By Omar Rafik, SolarWinds Senior Manager, Federal Sales Engineering


Here’s an interesting article on hybrid IT and how to maintain visibility to performance. We’re also discussing leveraging automation to respond to threats.


Choosing which providers to use—let alone whether to choose a public or private cloud approach in the first place—can be paralyzing and confusing. In fact, 65% of respondents to the 2017 SolarWinds IT Trends Report stated that their agencies use up to three cloud providers.


Many agencies have embraced a hybrid IT model. Yes, they still have to choose which cloud providers to use and which applications to move offsite. Effectively overseeing a hybrid IT environment poses significant challenges, particularly regarding monitoring and security.


Expand the Visibility Horizon


IT managers may be accustomed to having unfettered authority over all aspects of their networks, but a hybrid IT environment often requires sharing those duties with cloud providers.


Plus, as packets pass between private and public clouds (and vice versa), there may be blind spots where administrators lose track of those packets. That can be nerve-wracking for security-conscious network administrators.


While many administrators have become highly adept at monitoring what is happening within their networks, a hybrid approach can require that they expand their horizons to see what is taking place beyond their own borders. What’s occurring with their information as it moves on-premises, in the cloud, and in between?


Automate and Virtualize Security to Proactively Respond to Threats


Being able to enforce security policies and ensure compliance across hybrid IT networks is another top security challenge. Agencies must ensure that their security protocols are being enforced across their networks and that data moving between private and public clouds is protected under those blanket policies. Policies must be automatically enforced as incidents arise, and administrators must be confident that any policies they make in-house are updated, applied, and enforced across the entire spectrum of their hybrid IT networks.


Employing automation to immediately address and remediate potential threats is also important. Hybrid IT networks can potentially include hundreds of applications. Automated monitoring and response can help identify and mitigate issues in minutes, rather than hours or days, minimizing risk and greatly reducing system downtime.


Agencies should also consider replacing legacy hardware systems, including firewalls, with next-generation virtualization solutions. Virtual firewalls can be far more scalable than traditional hardware and can be automatically deployed and configured. They can also help improve security responses and threat mitigation across the entire hybrid network. These updates be done in a piecemeal fashion, making it easier—and more budget-friendly—to manage the progression from legacy solutions to network modernization.


Although adopting a hybrid IT approach relieves administrators from having to choose between private or public clouds, an abundance of decisions remain. Administrators must commit to their cloud providers and decide which applications to keep on-premises, for example.


Fortunately, those choices don’t have to come at the expense of end-to-end network management and security for government agencies. Both of those can be well within reach, even in a hybrid IT world.


Find the full article on Government Computer News.


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