Is Hybrid Cloud Security Nirvana Possible?

Larry Hughes
stacked stones on the water

stacked stones on the water

In my latest blog post, “Cloud Security: ‘How’ Not ‘If,'” I discussed ways organizations have addressed cloud security issues, including hybrid cloud scenarios that keep sensitive data private. But is it really possible to make the entire hybrid cloud so secure that application workloads and data can travel at will and realize the best combination of safety, performance, agility and return on investment? Can we reach this hybrid cloud security nirvana?

A recent 451 Research Report, “Critical Security and Compliance Considerations for Hybrid Cloud Deployments,” points out the significant security challenges of deploying a truly flexible and transparent hybrid cloud. An obvious one is replicating existing enterprise controls, such as firewalls, access controls, monitoring, management, compliance and audit processes seamlessly across the private and public cloud continuum. Almost 60% of senior security professionals surveyed cited that this was one of their biggest challenges. Among the other top challenges reported in the survey include:

  • Vulnerabilities of data in transit
  • Securing data that’s residing and processed in a hosted environment
  • Maintaining consistent network security policies for security domains and ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements

Whose Job is It Anyway?

According to the report, survey respondents are largely looking to cloud service providers to fill the gaps in encryption, access management, key management and network firewalling through an open source cloud computing platform designed for both public and private cloud environments, such as OpenStack or Cloud Foundry.

Nine of 10 respondents said they were using cloud provider tools for security. However, a full two-thirds felt the full spectrum of their organization’s security and compliance requirements were more complex than what is offered by current tools from cloud service providers. Almost 70% expressed concerns about the extensibility of cloud service provider security and governance tools, which was a major hurdle to broader cloud adoption.

The report also reveals enthusiasm for an API-driven approach to cloud integration or a separate integration tier that, as one IT executive at a global manufacturing company said, “Gets everyone on the same page.”

How We Can Help Enterprises and Cloud Providers

Equinix can help in three important areas here: professional consulting, an API approach to cloud integration and security of data in transit over private interconnection.

Certainly, colocating hybrid cloud private workloads in the same highly secure Equinix data center as your public cloud providers can address both performance and security concerns. Our direct, private cloud interconnections can go a long way toward securing data in transit across hybrid- and multi-cloud boundaries.

The Equinix Cloud Exchange accelerates and simplifies multi-cloud provisioning and management via an API approach, and enables enterprise- or provider-custom cloud service security application development. If more is needed for true hybrid cloud visibility and integration, Equinix Professional Services for Cloud provides the expertise and experience to help your organization architect and migrate workloads to a hybrid cloud, while meeting the most stringent security and compliance requirements.

So we can get customers much closer to hybrid cloud security nirvana. Achieving security always requires a carefully thought out strategy and architecture, but some help from a capable partner never hurts.

Larry Hughes
Larry Hughes Business Information Security Officer (BISO)