Compared to multi-cloud, hybrid-cloud infrastructure has its appeal due to simpler management and reduced exposure to vulnerabilities, argues this expert.

Cybersecurity is a key concern for businesses everywhere today, and the challenge weighs heavily on the agendas of enterprises. The Red Hat Global Customer Tech Outlook in both 2018 and 2019 found security to be one of the top three IT budgeting priorities, on a par with other initiatives such as modernizing legacy IT and enterprise integration.

As the saying goes, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. When businesses introduce more than one vendor into their cloud environment, more attack vectors arise, as each individual cloud platform represents an opportunity for hackers. In such a scenario, traditional perimeter security is less effective. It can also be tedious to manually patch or configure systems from the mixed environments of hybrid cloud, particularly with new and evolving threats constantly surfacing in the wild.

Managing hybrid cloud risks

Attacks such as Meltdown and Spectre exploited common features of modern microprocessors and thus made almost every device or cloud architecture vulnerable. While patches can be applied, this only minimizes the risk of attack, but does not eliminate them altogether.

That does not mean organizations need to forgo the flexibility that a hybrid cloud infrastructure provides. Ensuring they have a central dashboard that allows them to understand the IT risks they are facing at a glance, is the first step they can take to mitigate risks. It should list the critical issues prioritized by an overall risk assessment rating, and display the probability and potential impact of each issue to help companies focus on what needs the most attention.

Furthermore, because a hybrid cloud strategy involves just one rather than multiple cloud services, it can be easier to achieve integrated networking, centralized access management and unified monitoring and management. The right management solutions can help IT staff know where to focus their attention across a sea of on-premises and cloud-based environments. When guidance is included for resolving identified risks, teams are able to learn by doing.

Keeping on top of regulations

While cloud technology—whether public or private, or some combination of the two—is fairly ubiquitous among businesses today, regulation can still be tricky to navigate in heavily regulated industries.

Telecommunications service providers, for example, face a wealth of issues when it comes to protecting their networks and meeting security and regulatory compliance requirements. Companies are required to ensure that their distributed environments meet custom or regulatory security baselines for compliance and auditing requirements.

Making changes to configurations manually can be a time-consuming, complex and error-prone process. Those changes may also go undetected, which may prevent the organization from passing a security audit.

As such, companies should look to enhance their hybrid cloud with tools that can provide centralized visibility across the entire heterogeneous infrastructure. Tools that automatically scan the IT environment for non-compliant configurations and remediate them can help too.

Adopting hybrid cloud may seem like a daunting task as it can introduce additional risks and complexities. However, organizations can overcome those challenges by moving away from being reactive to issues towards taking a more proactive and intelligent approach to infrastructure management.

One way of achieving this is by ensuring that the foundation of their hybrid cloud provides them with knowledge about their infrastructure to accurately predict potential issues and pinpoint existing technical risks. It should also offer tailored remediation steps along with automated resolution so that critical and configuration problems can be resolved quickly and before business operations are affected.

With these capabilities, organizations can spend less time keeping the lights on, and instead concentrate on sustaining business success with by developing and delivering innovation on a flexible and secure platform to meet strategic goals.