When we talk about the cloud, the most significant concern and doubts that hinder its adoption concern data security. Who or what guarantees the protection of my data and applications? What prevents the loss or unauthorized disclosure of information and vulnerability to external attacks? In recent years, however, more and more companies have decided to make use of cloud solutions due to the undeniable advantages they entail:
The reduction of hardware costs and the problem related to its obsolescence, better performance linked to a flexible infrastructure, and lastly, but no less important in a reality that increasingly sees the increase in smart working, the ability to access data anywhere and at any time, allowing collaboration between teams that are not in the same place.
The Difference Between Private, Public, And Hybrid Cloud
Let’s define the first two cloud deployment models: the private cloud and the public cloud.
The former is hosted in a data center with dedicated hardware leased and managed by third parties or in the organization’s proprietary data centers. In this way, the customer receives an exclusive service. It is possible to meet specific business needs and IT requirements and have a greater level of control and security. Conversely, with a private cloud, higher costs will have to be incurred.
On the other hand, the public cloud is shared with other customers: the entire infrastructure, hardware, and software are owned by the various cloud service providers and are managed and distributed by them over the Internet. The advantage deriving from this sharing mainly concerns the reduction of costs because only the services used are paid, the absence of specific assistance from the provider, the high scalability, and the removal of time-to-market. On the other hand, the disadvantages concern the perception of lower information security and the fact that, for some companies, the need to keep data physically localized within their structure is essential.
Suppose you want to take advantage of the best of both solutions. In that case, the best choice falls on adopting a Hybrid cloud security architecture: in this way, you will have the opportunity to combine the advantages of the private cloud with those of the public cloud, first of all, the flexibility and agility. Depending on the workloads and peak demand, it will be possible to scale and converge costs only on the resources used.
Business needs are constantly changing, and having the ability to combine different solutions allows you to keep strategic business data and applications locally, protected by a corporate firewall, and manage other activities on a public cloud to exploit the space and processing power. What is created with the use of a hybrid cloud is a distributed environment in which it is possible to work through the DevOps methodology, allowing the operational and development teams to collaborate through an architectural approach to microservices that is replicable, flexible, and agnostic concerning the target on which it will be executed.
Hybrid Cloud Security Architecture: The Components Of Security
To answer the initial question, it is necessary to define the best practices to be implemented to establish a security strategy and ensure the protection of data and applications.
Workloads are spread across multiple IT environments in a hybrid cloud, including at least one public or private cloud. They are separate but tightly connected at the network level, making them a single combined infrastructure. Suppose the workloads are replicated between the two sites to ensure high reliability and failover.
In that case, they become central issues such as portability and orchestration and secure communication between the two infrastructures to provide data synchronization processes. At the same time, having two different sites, one private and one at a public provider, allows you to choose whether to protect sensitive information by placing it within the private cloud over which we can exercise greater control and more customized protection measures.
A Hybrid cloud security architecture is safe because it is based on a whole series of technical controls that provide for different interventions or tools to be adopted at each level, both infrastructural and application:
It is the most direct and effective method to guarantee the protection of both inactive and active data, reducing the risk of disclosure of sensitive information in the event of cyber attacks or violations on physical machines. Encryption is intended both on stored and archived data and on data in transit between applications, particularly between the two public and private sites or between clients and services exposed on the Internet.
The Connection Between Clouds
All communication between the two (or more) clouds must occur privately. Otherwise, the cloud cannot be defined as a hybrid. If two applications placed in the two sites have to cross the internet to communicate, the company is not exploiting a hybrid cloud. Still, it is simply using two or more distinct providers in parallel. Communication between sites must take place via encrypted API, VPN, or WAN.
Automation And Orchestration
The first allows to eliminate the risks related to the security aspects connected to the manual corrections made to the environments, thus reducing the errors and disadvantages due to an asynchronous implementation. Automating means setting specific rules making the process more efficient, and denying operators the possibility of implementing unexpected changes in the system, with the risk of opening unforeseen flaws.
The second allows managing heterogeneous and complex environments as a single unit, standardizing the process and making it compliant in terms of safety. These good practices also help enormously in the disaster recovery phase, if a short time must restore failed services elsewhere in their primary execution site, thus ensuring the safety of an environment that is always replicable.
Assigning appropriate roles to selected types of users, limiting access for those connected via VPN, allows you to identify who accesses data and resources, monitor the activities carried out, and authorize the operations that can be carried out based on who is logged in. Any process must be nominally tracked, discouraging the use of shared accesses and users.
A monitoring system is essential to detect anomalies in consumption and access of both data centers in real-time. An abnormal spike in resource consumption could indicate an attack in progress.
End Point Security And WAF
Endpoint security is always essential to preventively identify and block anyone who tries to get hold of confidential information, but it becomes necessary when using a hybrid cloud to which users could have access from any device and wherever they are. It is required to use software that deletes personal data in physical or IT theft of a computer, tablet, or smartphone used for the connection.
Alternatively, that allows you to cancel access remotely. Similarly, having a Web Application Firewall available makes it possible to secure the perimeter starting from the applications exposed on the web, which are the first point of attack for access to the underlying infrastructure.
Why Choose A Hybrid Cloud?
Ultimately, adopting a Hybrid cloud security architecture is worthwhile for several reasons:
- Rapid scalability and provisioning, with reduced downtime.
- Cost reduction and resource efficiency, as significant investments are avoided when dealing with an increase in temporary workload.
- Greater security, thanks to the presence of multiple geographically disjointed and multi-zone environments in which to store data.
Suppose your need is to find the right balance between the systems already present in the company and a cutting-edge technological approach that meets the needs of your business. In that case, the right solution for you is the Hybrid cloud because it is a system that guarantees both stability and the security of strategic information, thanks to its security architecture.
Its extreme scalability allows you to enhance your IT investments and reduce the potential exposure of sensitive data. Furthermore, thanks to the distribution of resources and various workloads across multiple clouds, it is possible to choose alternatives for backups and redundancies and failover to the reference public cloud in case of failure of the cloud system of the private data center.