Hybrid Cloud Security – Top Challenges and Risks

Hybrid cloud is a term that refers to the way companies can access, store, and use data across multiple locations. The idea behind the hybrid cloud is that it allows businesses to store their data in different places, which can help them save on storage costs and improve security. However, this also means that certain risks are associated with a hybrid cloud.

One of the biggest challenges for businesses that want to use a hybrid cloud is managing their data securely, especially when working across platforms and locations. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the top hybrid cloud security challenges and risks associated with a hybrid cloud so you can learn what you need to do to keep your company safe from cyberattacks.

Hybrid Cloud Security Challenges 

The hybrid cloud security difficulties encountered vary greatly. Reduced to five major obstacles, they include:

Complexity and Visibility

When organizations use many public cloud services and integrate private cloud usages, their information framework becomes complex from a security and management point of view. Without proper procedures to track the use of their services, their ability to access data gradually decreases over time. When a system has complexity, there are many loopholes and security issues. The chances of a data leak caused by an error or misconfiguration of storage on a public cloud will likely grow. For this reason, cloud services may require changes in how companies approach security.

The Gap in Knowledge and Skills

Recently, the cloud system has grown beyond expectations causing a drastic shortage of cybersecurity resources. Many companies are trying to find people to overcome the skills shortage, but finding security personnel who can manage cloud services is another obstacle. These gaps in know-how expose the company to risk. A simple way to overcome the gap is to train. It takes time and effort to develop a training path for continuous skill growth for a complete hybrid cloud infrastructure, but it is worth it. 

The Shift in Security Responsibility 

The responsibility of installing controls related to security, virtualization, and infrastructure gradually shifts to cloud services in a public cloud environment. Hence, understanding changes in a shared security responsibility scenario are essential. Sometimes companies try to implement private cloud security controls in the public cloud, which in a few cases is impossible. Not having a definite operating module in a hybrid cloud environment exposes the cloud to threats.

Mismatches in Network Protection

Network security is an issue that businesses continue to face. Most public cloud security tool options enable private cloud settings but may lack full functionality. While these tools may secure the private cloud, they are incompatible with public clouds. Companies purchase containers to facilitate their transfer and management across hybrid clouds but typically forget service mesh and API security, exposing the container to cyber security threats. 

Dispersed Logging and Monitoring Capabilities

Spreading the logging sources are spread over the public cloud, vendor tools, on-premises systems, and cloud-native services is essential to identify logs and build metrics to monitor. A company requires KPIs for functional and operational level metrics and key risk indicators (KRIs) for reporting. The goal is to innovate a custom reporting dashboard to convey residual risk severity and impact on cloud services. However, the team can have higher visibility on advanced threats across the ecosystem.

Hybrid Cloud Security Risks

While the benefits of a hybrid cloud may make it easier to use, one should know about the potential security risks of using cloud services. Some of the risks of hybrid cloud services are mentioned below.

Data Leakage 

The clouds in a hybrid cloud service are usually connected via the open internet. Therefore, the risk of data leak caused by errors, a man-in-the-middle attack, compromised endpoints, etc., presents if cloud management APIs are not properly secured and implemented.

Difficulty in Compliance 

Due to data flow between the public and private cloud components, the challenge of complying with and maintaining a centralized framework alongside separate infrastructure arises. This is more so because they are powered by different service providers with varying compliance factors. Therefore, there is a huge challenge in achieving and maintaining consistent compliance. 

Gap in Security

Many times, there are inconsistencies or misalignments in the security control setup for hybrid cloud services. There seems to be a noticeable gap in the security control maturity between the public and private clouds. The public cloud is said to have higher security control, while some private cloud frameworks may not be patched to keep up with the public cloud.

Misaligned SLAs

The service level agreements (SLAs) with public and private cloud services differ greatly. When compared to the public cloud, private cloud SLAs are not imposed. Different types of cloud service providers may also provide different SLAs. It could become a hassle to work with different SLAs to achieve an end-to-end oriented SLA for users.

Risk Assessment

Comprehensive security risk assessment is a hurdle when evaluating hybrid cloud services. It can be conducted separately for public and private clouds instead of evaluating it comprehensively as one. Due to this, maintaining a consistent posture or obtaining overall compliance with hybrid clouds is difficult.

Lack in Encryption

Hybrid architectures are usually subjected to regular data protection risks individually. Thus, as a whole, hybrid clouds are vulnerable and face high risks due to the transfer of data between clouds. The interconnection structures are the cause of most theft or alteration incidents if proper encryption is not provided.

Network Connectivity Breaks

Connectivity between public and private clouds in a hybrid cloud framework is essential for maintaining SLAs. A single error in the overall network architecture may lead to the disruption of cloud services.

Solutions to the General Challenges and Risks

Some hybrid cloud security best practices to overcome the challenges and avoid the risks are:

  • Allocate different levels of access for hybrid clouds.
  • Secure, classify, identify and manage sensitive data.
  • Manage threats with accurate awareness to adapt to newer threats.
  • Encrypt cloud data periodically.
  • Connect to services without sending data.
  • Opt for cloud service providers who have enough personnel and resources to handle potential issues.
  • Choosing the correct vendors for your cloud who meet the standards.
  • Make yourself familiar with data tracking to minimize risks.
  • Analyze the requirements and security of the cloud.
  • Check for the compatibility of your resources with the cloud services.
  • Learn about new cloud technology periodically.
  • Maintain consistent cloud connectivity,
  • Secure APIs.

Wrapping Up

There are several challenges and risks when we use a cloud service. As a countermeasure, professionals are finding ways to mitigate the risks with hybrid clouds to help reduce the overall risk of using cloud services. As the IT sector has grown rapidly in the last two years, the complexity and ever-changing environment have made it difficult to keep up.

There are many challenges companies face when using a cloud service, and while most of them can be overcome with a few guidelines, one is also reminded of the potential risks of using hybrid cloud services. To mitigate such risks, platforms like Cloudlytics exist to provide a more secure hybrid cloud experience. 

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Mahesh Hegde

Mahesh Hegde


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