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What You Need To Know About Hybrid IT Security

What You Need To Know About Hybrid IT Security


Hybrid IT has become a way for businesses to deliver IT resources as services without fully committing to the cloud. It potentially offers many benefits to businesses, particularly enterprises. At the same time, it also brings its own set of security challenges. Here is a quick guide to what you need to know about hybrid IT security.

Hybrid IT vs the hybrid cloud

Hybrid IT uses a combination of non-cloud and cloud elements. For example, it will typically include a private data center for the storage of data (and potentially other applications). This will usually be on-site. It may also include a private cloud or even a hybrid cloud to deliver applications. If it does, the private cloud element will generally be off-site.

The hybrid cloud, by contrast, uses pure cloud architecture. It will usually contain a private cloud. This may be hosted on-site but this is unusual. Even if it is hosted on-site, it will be built on the assumption that it is to deliver resources online. It will not be expected to be accessed offline.

The basics of hybrid IT security

At a high level, hybrid IT security is essentially the same as any other form of IT security. It aims to ensure that data is kept under robust access controls, protected from corruption, and accessible when needed. At a more granular level, however, hybrid IT security has some very specific nuances. Here is a quick guide to what you need to know.

Effective leadership is vital

The days of IT operating in a silo are (or should be) long over. Now IT security should be viewed as part of overall business security. This in itself should be seen as making a contribution to overall business goals. In other words, security should be seen as a positive element of business, not something you do because you have to.

This means that overall responsibility for security should rest with someone who understands business in general and the specific business in particular. In an enterprise, that person will almost certainly need a team. The team can bring in any specialist knowledge they need (e.g. a hybrid IT security specialist).

Those specialists should, however, focus on finding ways to implement the decisions taken by the business leader. They may have some input into them but they should not be allowed to drive them according to what is best in terms of IT on their own.

You will need specialists

Hybrid IT security is arguably the most complex form of IT security currently in existence. This means hybrid IT security systems need to be run by people with technical skills.

These people do not all need to be in-house. In fact, even at the enterprise level, it can make a lot of practical sense to use managed IT service providers. It is, however, very much advisable to have some in-house capability. This will help with vendor management. It will also help you to avoid becoming too dependent on any of your vendors.

Thorough documentation is vital

Hybrid IT systems, by their very nature, are very complex. This means that making any changes to them needs to be done with extreme caution. Even the smallest changes should be thoroughly tested before live deployment. The only way to make sure that this happens is to have thorough documentation.

If documentation is not rigorously kept in order, it is very easy for people to lose sight of what is actually happening in a hybrid IT system. This can lead to inconsistent decisions, variable outcomes, and potential compliance issues.

It is important to have the right tools

When you’re managing and monitoring extremely complex infrastructure such as a hybrid IT system, you need to be sure that your tools are up to the task. It really is worth investing in best-in-class tools as they will play an active role in maintaining your hybrid IT security.

Alternatively, if you are using a managed service provider, make sure you pick one that uses best-in-class tools on your system.

Embrace modern solutions

Hybrid IT solutions work with legacy infrastructure. Even so, they tend to work most effectively when the people who run them embrace modern solutions. In most cases, automation is going to play a large part in scaling applications and services. It will also be very useful if you need to move and/or remediate them.

Other modern solutions you should embrace include microservices, APIs, and distributed architecture. These can also help to make your hybrid IT system leaner and more agile. This will typically make it more cost-effective. It can therefore help to free up budget to invest in hybrid IT security (or other areas).

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