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Managed Security Services: A Proactive Approach To Cybersecurity In Hybrid Environments
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Managed Security Services: A Proactive Approach To Cybersecurity In Hybrid Environments

Achieving and maintaining robust cybersecurity is a major challenge for all modern businesses. The challenge is even greater for businesses that implement hybrid environments. Fortunately, managed security services can make it much easier for businesses to defend themselves against cyberthreats. Here is a quick guide to what you need to know.

Understanding hybrid environments

Hybrid environments are environments that combine private and public infrastructure. This will typically involve a data center and a public cloud. It’s also increasingly likely to include edge computing. Here is a quick overview of each of these elements and their implications for cybersecurity in hybrid environments.

Data centers

Originally, hybrid environments typically used on-premises infrastructure. Now, it’s more likely that they will use colocation data centers. This reduces the cybersecurity burden on the business as it means the vendor takes care of securing the data center infrastructure. The business just has to take care of its own equipment (and the data on it).

Clouds and content delivery networks (CDNs)

Again, originally a hybrid environment would include a private cloud deployed using an on-premises data center. Now, it’s more likely to include a private cloud deployed using a colocation data center or dedicated servers hosted by a third party. Again, both approaches shift more of the cybersecurity burden onto the vendor.

With public clouds and CDNs, the vendor secures both the infrastructure and the equipment. The business just has to secure its own data.

Edge computing

Edge computing has brought a new dimension to hybrid environments. By doing so, it has brought new cybersecurity (and compliance) challenges. In particular, it has vastly increased the number of devices in a hybrid IT environment. This means that it has also vastly increased the number of potential entry points for a cyberattacker.

Moreover, the implementation of edge computing often leads to an increase in the volume of data in a hybrid environment. Essentially, businesses may initially deploy edge computing as a means of reducing the amount of data that has to be sent to a data center or cloud for processing. Once they realize how useful it is, however, they expand its use. This can have many benefits but it also creates additional cybersecurity challenges.


The final element in a hybrid IT system is the communication channels that connect the different systems. Due to the nature of hybrid environments, these generally see very heavy traffic volumes. This means that they need to be highly reliable and fast as well as secure.

Cybersecurity challenges in hybrid environments

The main cybersecurity challenge in hybrid environments is the challenge of securing different (and often disparate) environments and the channels that connect them. Moreover, this challenge needs to be met without excessively inconveniencing users. Ideally, it should be met without an excessive burden on resources, including and especially human resources. All the other challenges stem from this.

The practicalities of managing cybersecurity in hybrid environments

Automation and orchestration now generally play huge roles in ensuring the security of hybrid environments. Currently, however, these tools cannot be left to run entirely autonomously (and it’s debatable if they ever will be). They need human oversight. For that oversight to be effective, human staff need clear and comprehensive visibility into all environments.

This in turn means that hybrid systems need centralized management consoles, which give staff access to real-time monitoring and analytical tools. These management consoles must also have the ability to make dynamic adjustments that will be promptly and appropriately implemented across all relevant environments. Again, this implementation generally comes by means of automation.

The challenge of managing change in hybrid environments

One of the main drivers behind the mainstream adoption of hybrid environments was the need for adaptability, particularly, although not exclusively, scalability. This means that hybrid environments can be updated even more frequently than mono-environments.

Cybersecurity measures have to adapt to these updates as well as keep pace with developing and emerging cyberthreats. This creates additional demands both on tools and on the human staff who deploy, configure, and manage them.

Role of managed security services (MSS) in hybrid environments

The role of managed security services (MSS) in hybrid environments is essentially the same as the managed security services in mono-environments.

Essentially, the managed security services provider takes ownership of the everyday aspects of cybersecurity such as routine monitoring and maintenance (e.g. patches). They will also identify incidents. Whether or not they play an active role in managing them will depend on their agreement with their client.

Many managed security services providers can also offer additional value-added services. These often include security (and compliance) audits, ad-hoc technical support, and consultancy (e.g. preparation for achieving compliance certifications). These are charged separately but it can be very convenient (and cost-effective) to have cybersecurity entirely managed by one vendor.

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