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Compliance and Hybrid Cloud

While the migration to the cloud with databases, enterprise applications, and many other processes has been a no-brainer for many companies, highly regulated industries oftentimes face a slightly slower, more complicated move to the cloud.

Some industries have made moves to acknowledge and address the changing IT landscape. In 2013 HIPAA extended compliance rules beyond “primary handlers” of protected health information to cover “business associates” as well, which includes businesses that store protected information on behalf of their clients, whether they view it or not. The same year, PCI, which for all purposes covers the entire credit-card industry, published cloud security guidelines including, “cloud security is a shared responsibility between the cloud service provider (CSP) and its clients.”

This need for flexibility to both protect regulated data and allow room for scalability with the less regulated data sounds like a perfect match for hybrid cloud, which combines both public and private cloud options (with on-premise occasionally in the mix as well), particularly when it comes to database management. Yet a recent report from IDC on the future of hybrid IT revealed that 40 percent of those surveyed still saw security in the cloud, compliance, and other industry regulations as a major challenge for businesses working with hybrid IT.

To demystify the security and compliance challenges of hybrid cloud, here are key security considerations for compliance to keep in mind when enacting a hybrid cloud architecture.

Start with a risk and security assessment.
Risk assessment is an important first step before even beginning to think about implementation. IT managers need to first determine which workloads are truly suited for hybrid cloud based on compliance restrictions and security and cloud regulations. Assessing the security requirements should follow immediately after making certain that the shared responsibility across all who touch this valuable data is properly controlled.

Stay consistent with security processes.
That means not only maintaining consistent security access and authorization controls across environments and tools, but also ensuring secure movement of data and workloads across environments through transport security and network firewalls, and of course, securing data in third-party environments through encryption and other methods. It’s absolutely necessary that these precautions are carried across every platform, database, and all of your organization’s IT properties.

Get all hands on deck for cross-departmental cooperation.
By definition, a hybrid architecture breaks down silos, so cross-departmental cooperation is required to cover all of your bases. In the IT world, that means software delivery, information security, risk and compliance, network security and data management all working together throughout planning and ongoing management processes to leave no room for error. Clear communication between all parties that touch IT will also be vital to avoiding that ultimate enemy of IT—human error.

Find the right management partners for the job.
Not all companies have the IT resources to cover such an undertaking. Often partnering with a managed service provider to manage the migration and/or cover the ongoing management of your databases and other enterprise apps in hybrid cloud, is an important part of covering all of your bases. When considering a partner, make certain your vendor specializes in your industry and is familiar with the unique compliance issues and measures that must be met whether that’s HIPAA, FISMA, PCI, or whatever regulations your company subscribes to. Ultimately your database management strategy should be determined by what architecture will best meet the needs of your business and scale with you as you grow.

While these considerations have slowed the move to hybrid cloud for companies facing compliance restrictions, it’s also made the move much more intentional, which may prove to be a blessing in disguise. For other companies, the move to hybrid cloud has been much less calculated and therefore less organized and certainly not optimized. The required strategy of regulated businesses has offered a window into the benefits of this hybrid environment and a roadmap that all organizations could benefit from.

About ManageForce

Founded in 2005, ManageForce is a Cloud, ERP and Data Solutions Provider that specializes in digital transformation and business optimization. We help organizations modernize and optimize their enterprise applications by providing structured solutions and full-service dedicated support to help them solve their business problems and thrive.

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