Best Security Practices with Hybrid Cloud — Part 2

By Shantanu Kaushik

The Hybrid Cloud is evolving to incorporate many industry-leading practices. More inherent security concerns will arise as a service or platform expands. These security concerns could be due to outdated applications or data, or non-compliant software services running on your platform. Alibaba Cloud provides best-in-class security measures with their cloud services.

The Alibaba Cloud security model ensures security throughout the development — deployment cycle.

In Part 1, we discussed how important security is with a hybrid cloud. Even when it shares secure characteristics with a Private Cloud, additional security measures for a fully secure and compliant system are needed. We also discussed how encryption plays an important role in data security and what steps should be taken to achieve a reliable system with automation in monitoring and patching.

Here are more of the best practices associated with the Hybrid Cloud:

Alibaba Cloud VPC and Security

Alibaba Cloud Virtual Private Cloud is an integral part of the Alibaba Cloud Hybrid Cloud platform. Private Clouds are secure, but the functionality that the Alibaba Cloud VPC provides within the hybrid cloud solution is more reliable and secure. This system incorporates industry-leading tools and security services to bring out a system that is highly efficient and reliable.

The Alibaba Cloud Hybrid Cloud architecture makes use of the Elastic Compute Service (ECS), Virtual Private Cloud (VPC), and Express Connect. This architecture enables a secure connection between the Alibaba Cloud VPC using Express Connect with the on-premise backend resources to form a seamless connected environment. However, a Virtual Private Cloud setup is more inclined towards a single environment solution.

The Hybrid Cloud solution also allows a choice between synchronous and asynchronous integration with the help of a queue service between the on-premise and Alibaba Cloud VPC environment.

Here is the working architecture visualization to help you understand the whole setup:

Cloud Visibility and Control

Alibaba Cloud presents the user with maximum control over its infrastructure. Cloud computing has barriers when it comes to control and visibility of the infrastructure. This was the reason that I opted for Alibaba Cloud as my cloud provider for my hybrid cloud setup.

The Hybrid Cloud setup requires a mature security solution that is based on tools given by the cloud provider, but the practice needs to have a defined structure for any situations your hybrid cloud solution may face. Let’s discuss some practices for this challenge:

  • Choosing the Correct Vendor

Whenever opting for cloud services, choosing a vendor that best suits your needs and has a solution for your operational challenges should be the primary concern. I am using the Alibaba Cloud Hybrid Cloud solution, as it provides me with all the solutions I need. The Mumbai data center is useful for running region-specific services, like Web+.

  • Assess Your Future Requirements and Expansion Scenarios

As an administrator and IT strategist, you must account for business expansion and growth before you choose a solution or hybrid cloud-based setup. The planning and execution of resources beforehand is a practice you must follow.

  • Leverage Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

Whenever choosing a cloud provider, ensure that you understand the service level agreements. This will ensure control and cost structure involving your service, security, and compliance-related matters.

Human Error | Security Vulnerabilities

Human error is bound to happen. From configuration issues, design or architectural flaws, and unauthorized access, human errors or intervention may lead to service downtime or total platform outage. Major cloud providers have protection against human intervention, but as technology suggests, many factors might play a role in manifesting issues and vulnerabilities.

Alibaba Cloud has industry-leading products and practices that rid the user of these types of issues. As an IT strategist or administrator, it is your job to control and manage your environment, ensure a secure practice, and account for an entire environment and its seamless functioning.

Let’s take a look at some practices to take on this challenge:

  1. Use Encryption for sensitive data to ensure that no data and resource gets infected or prone to an attack.
  2. Even after automation, making sure that the whole system is updated and patched is a great practice to follow.
  3. Maintain Access Control to limit exposure to multiple user bases for any specific administrative task.
  4. Get clarity on your responsibilities as an administrator from your cloud provider.
  5. Administrative teams must be capable enough to work on different level modules of your hybrid cloud system to ensure the maintenance of services.

Orchestration | Security | Flexibility

Resource Orchestration makes it possible to manage cloud resources and the modules or components associated with it as a combined practice. Using automation to deploy these repeatedly is a practice to maintain. Orchestration allows the delivery of standardized and flexible solutions to meet security and compliance associated with any industry.

Access Control | Administrative Controls

The Alibaba Cloud Hybrid Cloud platform depends on RAM (Resource and Access Management). Using this solution, you can restrict users or grant them different level privileges needed to maintain or manage certain parts of the overall resource that your hybrid cloud works with.

This control leads to a better management hierarchy. Use Express Connect to establish a secure connection, monitor access, and maintain security practice.

Disaster preparedness is a major practice to follow when it comes to hybrid cloud security practices. Using Cloud Backup services and disaster recovery services will ensure a safe return to normal procedures. Since the maintenance is two-tier (on-premise and virtual), using the correct tools of the trade to manage and maintain these two systems individually should be standard practice.

Endpoint Security

In today’s world, handheld devices can be used to connect to a hybrid cloud system. Endpoint security here would ensure data security if an administrator or key IT personnel lost their device, and it fell into the hands of an undefined source. In the same league, if a device that is being used to connect and access sensitive information is infected with malware or a bug, it could easily compromise sensitive information.

Using different control services on your remote devices that are already exposed to some malware or malicious programs may in-turn lead to a security threat.

  • Make sure that these remote devices are checked for security flaws
  • Defining another level of security for sensitive information is a smart move. This can be achieved by defining policies that make it imperative to use a VPN to connect to the secured resources.

Conclusion

Cloud Security is achieved over time. The security practices and implementation take time to achieve a perfect service cycle. Proper implantation of resources and following documented security protocols can lead to an efficient, secure, and reliable hybrid cloud system. Choosing a cloud service provider is an essential practice, Alibaba Cloud has the industry-leading tools and platform services that are required for any successful business transformation.

Leveraging these resources is in the hands of a good strategist. A deployment scenario that uses the hybrid cloud architecture to its full potential can only be achieved if the correct security measures are followed.

  1. Best Practices to Build a Hybrid Cloud — Alibaba Cloud
  2. Best Practices to Manage a Hybrid Cloud — Alibaba Cloud

The views expressed herein are for reference only and don’t necessarily represent the official views of Alibaba Cloud.

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