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Hybrid IT Governance: Ensuring Compliance Across Diverse Infrastructures

Hybrid IT Governance: Ensuring Compliance Across Diverse Infrastructures


Implementing effective hybrid IT governance strategies is essential for ensuring regulatory compliance across diverse infrastructures in hybrid IT environments. It is therefore a key part of overall risk management. Here is a quick guide to what you need to know.

Understanding hybrid IT systems

Hybrid IT systems are systems that combine diverse infrastructures (real-world and virtual) into a cohesive whole. Modern hybrid IT systems will typically include data centers, clouds (private and public), and, increasingly, edge computing.

All of these diverse infrastructures need to operate seamlessly together. This includes applying data governance rules effectively and consistently.

Regulatory compliance and data sovereignty in hybrid IT systems

The key point to understand about regulatory compliance and data sovereignty in hybrid IT systems is that rules and laws apply to the data, not the environment. With that said, the specificities of each environment may determine, or at least influence, how the rules are applied.

For example, in a fully private, real-world data center, the business will be responsible for all aspects of its management. This includes hybrid IT governance, regulatory compliance, and data sovereignty.

By contrast, in a colocation data center, the colocation service provider will manage the data center infrastructure. They will therefore shoulder a large part of the work of ensuring regulatory compliance. The client will only have to ensure the compliance of their own equipment and data.

Similarly, the location of the data may influence data sovereignty considerations. For example, a sovereign government may grant itself the right to access any data held in its territory even if the data does not relate to its residents.

Challenges of data governance across diverse infrastructures

Hybrid IT governance has a very specific set of challenges due to the fact that it integrates a range of diverse infrastructures. Here are the three main ones.

Need to implement multiple sets of rules

Businesses that implement hybrid IT systems often need to comply with multiple data security standards and follow multiple data sovereignty rules. These will need to be applied as relevant across all the diverse environments with minimal operational complexity.

Data quality

In the context of hybrid IT governance, for practical purposes, data quality really means data consistency. Diverse infrastructures holding disparate data sources may have different data definitions, formats, and standards. They may also use different protocols and storage systems. Despite all of these differences, however, the data they all contain must be absolutely consistent.

Data silos

Implementing diverse infrastructures can lead to the creation of data silos, where data is stored in isolated systems or formats. This makes it difficult to establish a unified view of data and can hinder effective governance and compliance efforts.

The key elements of hybrid IT governance

Although the implementation of hybrid IT governance can be highly complex, it rests on very simple principles. Here are the five main ones.

Collaboration: By fostering collaboration between key stakeholders, organizations can ensure alignment of governance practices with business objectives. This facilitates informed decision-making and effective change management in the face of emerging challenges.

Risk management: This involves identifying potential threats, evaluating their impact on business operations, and implementing measures to mitigate them effectively.

Policy framework: A comprehensive policy framework defines rules, guidelines, and procedures for managing the diverse infrastructures in hybrid IT environments. This includes policies for data security, access control, infrastructure management, and compliance monitoring.

Automation and orchestration: Automation and orchestration tools streamline governance processes by automating repetitive tasks, such as compliance checks, configuration management, and incident response. This reduces manual effort, enhances efficiency, and ensures consistency in governance practices across hybrid IT components.

Continuous monitoring: Continuous monitoring involves real-time tracking and analysis of hybrid IT infrastructure to identify security threats, compliance gaps, and performance issues. By continuously monitoring diverse infrastructures, organizations can promptly detect and respond to deviations from established policies, mitigating risks and ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements.

Best practices for ensuring compliance across diverse infrastructures

Here are five key best practices for ensuring compliance across diverse infrastructures.

Standardized data handling procedures: Establish standardized procedures for handling data across diverse infrastructures. This should include data classification, encryption, and access control mechanisms.

Centralized compliance management: Implement a centralized compliance management system that provides visibility and control over compliance activities across all hybrid IT components. This includes centralized logging, monitoring, and reporting capabilities to track compliance status, identify issues, and enforce corrective actions effectively.

Regular audits and assessments: Conduct regular audits and assessments of hybrid IT infrastructures to evaluate compliance with regulatory requirements, internal policies, and industry standards.

Incident response preparedness: Develop and regularly update incident response plans tailored to address compliance-related incidents in diverse infrastructures. These plans should outline procedures for detecting, containing, and mitigating compliance breaches, as well as protocols for reporting incidents to regulatory authorities and stakeholders.

Continuous training and awareness: Provide ongoing training and awareness programs for IT staff, compliance officers, and other stakeholders to keep them updated on regulatory changes, best practices, and emerging threats relevant to hybrid IT environments.

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