We, at Soha Systems, attended IBM InterConnect conference, late February. Amidst the multitude of announcements made during that week, the one that resonated most with us was IBM's partnership with VMware around hybrid enterprise (IBM Wants VMware Shops On its Cloud, How IBM Stole Google's Thunder).
As a cloud security vendor focusing on providing security to hybrid enterprises, we were intrigued by this announcement, which added a significant building block to the visibility of hybrid enterprise. Here’s our take on this subject matter.
We love the public cloud. It’s disruptive. It forces IT staff to rethink time-honored traditions and habits. It is truly an incredible phenomenon. But public cloud is only one piece of a much bigger puzzle -- that of the hybrid enterprise (aka hybrid IT or hybrid cloud).
Most enterprises are, or will become, hybrid entities. That is, they will have workloads and apps distributed in a number of public clouds, on private clouds and in their own existing data centers. Very few enterprises, if any at all, will move 100% of their infrastructure to the public cloud, let alone bet on a single public cloud provider.
Gartner, IDC, Ovum and other industry analysts estimate that 80% of all enterprises will commit to hybrid cloud within the next 2 years. This makes the hybrid cloud market much bigger than the public cloud market.
“Hybrid IT is the new IT and is here to stay" -- Chris Howard, Vice President and Chief of Research, Gartner
The hybrid enterprise is a continuum:
This continuum is suggestive, not deterministic. As a matter of fact, numerous enterprises turn to public cloud first, and when enough workloads run there, they tend to move to private cloud, sometimes in their own premises. Moving from public cloud back to your own premises is a perfectly “cloudy” phenomenon -- a classic hybrid move.
Challenges to providing security to hybrid enterprise
Existing IT security solutions focus mainly/only on existing on-premises infrastructure. They provide software and appliances, and have been doing this for the last 25 years. On the other hand, the new cloud security vendors focus only on securing cloud workloads and apps.
So from IT security staff perspective, the cloud means more complexity, more solutions from new vendors, more dashboards, etc. So much so that Cisco recently issued a warning stating that complexity remains the enemy of security. But THE premise and promise of the cloud is simplification of IT. So what’s missing? Where’s the gap?
How should security to hybrid enterprise be provided?
The only way to bridge that gap is by introducing a completely new security model: Plainly put, hybrid enterprise requires hybrid security. Not security retrofitted for the hybrid world, but with security that is designed and built from the ground-up to support the hybrid enterprise.
Fundamentals of hybrid security model:
- Hybrid security should be a native, as-a-service solution
- Hybrid security service should be an integrated end-to-end solution, save time and cost of purchase, integration and management. It should result in lower TCO and simplified IT
- Hybrid security service should be able to secure payloads running in any and all behind-the-firewall environments (e.g. should be able to provide security to on-premises enterprise apps and enterprise cloud apps alike, with the same ease of use, with little-or-no integration)
- Hybrid security service should be able to run, as a native cloud service, both in multi-tenant, single-tenant and on-premises modes, retaining the same level of functionality, elasticity, scalability and manageability in all modes
- Hybrid security service should provide a single point of configuration and management to all secured applications, a single pane of glass
- Hybrid security service should facilitate migration of applications from one environment to another, detaching the security from any single cloud provider, to allow delivery of security to all clouds and all environments ("software defined security" if you will)
It takes a village to raise a child
At Soha Systems, that is exactly what we have developed. It takes many years of enterprise experience to understand the complexities of integrated security solutions, let alone migration from one environment to another.
The result of this vast experience is a solution that brings the above principles to real life. Check it out...