Hybrid Cloud Risks That IT Managers Can’t Take Their Eyes Off
It’s been more than a decade since cloud computing brought business close to the idea of affordable computing, storage, and application resources. Soon enough, the cloud universe underwent a bifurcation, driven namely by the public and private cloud. As companies began to understand the pros and cons of both approaches to cloud computing, another term became the buzzword. It’s a hybrid cloud – an arrangement where enterprises create a good balance of public and private cloud.
Risks Associated With Hybrid Cloud
Whereas the hybrid cloud approach helps companies achieve the perfect balance of application availability, security, and the resultant employee productivity, it also presents certain management challenges. Most of these challenges/risks are directly or indirectly related to the KPIs of cloud-based applications, from a productivity, accessibility, and security standpoint. Here’s a guide to help you understand and manage these risks.
Too Many Decision Makers
When an enterprise makes a conscious choice to go for a hybrid arrangement of public, private, and on-premise systems, one of the biggest risks is of having too many decision makers influencing the choice of cloud tools. Particularly when high ranking end user and business team leaders push for the choice of certain cloud tools without letting IT analyze it on different aspects, chaos ensues.
When an enterprise is stuck with many cloud solutions that don’t exactly integrate with each other, there’s hardly a single team or person responsible for the hodgepodge that exists in the name of hybrid cloud. The performance management and overall coordination of such a cloud ecosystem often become too difficult to manage for the enterprise.
Underestimating the Data Stewardship Responsibilities
Here’s a fact – the level of control of data governance, security, and privacy that an enterprise’s IT team can exercise for an on-premise solution can’t be matched by that in a cloud-based solution. While working out the right mix of on-premise, public cloud, and private cloud solutions, enterprises must not lose sight of the level of control they need over their data. Even the leading cloud services vendors don’t take 100% responsibility for your enterprise data; there’s a lot that you need to be accountable for. And unless your hybrid cloud setup addresses this reality, there’s trouble brewing close by.
Improper Choices of Cloud Management Tool
To manage everything about your hybrid cloud infrastructure, you’ll need a sophisticated cloud management solution. Now, in a hybrid cloud environment, there is a lot of communication between public cloud and private cloud infrastructures. So, the tool your company purchases must be able to manage this communication while managing the security considerations alongside.
There are other issues too. If the public and private cloud vendors are different, the complexity increases. The solution – you either use your in-house IT or a vendor to do the interfacing or choose a tool that inherently supports a wide range of APIs from different cloud service vendors. For obvious reasons, a wrong choice of cloud management tool could mean a lot of problems in the long run. To manage this, some companies even go for cloud management tools for public and private cloud, from the same vendor. However, such a lock-in is inherently risky.
Mismanagement of Identity Management Solutions
Identification management tools are crucial components of enterprise IT security. When a company transitions to a hybrid cloud, invariably the identity management solution has to be extended from the private cloud to the public cloud components.
Because of this, there are some critical questions to be addressed related to identifying management.
Does the company choose different identity management tools for its private and public cloud components?
Does the company keep the same identity management tool?
If so, what are the risks of the public cloud vendor’s employees being able to use usernames and passwords to access information from the private component?
However, this is more of a risk assessment issue than anything else. As long as an enterprise remains conscious about this choice, the risks are manageable.
Lack of Understanding of Trust Requirements
All applications used in your business, along with all the peripheral tools used, have their corresponding trust requirements. These trust requirements are governed by the legal, regulatory, and contractual agreements your company has with your clients.
Enterprises can conveniently meet all these trust requirements by using private cloud solutions, wherein they have sufficient control over the nitty gritty of the technology. For applications that don’t require complex trust requirement compliance, it’s normal enough for companies to manage things via public cloud solutions.
However, too many companies fail to estimate the current and future trust requirements of applications, and bear the brunt later on, when these requirements become obvious. By correctly mapping applications to the right cloud computing methodology, enterprises can prevent expensive and embarrassing trust requirement compliance issues. It also helps them identify the applications that need sophisticated access control and authentication management. Hence, this becomes a matter of avoiding security breaches, as well as avoiding unnecessary recurring costs for enterprises.
Inadequate Diligence in Vendors’ Disaster Recovery Practices
In a hybrid cloud ecosystem, there are different vendors and their different databases in play. Questions to be asked:
Whether or not there is complete failover between data centers?
Do all vendors own the different data centers involved?
Among all the different disaster recovery and failover SLAs you establish with vendors, are most of them logically in sync with each other?
Note: After all the research and diligence, your company needs to be reasonably convinced that business continuity will be ensured in the case of a service disruption.
‘Best of all worlds’ is what every enterprise wants. From a cloud computing perspective, this translates into what’s popularly called a hybrid cloud. Indeed, from a control and cost perspective, it offers the best of all worlds. However, this often also means the coming together of individual infrastructure risks, as well as the ones caused by their integration. Some of these risks are covered in this guide; keep them in mind while planning the hybrid transformation for your enterprise.
Author: Rahul Sharma