Are Security Fears Holding Back Hybrid IT?

So much is written about hybrid IT that it would be easy to think that adoption is now a given and that every business with savvy enough IT professionals is scrambling to adopt the hybrid IT business model. The truth is a little less clear-cut.

The benefits of hybrid IT have been poured over in great detail since businesses started to opt for a mix of on-premises and cloud infrastructure. SolarWinds IT Trends Report 2017: Portrait of a Hybrid Organisation, a study surveying IT professionals, found that respondents cited scalability, improved efficiency and cost savings as reasons for moving to hybrid IT. It was also found that nearly three in five organisations have received either most or all of these expected benefits.

With this in mind, it may come as no surprise that 92 percent of respondents said their organisations had migrated critical applications and IT infrastructure to the cloud over the past year. However, a major issue facing these organisations is a fundamental lack of understanding about what hybrid IT solutions mean for their organisational processes and personnel. This mix of services owned and managed by an internal team and those owned and managed by cloud service providers (CSP) can cause confusion, especially where compliance and security responsibility begins and ends.

While the benefits of hybrid IT have been rightly touted, it’s also true that a hybrid IT approach hasn’t worked for every organisation. The SolarWinds survey found that 22 percent of respondents who migrated applications and infrastructure to the cloud ultimately brought them back on-premises, primarily due to security and compliance concerns.

Security is a priority

Security is a primary concern for all IT professionals. It is one of the core deliverables for CIOs to their organisations, along with operational efficiency and improved agility. Cybercrime is a fast-growing industry with huge ransoms, as phishers and hackers move to get their hands on the most valuable of commodities: an organisation’s data.

[easy-tweet tweet=”Data breaches are happening with greater regularity and severity” hashtags=”Data, security”]

Data breaches are happening with greater regularity and severity. These attacks result not only in a significant financial loss and liability but can harm the business’s reputation with customers. With such high stakes, it is no surprise that IT professionals are hesitant to place their complete trust in third-party service providers, especially when outsourcing parts of their infrastructure services to CSPs.

Under pressure to avoid breaches

To prevent data breaches, businesses need to fortify their security strategies, processes, and protocols. For IT professionals, security procedures have traditionally taken a back seat to more pressing issues, such as operational health and performance. Security can no longer be a secondary thought. The potential collateral damage from a data breach can cripple a business.

In response to the increasingly sophisticated threat landscape, IT budget managers are dedicating more personnel, resources, and processes to breach prevention. They’re also focusing on risk mitigation after a breach occurs, as the weakest link remains the end-users, who are vulnerable to spear phishing and socially engineered attacks. Hybrid IT solutions can aid this growing emphasis on security and compliance, as cloud service providers can bridge potential gaps in security and compliance rigour that plague some internal IT organisations.

Be ready for the future by relying on your monitoring discipline

Cloud places businesses’ focus to the automation and orchestration of highly scalable and available infrastructure services, with emphasis on security and compliance. Again, relations with CSPs are based on trust. As such, businesses with proper investment and sound security practices won’t miss a beat with a hybrid IT approach. Cloud service providers’ security practices are just as effective as those on-premises, and a company with the right resources and protocols in place can simply extend that rigour and discipline to encompass security cloud workload and data. They’d get the benefits of cloud deployments—less management, improved scalability—without compromising on security.

Additionally, a well-thought-out monitoring with discipline strategy plays a key role in ensuring the security of a hybrid IT approach. A comprehensive hybrid IT monitoring solution can offer you holistic visibility across the entire application stack, from the data centre to the end-user, and ensure that any anomalies are spotted and addressed. This solution should break down the silos between on-premises and the cloud to quickly surface the single point of truth.

In closing, monitoring establishes and builds trust with CSPs by giving IT professionals valuable insight into their applications’ health and performance, while also verifying that CSPs are meeting their SLAs as they transition mission-critical application services to the cloud. This rigour and discipline can help businesses continue to realise the benefits of hybrid IT without the fear of compromised security and governance.

Kong Yang, Head Geek

Kong Yang is a Head Geek of the Virtualization and Cloud Practice at SolarWinds with over 20 years of IT experience specializing in virtualization and cloud management. He is a VMware vExpert™, Cisco® Champion, and active contributing thought leader within the virtualization and cloud communities.

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