Omar Rafik, SolarWinds Senior Manager, Federal Sales Engineering
From the government’s recently released Report on IT Modernization, calling for agencies to identify solutions to current barriers regarding agency cloud adoption, to the White House’s draft release of a new “Cloud Smart” policy, which updates the “Cloud First” policy introduced in 2010; cloud migration continues to be a priority.
Whether you’re moving everything to the cloud or choosing a hybrid cloud option, moving to this environment brings several well-documented advantages, such as flexibility, the potential for innovation, and cost savings. Yet it’s critically important to maintain a secure cloud environment.
This may seem overwhelming, particularly when a wide range of data falls under an equally wide array of privacy, policy, and security regulations. Data moving across these hybrid environments requires monitoring solutions spanning the entire distributed network and adapts as network environments change.
The three most critical steps to keeping your cloud infrastructure safe are:
Create and enforce management policies
The good news is technology is advancing quickly enough that you can likely find a series of tools, or even a single toolset, to help accomplish all three of these with minimal interruption and maximum advantage.
Create Management Policies
Compliance is second nature to federal IT pros; creating and enforcing management policies to maintain control within a hybrid cloud environment is a simple next step to compliance you may already be accomplishing.
Be sure you’re using a solid network configuration tool to deploy standardized configurations, detect out-of-process changes, audit configurations, and even correct violations. Be sure you can back up those standardized configurations in case something goes wrong.
There’s a good chance you’re already doing these things. The key is to be able to integrate this with the next two steps.
The ability to see devices and activity across multiple connected environments is a must for security. Look specifically for the ability to implement a control-room view of sorts. Make sure you can do this in real time; the more you can see, the more you can control effectively.
Start by automating your discovery process. Be sure you can automatically detect new devices and any other changes to network topology. Automate monitoring and alerting across the entire environment. Next, correlate the results of this effort; the larger the environment, the more data you’ll be grappling with. Automating will not only save you time, it will also dramatically reduce the impact of human error.
As networks grow and become more complex—particularly in the case of hybrid cloud environments—they become harder to secure. Creating management policies, enhancing visibility, and implementing automation will certainly go a long way toward providing more effective monitoring and shoring up security; even as the network grows.
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