“Almost 70 percent of global business operates, at least partly, in the cloud.”  Cloud Security Alliance 2017 Report

When facing a decision on whether or not to move to a public, private or hybrid cloud system, companies have to determine how much public exposure they can handle as well as what level of protection and control they need to have over their systems.  Often, companies will opt for a public or hybrid cloud solution for daily business operations, yet this choice risks the privacy of their company data and opens up their systems to attack from intruders.

Unfortunately, many companies have to choose less than advantageous options due to financial constraints and insufficiency of physical equipment, as well as a lack of skills in cybersecurity expertise, data management skills and/or networking and infrastructure capabilities. Let’s take a look at each one of the cloud solutions more in-depth to understand the benefits and risks before we discuss ways to mitigate cloud cybersecurity protection issues.

Private Cloud Computing

Private clouds offer the most protection but are incredibly costly to own and maintain. Private cloud computing is a single-tenant environment that offers the most security and protection for any type of system data.  However, private cloud computing systems are often very expensive, difficult to maintain and require a full-time knowledgeable staff. Networking capabilities, physical hardware, software and data storage are all taken care of in-house.

Public Cloud Computing

Public clouds scale very well and are cost-efficient, yet they are not very secure compared to private clouds.  Typically, public cloud providers offer an instant cloud-based system featuring up-to-date software and data storage capabilities, as well as state-of-the-art hardware, instant provisioning and scaling capabilities, data backup services and a large, trained IT staff.  However, when you choose a public cloud solution, you are taking the risk of being exploited.  Multiple companies share a cloud provider’s host servers and equipment in a multi-tenant environment, which means various customers and businesses are connected to the same resources. Accidental or non-accidental sharing of data may occur between companies and customers, and the system is much more open to intrusion.  Many large organizations also dislike being forced to let their private customer data to flow through a provider’s systems before reaching their own. Data security is a serious issue on public cloud computing systems, and the cloud solution provider has all control over hardware, software, networks, updates/upgrades, system back-ups and restoration services. Public cloud solutions have inherent flaws that may expose them to a large number of attacks, and current tools and methodologies do not provide sufficient cybersecurity protection.

Hybrid Cloud Computing

Hybrid cloud options are more complex and offer a cost-efficient solution that maximizes an organization’s internal resources in a private cloud while also providing unlimited scalability for more non-sensitive processes in a public cloud. Most security professionals agree that hybrid cloud computing solutions can be extremely troublesome due to the complexity, and the biggest barriers to a hybrid cloud solution are poor network execution, deficient security protocols, lack of encryption, inadequate compliance, lack of data ownership, insufficient risk assessment, poor data redundancy, data leakage, ineffective management strategies, weak security management, and many other threats. Basically, cybersecurity protection is incredibly difficult to maintain on these types of systems.

Cybersecurity Protection for Private, Public and Hybrid Cloud Systems

Fortunately, innovative cybersecurity protection tools for both public and hybrid cloud solutions have been developed with the inclusion of artificial intelligence (AI) and Blockchain technologies that can be installed and maintained without a degree in cybersecurity. This new technology enables solution providers to provide transparent services that reduce the complexity of security management for customers and offers user-friendly, large-scale protection from cloud servers, IoT devices and everything in between.  This cybersecurity solution can run over any network, is invisible to applications and systems, updates dynamically as a company needs change and locks down every device and all communications through its policy-based workflow agent. Virtual devices can finally exist safely in even the most hostile of environments. Customer data is also protected out-of-band, which means no redirecting and no need for the cloud provider to ever view customers’ information. 

The best part of this cutting-edge, cybersecurity protection system is that all of these features are provided through familiar interfaces that network and system admins already use, and the financial benefits of the public cloud can be leveraged while still enjoying the security of a highly-secure private cloud option. Solution providers can finally launch superior cybersecurity protection in the public and hybrid cloud space with little to no training in cybersecurity at a minimized cost.