According to Gartner, it’s thought that by 2020, 90 percent of businesses will have a hybrid cloud infrastructure[1]. Why? Because this solution offers businesses the best of both worlds; the chance to embrace digital transformation and the ability to continue running on-premise legacy applications.

A hybrid cloud approach can offer businesses increased efficiency, reduced costs and scope for better company processes and innovation, without the cost or risk of completely abandoning previous IT investments.

Although the grass is certainly greener on the other side, it’s important to keep hybrid environments safe and secure. Without the right tools, expertise or visibility, you could find yourself vulnerable to cybersecurity threats. With that in mind, we’ve outlined three common security challenges and how you can overcome them.

1. Rapid detection and response

With your data distributed across multiple servers and data centres, it can be hard to keep an eye on suspicious activity or anomalies within your data. This lack of integration makes it difficult to see everything that’s happening all at once and to prioritise threats accordingly. As a result, industry reports show that today’s attacks can go undetected for around 140 days.[2]

As rapid detection and response become bigger priorities, it’s important to get a holistic view across your entire infrastructure. With 75% of organisations having zero or only partial visibility into their cloud and hybrid infrastructure[3], it can be difficult to know where to get started.

Tools such as Azure Security Center continuously monitor the security state of your distributed, hybrid infrastructure. After analysing your data, the tool can alert you to any out-of-date security software, insecure OS configurations and other vulnerable systems so that you can quickly respond to security threats

2. Identity and access controls

Breaches and hacks aren’t always coordinated by outsiders. In fact, most of your cybersecurity threats will be a result of users inside your company. 90% of organisations feel vulnerable to insider attacks with the main risk factors being: too many users with excessive access privileges (37%), an increasing number of devices with access to sensitive data (36%) and the increasing complexity of information technology (35%)[4]

So, when it comes to keeping your hybrid data secure, you can never be too cautious or too safe. It’s necessary to ensure your data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands by using the appropriate identity management and access control tools. This way, your hybrid environments can remain safe and managed correctly.

Products such as Azure Active Directory allow your business to establish complete control over identity and access management. This allows you to:

  • Setconditional access policies, such as ensuring devices on your network have a mobile device management system, like Microsoft Intune, in order to have access to your organisation’s services
  • Assign admins to help distinguish users and limit user access
  • Implement multi-factor authentication to ensure a safe, secure log-in for all your employees

3. Policies and improvements

Making improvements to your hybrid environment is tricky when you’re unable to measure your security management successes and failures. In fact, with so much data to handle, it’s hard to even find the time to do it manually.

Machine learning can help your business analyse your security policies and the security state of your infrastructure. What’s more, certain tools and products can give you personalised improvement recommendations and allow you to set up controls and policies in line with your company’s needs.

Microsoft’s Azure Security Center uses machine learning to identify security vulnerabilities. Once it identifies your infrastructure’s weaknesses, it recommends certain controls or policies that may help, and guides you through implementing them. In turn, this allows you to prepare for future cybersecurity threats.

Managing your hybrid infrastructure

The cloud can provide you with a multitude of analytic and machine learning capabilities to influence your business processes. When harnessed correctly, these can also help you manage your hybrid infrastructure securely and efficiently.

Whether you’re worried about current challenges or future security threats, the best defence you can take is investing in the right tools to empower your employees and help you work smarter.

At Microsoft, our products are built to offer you control, usability and, most importantly, solid security. If you’d like to find out more, attend one of our cloud workshops or go ahead and explore Microsoft 365 in more detail to see how we can help you address security concerns.