Hybrid cloud adoption requires a holistic cybersecurity posture

This is the second article in three series. The first focuses on the importance of making businesses more prepared for the future and how to work through the common obstacles in the way of digitalization.. We also discussed how modernizing on-premises infrastructure as part of the hybrid cloud approach can be best managed through hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI), enabling modernization that blends the best of the old and the new.

In this article, we examine the challenges that businesses need to consider in order to develop and maintain a holistic security strategy in a hybrid environment.

Talal Alqinawi is a senior director of product marketing at Azure.

Security will begin before the attack

Without exception, cybersecurity issues remain a high priority and represent a real threat to organizations. Recent mega-breaches of customer data from companies with a household name only serve to emphasize the importance of security. Hacked and breached data from workplace sources such as mobile and Internet of things (IoT) devices, along with a newly isolated and remote worker due to covid-19, has transformed threat scene. In fact, new requirements for security, especially access identification and management to protect remote workers and critical corporate data, pushed significant growth in HCI last year.

Most businesses are going on too much unprotected data. Security breaches have the power to disrupt all business, grinding even the strongest organizations to a halt. The growing adoption of cloud-based models is bringing a new level of concern to many organizations, especially those just starting their cloud migration.

All this leads to one conclusion: the need for a comprehensive security strategy for any business considering hybrid cloud adoption.

A multi-layered security strategy

Changing business environments, increased data usage, and changing threat landscapes require businesses to adopt and new ways of looking at security to support security. on, innovation, and growth. Businesses need a built-in, integrated approach, combined with intelligent threat protection for workloads running in cloud-to-edge environments. Intel and Microsoft are working together to create a chain of trust in software and hardware technology to help protect an organization’s data and applications, wherever they live within a hybrid environment.

This multi-layered security strategy integrates Azure Stack HCI software with Intel hardware, where Secured-core servers provide modern security by relying on root-of-trust hardware as a critical building block. The Secured-core program provides additional capabilities that represent the device standard you should look for when choosing HCI hardware, including firmware sandbox and virtualization-based security (VBS).

Comprehensive security requires many angles, including simplification of processes, advanced protective capability, and a protective posture of prevention. VBS allows you to isolate critical parts of your system, even protecting you from privileged malware. With Secured-core servers from Microsoft, all of these capabilities are enabled, allowing IT and security operations teams to devote their attention to where they are most needed.

As layers of security software evolve, attackers and those with malicious intent are increasingly shifting the stack, looking for new vulnerabilities to take advantage of. Microsoft continues to invest in leveraging mitigation technologies to better take advantage of the security benefits derived from advanced hardware. With this in mind, Intel believes security should start at the lowest layer possible: inside silicon. Intel helps establish a chain of trust to protect data at all stages of its lifecycle, whether the data is at rest, in flight, or in use. It is based on the technological innovation of 3rd Generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors with a wide range of capabilities, from creating a hardware-based reliable execution environment to memory encryption and separate virtual protection. machines and data used, to crypto acceleration that provides breakthrough performance enables widespread encryption in the cloud or on the edge.

Security professionals need the ability to identify and directly respond to threats as they come into the day-to-day operations of the entire organization. Here, Azure Defender delivers the widest range of resources of any advanced analysis and response (XDR) technology on the market today, equipping users, devices, applications, virtual machines, SQL databases, IoT, and many more – all from one vendor.

Azure Defender protects Azure and hybrid environments and ensures that your cloud infrastructure resources are protected from common threats, such as brute-forcing virtual machines, or storage attacks or SQL injection, or even mitigation of threats against vulnerabilities, the primary management service for IoT devices. Azure Defender provides protection for all of these resources from directly within the Azure experience and extends protection to on-premise and multi-cloud virtual machines and SQL databases using Azure Arc.

Tools to support your mission

Forward-thinking leaders agree that implementing an integrated infrastructure across software and hardware can quickly strengthen an organization’s security posture. However, to realize the full benefit of a secure hybrid cloud approach, businesses need tools to assess the security status of networks, protect workloads, raise security alerts, and create recommendations on fixing attacks and resolving future threats — at high speed, in the cloud, with no surface deployment.

Azure Security Center offers an integrated infrastructure security management system that strengthens the security posture of your data centers and provides advanced threat protection around you. Organizations can also use Azure cloud services for backup and security, without having to deploy additional infrastructure in place.

Give businesses a foundation for the future

Cloud-delivered, cloud-manged infrastructure consolidation enables organizations to modernize and future-proof investments by adopting truly hybrid cloud infrastructure with complete security in mind. If your organization is willing to adopt a comprehensive security strategy for a hybrid environment, learn more about Azure Stack HCI today.

Check out the latest Intel-based Azure Stack HCI systems and new features at Azure.com/HCI. While there, download the software, made available by Microsoft for a 60-day free trial.

Bio: Talal Alqinawi is a senior director of product sales for Microsoft’s Azure marketing, where his passion for how cloud and AI drive digital change informs the company’s cloud marketing and product strategy.

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