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What You Need to Know About Hybrid Cloud Environments

Sep 01, 20223 mins
Internet Security

Using pre-hardened virtual machine images, organizations can maintain tighter security control over their cloud-based data and processes.

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Credit: CIS

What does your cloud configuration look like? In many organizations, moving workloads to the cloud creates a more elastic technology infrastructure. That’s why hybrid cloud environments are a popular solution. A hybrid cloud computing environment requires orchestration between two types of platforms: 

  • On-premises, private cloud: Computing services offered to select users over the internet or a private internal network.
  • Public cloud: Services offered by third-party providers, known as cloud service providers (CSPs), to anyone over the public internet.

Each environment has unique advantages that help organizations stay flexible and secure. CISOs, directors, solution architects, and other technology experts are taking notice; Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and Desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) are expected to grow in 2022 by 30.6% and 26.6% respectively, according to Gartner. So, what else do you need to know about this growing trend?

Hybrid cloud: mixing and moving workloads

Modern infrastructure calls for a multidimensional approach to cloud computing. While the private cloud approach offers a higher level of privacy, it often requires the same staffing and maintenance expenses as a traditional data center. Using a public cloud is convenient, as it scales quickly, but the public cloud in general may not offer enough security controls for sensitive organizational data. 

This is where a hybrid cloud environment can prove beneficial. It takes advantage of both options discussed above. By deploying a hybrid cloud environment, organizations can effectively maintain tighter security controls over sensitive data and processes. They can use their private cloud while enjoying the flexible computing of its public counterpart. It is important to understand the shared security responsibility between organizations and CSPs to defend against cyber threats.

post 6 in post image what you need to know about hybrid cloud environments CIS

A secure standard

Whether private, public, or hybrid, cloud infrastructure is under attack. According to Gartner, through 2025, 90% of the organizations that fail to control public cloud use will inappropriately share sensitive data. 

To prevent attacks and exploits, organizations should implement secure configurations such as the CIS Benchmarks. The CIS Benchmarks provide consensus-developed security recommendations for over 100 configuration guidelines across 25+ vendor product families including servers, operating systems, and cloud containers. What’s more, they are free to download in PDF format.

Another challenge facing organizations working in the cloud is meeting compliance. Federal regulations, industry requirements, and internal security policies all drive compliance needs. When implemented, the CIS Benchmarks can help meet security compliance for PCI, NIST, HIPAA, and more. The CIS Benchmarks are also mapped to the CIS Critical Security Controls, a set of cybersecurity best practices designed to help organizations develop a stronger defense program.

Hardening in the public cloud

Security is paramount for mission-critical systems and data residing in the public cloud. That’s why many organizations provide pre-hardened options for cloud operating systems and container images. CIS Hardened Images are one option that offers conformance to the CIS Benchmarks’ security standards for a variety of cloud environments.

CIS Hardened Images help defend public cloud environments from the instant they launch. Because they’re pre-hardened, users benefit from the CIS Benchmark configurations built into the virtual machine. Each CIS Hardened Image comes with a conformance report displaying each security recommendation that’s been implemented as well as any measures which could not be applied due to cloud restrictions. Organizations can launch them today via Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, or Oracle Cloud Marketplaces.  

Click here to view all CIS Hardened Images