George WilkesMarch 26, 2022
Hybrid Cloud Security and the Role of Zero Trust Network Access
While cloud adoption drives organizational agility, it presents a challenge for security practitioners. According to a survey by ESG, 47% of respondents struggle with hybrid cloud security—maintaining security consistently across data center and cloud environments. Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) delivers dynamic, unified access policies and singular control to harden hybrid cloud security measures.
Effective hybrid cloud security starts with efficiency. Security teams can quickly get bogged down with a multitude of controls as they try to protect cloud environments and legacy, on-premises resources.
Legacy, antiquated network security tools like virtual private networks (VPNs) or network access controls (NACs) are too risky for today’s increased threat landscape. Hybrid cloud security has no place for tools that can’t properly address remote and in-office users, scattered resources in heterogenous environments or identify insecure devices. Instead, you need a solution that can cover secure access to, from and within your hybrid ecosystems—on-premises resources and cloud resources—with a single policy framework.
ZTNA: a comprehensive hybrid cloud security provider solution?
Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) is an all-encompassing hybrid cloud security provider solution. It protects all connections between users and resources the same way regardless of location. Let’s dig deeper on a few of the challenges facing hybrid cloud security and how Zero Trust Network Access solves them.
Hybrid Cloud Security Challenge #1: Fragmented security architecture
Outdated access controls create unnecessary stress on security teams, add user-to-resource and resource-to-resource connection roadblocks and can’t deliver adaptive, automated hybrid cloud security for on-premises and cloud resources. Not only do multiple tools bog down security teams and users, but they also leave gaps where threat actors look to strike. VPNs, for example, weren’t built to handle the sweeping demands of hybrid cloud security and must be individually administered which requires juggling multiple policies.
With on-premises and cloud architectures in play, security teams have a lot to consider—especially as organizations increase their reliance on cloud workloads. According to Flexera, a whopping 90% of organizations increased cloud usage due to COVID-19, and it’s not just a short-term pandemic trend. By 2023, Gartner says, 40% of all enterprise workloads will be deployed in cloud infrastructure and platform services, which highlights the need for improved hybrid cloud security.
Moving workloads to the cloud often leads to a patchwork of security solutions that typically grows alongside cloud migration but don't work well together. Even within the cloud, many use more than one security tool. According to a survey from the Cloud Security Alliance, most respondents managed multiple tools in their hybrid cloud security arsenal, with 74% using their cloud provider’s native security controls, 71% using their cloud provider’s additional security controls and 49% using virtual editions of traditional firewalls deployed in the cloud environment.
With a disparate infrastructure, it can be difficult to have visibility into hybrid cloud security. Without visibility, insecure devices and unauthorized connections could spread malware or extract data from your network undetected. You need a clear picture of each environment’s security to understand your overall threat landscape. That’s why it’s important to stop band aiding hybrid cloud security and move to a singular secure access solution from a proven hybrid cloud security provider.
Hybrid Cloud Security Challenge #2: Broader attack surface
Hybrid cloud security is tougher because distributed workloads and users in multiple environments create bigger corporate network attack surfaces. As cloud adoption increases among organizations, it broadens attack surfaces. According to IDC, 90% of new digital services will be cloud native in 2022, which will complicate hybrid cloud security. Organizations that have a multi-cloud environment, where they must secure their resources with more than one cloud provider, need to account for each provider’s proprietary tools and gateways. The more cloud providers an organization is working with, the tougher it can be to manage a hybrid cloud security strategy.
Complicating hybrid cloud security even more, nearly half of organizations cite an increase of personal devices being used for work, and 82% say they enable bring your own device (BYOD) to some extent. It is very difficult to manage this proliferation without a single secure access solution in place that is device, resource and infrastructure agnostic and can easily protect connections to, from and between all devices and all workloads.
Hybrid Cloud Security Challenge #3: DevOps vulnerabilities
Traditional secure access solutions impede the agility of DevOps teams and have the potential to introduce vulnerabilities, which increases risk as development teams are pressured to produce faster.
The Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) model was the biggest breakthrough for DevOps teams, and it was enabled by the speed of the cloud. If a hybrid cloud security solution offers a poor developer access experience, it starts working against CI/CD benefits and slows those DevOps teams down.
Managing multiple policies is too cumbersome. A better solution would be a hybrid cloud security provider that includes security as code to unlock API-driven automations that keep the CI/CD pipelines running smoothly and quickly.
According to a study by Fugue, 96% of respondents say that a unified policy framework that works across the software development lifecycle from infrastructure as code through the cloud runtime would be valuable.
Zero Trust Network Access: the key to hybrid cloud security
To maximize the speed and agility the cloud provides, you need a hybrid cloud security provider that offers a unified policy framework to protect users and workloads regardless of their location or environment—public cloud, private cloud, on-prem, legacy infrastructure and cloud native.
ZTNA reduces admin complexity with a unified policy framework for consistent hybrid cloud security and enforcement, regardless of cloud provider. Extracting metadata from public cloud providers like AWS, Azure or Google Cloud Platform (GCP) enables you to enact permissions for individual user identities so you can ensure least privileged access is universally applied.
Hybrid cloud security with Zero Trust Network Access reduces the attack surface by making all internet-facing servers invisible to unauthenticated and unauthorized users and providing visibility to all authorized connections. Pre-authentication and pre-authorization further reduce the attack surface across all cloud environments.
By integrating Zero Trust principles into existing DevOps applications, platforms and tools, you have hybrid cloud security that doesn’t interrupt existing developer workflows. The identity-centric, context aware access of Zero Trust security dynamically scales with cloud resources to fuel and secure DevOps accelerated delivery.
So, what’s the right hybrid cloud security provider choice?
To ensure hardened, agile and adaptive hybrid cloud security, you need to eliminate the patchwork of security solutions that may have cropped up as you’ve moved workloads to the cloud. By moving to one secure access solution built on Zero Trust security principles, you can efficiently protect all assets and users across on-premises, private cloud and public clouds.
Appgate SDP, an industry-leading ZTNA solution, uses single-packet authorization (SPA) to cloak your entire infrastructure so only verified users and assets can see what they are connecting to when they are granted access through entitlements. This allows the Appgate SDP gateway to distinguish authorized and unauthorized connection attempts, and ultimately reduce your attack surface for improved hybrid cloud security. Appgate SDP’s established track record makes it a hybrid cloud security provider that offers secure, dynamic ZTNA to solve complex challenges.
Learn more about Appgate SDP’s hybrid cloud security capabilities by signing up for a weekly demo, available live each Wednesday.
Additional hybrid cloud security resources:
Blog Post: Zero Trust Security for the Cloud: How to Enable Secure Access Across Your Complex Enterprise Hybrid IT Ecosystem
Zero Trust Thirty Podcast: Crawl, Walk, Run: Zero Trust for Cloud
eBook: Securing the Hybrid Enterprise