible approaches of compromise.

Protecting data at rest

It is necessary to note that one of the best ways of protecting your data at rest is the Full-disk or partition encryption. IT staffs will want to search for an operating system (OS) that supports full-disk encryption, for example; the Linux Unified Key Setup-on-disk (LUKS) format. While your computer is off, LUKS bulk-encrypts your hard drive partitions so that your data is fully protected.

Altogether for further protection, IT staffs must also use hardware encryption, like the Trusted Platform Module (TPM), which is encompassed in fresher workstations and servers. Also for your information, this is a hardware chip on the computer’s motherboard for storage of cryptographic keys. Once the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) is enabled, it retains the hard drives locked until an authorized user logs into it. For the most part, even if an invader steals the computer, he or she won’t be able to access the hard drive without the authentication and correct login credentials.

As an IT professional, you may also want to avoid having to physically enter passwords into your encrypted drives in a highly automated cloud environment, where assignments are temporary and you have little human involvement. This is already solved with Network Bound Disk Encryption (NBDE) in Linux. The NBDE allows the operator to encrypt root volumes of hard drives on physical and virtual machines without needing a physically entered password when systems are rebooted.

To get an additional protection, TPM should be a part of the Network Bound Disk Encryption. This offers two levels of security for hybrid-cloud processes to assist safe keeping of information on disks physically more secure: Generally speaking, the network-based mechanism—NBDE—provides security across networked environments, while the TPM works on-premises to enhance an extra level, tying disks to detailed physical systems. 

Shielding data in motion

Data in motion is data that is being transmitted over a network. The biggest threats to data in motion are interception and alteration. Encrypting the network session ensures a higher security level for data in motion.

Take for instance, you can use Internet Protocol Security (IPsec) to encrypt the communication amongst hosts that communicate using the Internet Protocol (IP). IPsec is an extension of IP designed to protect network communication through cryptography. 

There is also additional method customers can confirm data security protection in a hybrid-cloud environment is to search for solutions that implement typical protection procedures. For example, look for products that support the Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) Publication 140-2, which is a US government computer security standard used to approve cryptographic modules for protecting sensitive data.

4. Supply chain security

Unique, it has become cliché to say that you are only as secure as your weakest link—but you really are only as secure as your weakest link. All in all, across a hybrid-cloud environment, it can be difficult to see those links.

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Meanwhile, when evaluating and implementing infrastructure systems and platforms, it’s critical that companies know where the products and software that they are using came from This means having confidence that the providers they are working with know where their products came from and can ensure that their products were built securely.

It’s all about a secure and transparent supply chain.

All things considered, so much developers are quick to download upstream code, but it’s important to ensure that it has gone through a secure software supply chain. In brief, organisations must perform both manual and automated inspection of the source code and establish strict guidelines about what to implement.

Of course, when building from source, it’s critical to understand the origins of the code—on its own and bundled as product. Also, you will have to search for code that’s been certified against internationally recognized security standards and has undergone extensive QA/QE testing. Furthermore, seek providers that have a secure means of distributing software and specific processes in place for continuously providing updated fixes, especially fixes for critical security vulnerabilities.

It doesn’t have to be perfect

If all of this seems daunting, it is. There’s no such thing as perfect security, which is why organizations should focus on putting one foot in front of the other and look at security and compliance as a continuous process.

Take for instance, automation is clearly necessary for ensuring the ongoing security of hybrid-cloud systems, however it would be difficult to automate everything all at once. Indeed, it shouldn’t happen immediately.

In summary, you can prioritize, and focus on automating one thing at a time at each layer of the stack. Seriously, in that way, you’re more secure than you were yesterday while instilling better practices for a more secure the future.

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