This is the second article in a series of three. The first focuses on the importance of making businesses better prepared for the future and how to overcome common obstacles on the road to digitalisation. We also discussed how local infrastructure upgrades as part of a hybrid cloud approach can best be managed through hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI), which allows upgrades that combine the best of the old with the new.
In this article, we will look at the challenges that companies need to consider in order to develop and maintain a comprehensive security strategy in a hybrid environment.
Security begins before an attack
Without exception, cybersecurity issues remain a high priority and pose a real threat to organizations. The latest mega-breaches of customer data by companies with household names only serve to emphasize the importance of security. Hacked and leaked data from workplace sources such as mobile and Internet of Things (IoT) devices, combined with a newly disaggregated and remote workforce as a result of covid-19, changed the threat landscape. In fact, new security requirements, in particular identity and access management for the protection of remote workers and critical corporate data, have led to significant growth in HCI over the last year.
Most companies maintain too much unprotected data. Security breaches have the power to disrupt the whole business, stopping even the most stable organizations. The growing adoption of cloud-based models brings a new level of concern to many organizations, especially those who are just beginning their migration to the cloud.
All this leads to one conclusion: the need for a comprehensive security strategy for any business that is considering adopting a hybrid cloud.
Multi-layered security strategy
Changing business environments, additional data usage, and evolving threats require businesses to adopt a new way of looking at security to sustain stability, innovation, and growth. Businesses need a built-in, unified approach combined with intelligent protection against workload threats operating in cloud-to-end environments. Intel and Microsoft are working together to build a chain of trust between software and hardware technologies to help protect the organization’s data and applications, wherever they are in the hybrid environment.
This multi-layered security strategy integrates Azure Stack HCI software with Intel hardware, where secure kernel servers provide modern security, relying on the hardware root of trust as a critical building block. A secure kernel program provides additional features that represent the standard of the device you should look for when choosing HCI hardware, including a sandy firmware environment and virtualization security (VBS).
Overall security requires many angles, including process simplification, advanced protection capability, and a preventive defensive stance. VBS allows you to isolate critical parts of your system, even protecting you from privileged malware. With Microsoft-protected servers, all of these capabilities are enabled, allowing IT and security teams to turn their attention to where it’s needed most.
As the layers of security software improve, attackers and those with malicious intent are increasingly moving down the stack, looking for new vulnerabilities to exploit. Microsoft continues to invest in mitigation technologies that can better take advantage of the security benefits of advanced hardware. With that in mind, Intel believes that security should start with the lowest possible layer: silicon. Intel helps establish a chain of trust to protect data throughout all phases of its life cycle, whether the data is at rest, in flight, or in use. This is based on technological innovations in 3rd generation Intel Xeon Scalable processors with a wide range of capabilities, from creating a hardware-based reliable runtime environment to memory encryption and separate protection of virtual machines and data used, to crypto acceleration that provides breakthrough performance allowing widespread encryption in the cloud or at the edge.
Security professionals need the ability to identify and deal directly with threats when they arise in day-to-day operations throughout the organization. Here, Azure Defender provides the broadest coverage of resources of any advanced XDR detection technology on the market today, covering users, devices, applications, virtual machines, SQL databases, IoT and more – all from a single vendor.
Azure Defender protects Azure and hybrid environments and ensures that the resources of your cloud infrastructure are protected from common threats, such as coercive virtual machines, or storage attacks or SQL injection, or even mitigation of container threats, the management service of switches for IoT devices. Azure Defender provides protection for all of these resources directly in the Azure experience and extends security to on-premises and multi-cloud virtual machines and SQL databases using Azure Arc.
Tools to support your mission
Forward-thinking leaders agree that implementing a unified infrastructure between software and hardware can quickly enhance an organization’s security. However, to realize the full benefits of a secure approach to the hybrid cloud, businesses will need tools to assess the security status of networks, protect workloads, provide security alerts, and make recommendations for troubleshooting and coping. with future threats – at high speed, in the cloud, without deployment from above.
Azure Security Center offers a unified infrastructure security management system that enhances the security of your data centers and provides enhanced protection against threats in your environments. Organizations can also use Azure’s cloud backup and security services without having to deploy additional on-premises infrastructure.
Providing businesses with a foundation for the future
Cloud-driven, cloud-managed infrastructure consolidation allows organizations to upgrade and invest in the future by adopting a true hybrid cloud infrastructure with complete security. If your organization is ready to adopt a comprehensive security strategy for a hybrid environment, learn more about Azure Stack HCI today.
See the latest Intel Azure Stack HCI-based systems and new features at Azure.com/HCI. While you’re there, download the software that Microsoft provided for a 60-day free trial.
Biography: Talal Alkinawi is a senior director of product marketing for Azure’s marketing at Microsoft, where his passion for how the cloud and AI drive digital transformation informs cloud marketing and the company’s product strategy.