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Operating in hybrid environments can get really tricky at times. As more and more organizations are moving their sensitive data to the public cloud, the need to keep this data secure and private has increased significantly over time.

While handling their valuable datasets within their respective environments, companies need to ensure utmost data security and compliance to meet the regulations set by various governments. They cannot afford to make the smallest mistake that can jeopardize data privacy and cause dire repercussions.

Provided below are some of the best practices to implement for ensuring data security in hybrid environments.

1. Automate The Security Measures

When it comes to keeping your hybrid cloud secure, it is always advisable to focus on process automation. Automating processes like coding the infrastructure and checking security compliance of the environment helps you to leverage your data security measures. Process automation allows you to keep track of your databases, and it notifies you about potential threats in real time.

2. Focus On High-level Data Encryption

Keeping your data encrypted helps you prevent threats like unauthorized access of data and unforeseen leaks. Whether your data is at rest or in transit, always make sure that it is encrypted. Based on your specific requirements, undertake full-disk encryption, hardware encryption, and IPsec to keep your data protected in hybrid environments.

3. Train Your Employees in Security Practices

Employees often pose some of the biggest risks to a hybrid environment. When you have a cloud environment that can be accessed from anywhere and that is used for storing and sharing data across your organization, there will always be a risk of the employees jeopardizing the system’s security.

A mistake as small as an employee forgetting to log out of the company computer or connecting to a public Wi-Fi can compromise the security of your hybrid environment. It is therefore important to get your employees trained in security practices irrespective of their roles and responsibilities. If an employee has access to your system and the data therein, it is essential to manage their permissions and to train them in operating the system in a secure manner.

4. Manage Data Throughout Its Lifecycle

In order to keep your hybrid environment safe, it is advisable to manage your data throughout its lifecycle. From the moment datasets are created or imported into the system, you must undertake secure classification, compliance, and detection of potential threats. In order to accomplish this, an organization should automate the classification of datasets across multiple data sources and improve data visibility with the help of a reliable monitoring solution.

5. Maintain Tight Control Over Data Access Rights

When your database is accessible to multiple employees across your organization, data access rights must be carefully controlled to keep your environment safe. Always ensure that specific datasets are accessed only by the personnel who are authorized to do so. Implement multi-factor authentication to make sure that the right person is accessing the right data. This helps you keep unauthorized access to sensitive data at bay.

6. Pay Equal Attention to Cloud and On-Premises Portions of Your Environment

Always make sure that you have equal security controls for both cloud and on-premises portions of your hybrid environment. Users often make the mistake of assuming that the host will handle processes like Identity and Access management (IAM), managing firewalls, and creating backups. Although the server provides some tools to help users manage these processes, it is important for them to work with their IT providers to keep their systems configured and secured as if they were local environments.

7. Audit The Security Frameworks On A Regular Basis

It is important for a user to understand the shared responsibility of using a hybrid environment. While it provides the scalability and flexibility of a public cloud, it offers higher control over data as provided by private clouds. Keeping this in mind, it is important to get your security frameworks audited on a regular basis to keep your hybrid environment protected.

Your security frameworks can include ISO 27001, the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, and other industry methodologies according to your needs and preferences. It is advisable to get these frameworks audited at least once a year to ensure their efficiency and relevance.

8. Encrypt All Your Network Sessions

Finally, it is advisable for hybrid cloud users to encrypt every network session to protect their data in motion. If the hosts in the environment communicate via Internet Protocol (IP), you can use IP Security (IPSec) to make the communication cryptic, thereby protecting your hybrid environment.

The Final Word

These are some of the most important practices to keep your hybrid environment secure. Always remember that the key to keeping your hybrid environment protected is to understand the duality of the servers and undertake carefully deliberated measures that are in sync with your organization’s goals.

Abhijeet Chinchole About the Author: Abhijeet Chinchole is Chief Technology Officer at Cloudlytics. Over the years, Abhijeet has helped numerous global businesses transition to the cloud by helping them with strategy and implementation. He is also an expert on cloud migration, cloud security, and building modern SaaS.


Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this guest author article are solely those of the contributor, and do not necessarily reflect those of Tripwire, Inc.