When cloud computing started to make an impact on businesses, then there was a rush to move to the cloud, constrained by public and private clouds; which ultimately progressed into the hybrid clouds. The entire cloud computing landscape is evolving rapidly, sprinting forward to meet the dynamic needs of an industry where the focus heavily relies on data more than ever before.
There is a good analogy, commonly used in daily life references, for hybrid cloud, i.e., feet on the ground and heads in the cloud. Hybrid cloud suits the need of keeping some workload on-prem; and some on public clouds where public costs are lower and could be easily scaled up and down.
But what about the risks?
Most of the organizations tend to experience a few risks, if moving data to the cloud:
1. Data handling when it is stored or transferred to and fro in different cloud environments is critical. Users need to monitor and secure the data to prevent access from unauthorized users.
2. Compliance is a tricky part because of the distributed environment such as hybrid cloud.
3. With different vendors involved in supporting and running hybrid cloud environments to fulfill the requirements of on-prem and cloud workloads; there rises a serious concern for visibility.
4. Access to the infrastructure commonly referred as Identity Access Management (IAM) also become a key area to focus when it comes to cloud.
5. Skill gap is still a major concern for most of the organizations. Without specialized staff for cloud security, organizations tend to spend fortunes on third-party tools.
Security for both On-prem and Cloud
Moving data to cloud definitely introduces a certain set of risks but it is not an impossible task. It surely needs an entirely new approach to information security. So, here are few pointers that any organization should keep in mind:
Set your goals
Evaluate your business needs that whether you need to move on cloud or not. Consult with a cloud architect and your security team, if you have one, to set the goals and objectives as to define why you are moving to cloud.
Make cloud security your first priority
If you have defined your goals, make decisions on where to apply controls to tackle risks and threats. You need to approach cloud security as any other security program, which should be tackle with priority and sheer diligence.
Imbibe security controls in deployment layers
Cloud resources are delivered by software and via internet instead rather than by local resources. This means infrastructure-as-code. For example, provisioning takes place via machine-readable configuration files rather than hardware, this requires a different approach when it comes to securing such resources. Build security controls into the deployment on every layer.
What controls to apply?
When you assess, plan and deploy the security controls, take care of the following:
Physical controls which guards underlying hardware.
Technical controls to ensure centralized management of applications and users.
Administrative controls to put governance in place in order to maintain privileged access to cloud resources.
Disaster recovery plan for external factor over which you do not have controls.
Security in the cloud is itself a journey of planning and small wins along the way. It might not happen at once but the right steps will without a doubt strengthen security. Security will let organizations reap the benefits of cloud tech and putting efforts where it really matters without worrying about the data sitting in cloud.