Hybrid Cloud Architecture for a Secure, Flexible Network
The benefits of migration to hybrid cloud infrastructure for lowered cost of ownership and increased network flexibility are quantifiable and undeniable. According to IDC, over 65% of IT enterprises will have adopted a hybrid cloud configuration by the end of this year. Nine out of ten IT decision makers see hybrid as critical to digital business. Cloud vendor sales are growing 50% per year. Extending your private cloud to utilize the flexible virtualized resources in the public cloud can reduce private cloud infrastructure costs, reduce the impact of a single point of failure, and improve global availability. Hybrid clouds can also increase varied workload performance with scaling or cloud “bursting” to meet spikes processing demand. But what security challenges, design and vendor concerns should you consider before moving to or expanding your hybrid cloud?
Securing the Hybrid Cloud
Private network clouds ensure local control over sensitive data and resources but require expensive continual investment local hardware, software and IT management at the level to support maximum demand. Public clouds are ideal for email, social media and the hundreds of officially and unofficially IT-sanctioned applications in demand by users. The optimal configuration might keep sensitive data and applications in the private cloud while allowing for users to access applications and processes in the public cloud. In the age of software defined everything and “bring your own device” local networks, it is impossible to safeguard only at the network perimeter since connecting to the public cloud essentially eliminates the perimeter. Security in a hybrid on and and off-premise environment relies on continuous visibility and network segmentation at every network layer. Software defined automation capabilities built into a hybrid cloud can allow for sensitive data such as medical records or customer payment data to be maintained and accessed only according to data-specific security compliance rules. Proactive security planning and careful use of visibility and security tools can mitigate hybrid cloud security concerns.
Loss of Control and Hybrid Cloud Availability
The economic benefits of using the shared cloud resources cloud are driving hybrid cloud model to be the dominant architecture for the foreseeable future. Most organizations can benefit from off-premise storage backup, email or data processing applications. Financial trading requires local data but can benefit from local off-premise processing. Global online retailers need to protect customer data but can collocate resources for seasonal and sale-driven demand. But what happens when your cloud vendor’s service has availability issues? Cloud vendors are scrambling to proactively prevent outages and enterprises can develop contingencies through multiple vendor contracts that reroute traffic when necessary. IT fear over lost network control can be addressed with detailed planning. Dashboards to manage visibility reporting and automation tools are evolving that will soon mitigate the impact of the rare cloud availability issue. IT will be able to prepare for and gain virtual control over cloud resources. The increased agility and lowered costs from some level of cloud utilization will justify the additional complexity of heterogeneous network management.
What’s next for the Hybrid Cloud?
Hybrid cloud has evolved to meet ever-increasing demands for data and applications. As cloud and networking vendors race to make hybrid environments more secure and available, your configuration design will be driven by your functionality priorities. The appropriate balance of spending on private vs. public cloud will be determined by each organization’s unique needs and sensitivities. Cloud technology leaders include Amazon, Microsoft and VMWare, each with a varied suite of network visibility and management solutions. Networking technology providers such as Fortinet, Silver Peak and A10 are industry leaders in building additional security and availability into the hybrid cloud network. For an expert assessment and recommendations for best technology available to meet your needs, the expert networking professionals at Terrapin Systems can help you build or grow your powerful, secure and flexible hybrid network.