Businesses interested in scaling up operations are turning to hybrid cloud environments as a cost-effective solution. Hybrid clouds provide the best of both worlds, allowing companies to expand their network without investing in additional, costly on-premises servers that must be maintained. Instead, they can keep their highly sensitive data securely stored on premises where they have more complete control while storing less sensitive data in a managed third-party cloud.
Though hybrid environments provide many benefits, there are still security concerns that must be addressed to safely implement a hybrid cloud environment.
- Staffing: With the talent shortages in cybersecurity, many organizations are finding it difficult to hire personnel who have the skills to properly configure their cloud environments. Even those with cloud experience may not fully understand your cloud environment due to lack of standardization in different architectures, and as with any complex project, there is always the chance of human error. Your team should understand the shared responsibility model and the SLAs you’ve signed with your cloud providers, so you know what you are responsible for and what you can expect from the third-party vendor. After your cloud environment is set up, misconfigurations can still emerge as workloads change, so it is also important to routinely re-evaluate your configuration.
- Compliance: One of the biggest reasons companies are opting for a hybrid model is the ability to continue storing sensitive data in a more controlled environment. That being said, companies need to ensure that any data they are storing meets regulatory requirements for their industry and the location the data is stored. Regular audits can ensure that as configurations change, data remains in compliance.
- Identity and Access Management: Implementing good IAM practices, including zero trust and least privilege, is more important than ever in a hybrid cloud environment with its increased access points and undefined security perimeter. Multi-factor authentication must be enabled along with a strong password policy. Your identity and access management system should be centralized across both environments, so there aren’t account discrepancies.
- Data Encryption: In a hybrid environment, your data is going to be moving between a public cloud provider and a private cloud provider through the openly accessible internet. This puts your data at risk of corruption or theft through man-in-the-middle attacks if not properly encrypted.
- Tools Integration: With some of your data residing in the cloud and some residing inside your private network, it can be difficult operationalize data streams coming from different data feeds and vendors, in different formats. Using a data broker to streamline ingestions and standardize feeds to a single format for ingestion by security tools can help mitigate this risk and increase usability. Similarly, implementing a system information and event monitoring (SIEM) solution that can integrate information from across both environments increases visibility and makes it easier to monitor for abnormal behavior.
RH-ISAC members have access to exclusive resources to help implement hybrid cloud best practices, such as this recorded webinar, Elevating Security to the Cloud, from the 2021 Cyber Intelligence Summit.