Security for Hybrid Cloud Computing Technologies

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The hybrid cloud deployment is a new, bigger, more complex attack surface for most organizations.

Most IT departments at many businesses are currently moving their business applications and information to the cloud and the feeling of not being able to see what’s ahead looms over their heads. Cloud computing technology is a great move forward for businesses, but you need to be careful.

Most companies are using hybrid clouds because using a big and centralized cloud deployment is not feasible, both in terms of cost and in terms of risk mitigation. It is very difficult to plan, allocate resources and manage the risks associated with such wholesale cloud deployment. So instead, companies are choosing the hybrid model that combines physical data centers, public cloud services and private cloud deployments.

According to 451 Research, 60% of businesses will be running their workloads on the cloud by 2018, a massive 41% increase that we see today. And that would mean these businesses would have to secure all of these cloud computing services.

While your IT might have a good idea of what goes on with your networks, that level of visibility and control is not possible with cloud environments. Securing your cloud deployments is also more complicated when you have hybrid systems.

More and more businesses and people are using hybrid cloud computing services

It is no surprise that the use of hybrid cloud computing services is on the uptick.

For one, there are a lot of users that now rely on services and devices that needs to access on cloud computing technology.

Enterprises such as insurance, healthcare, entertainment and retail also need the cloud to give their customers services that are customized according to regulations or preferences. As such, these businesses would need to collect and analyze up to the minute data and information that they can act on immediately. This need for fast and reliable processing of data is possible on the cloud.

These trends mean that we are now seeing the rise of advanced, distributed and decentralized hybrid clouds that uses the right levels of public and private cloud to augment onsite and existing systems used by the business. This can lead the way for a more agile and efficient computer model that many are calling fog computing, which lessens the amount of data that needs to go to the cloud while also being able to access the resources that only a cloud deployment can give.

Securing hybrid cloud computing technologies

Making hybrid cloud deployments more secure is a challenge because the information and applications that you put on there are not within your traditional security controls that you use for your onsite IT. It does not help that cyber threats and attacks are on the rise, and when your system is breached, it can spread from one cloud deployment to another and even to your onsite networks.

According to a Netskope – Ponemon Institute study released in October 2016, 31% of all companies have gone through a data breach on the cloud. What’s worse, close to 1 out of every 5 businesses have no way of knowing whether they were victims of a breach or not. The most likely culprit is malware – close to 4 out of every 10 data breaches.

Ponemon Institute sounded the alarm that even as more and more businesses move to the cloud, confidential and vital company information are put at risk because knowledge about what are being put in the cloud are actually decreasing.

The study also explained that the percentage of applications that moved to the cloud increased to 49% in 2016 from 45% in 2014, while known apps that are approved by IT decreased to 45% in 2016 from 50% two years before. That would indicate that security measures are being ignored in favor of cloud adoption. More than that, around 26% of sensitive information stored on the cloud are not known to IT.

The study also reported several cost estimates of a data breach:

  • a financial loss of $20 million
  • the loss of at least 100,000 customer records
  • the cost of technical support and remediation
  • lost productivity and business opportunities

The biggest losses would involve the damage to the brand and its reputation, where companies estimated that they would spend $7.7 million. Other costs include remediation and clean up for $3.9 million, and around a million for theft or damage to IT assets.

The hybrid cloud deployment is therefore a new, bigger, more complex attack surface for most organizations that is compounded by the lack of visibility. To secure this, you would need a comprehensive security solution that would help fill the vulnerabilities and security holes. This will protect your applications and data, while also adding more control and visibility.

This solution should help protect traffic coming from and going to the data center as well as the cloud environment. It is deployed as a security virtual machine within the cloud environment to help inspect traffic and make it more secure.

Additionally, it should provide micro-segmentation that categorizes resources that are found inside the cloud environment, making these smaller segments easier to protect.

With this in place, you can easily discover breaches and fight it with dynamic and specific security policies. Then the traffic that goes to and from the data center can go to a virtual security gateway for more scrutiny using threat prevention techniques, including IPS, antivirus, firewalls, sandboxing and anti-bot technologies. These techniques are designed to stop hackers, attacks and threats from moving laterally from one segment to another, from one application to yet another application.

The chosen solution should also work with the tools you use to manage your cloud computing services. This way, the appropriate security policies are enforced for your applications and allow you to automate your security processes without affecting agility in the cloud.

The features you have employing are delivered using a virtualized and integrated security platform. This allows you to deploy threat prevention and security services everywhere you need them, be it your onsite data center, or anywhere on the cloud.

Businesses can easily be more agile and flexible with hybrid clouds, but you need the right security strategy that would use advance protection, visibility and policy management across the fog, the cloud and onsite networks.

If you need help securing cloud computing services, contact Four Cornerstone at +1 (817) 377-1144 or fill out our contact form. Four Cornerstone can help you implement the solutions that would allow you to secure your hybrid cloud deployments.

Photo courtesy of Merrill College of Journalism Press Releases.

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