Hybrid Cloud Security Best Practices for SMEs

Date: 7 August 2023

If you want to protect your small to medium business from cyber threats, embracing hybrid cloud security is a great idea. In this article, we explore why and we also delve into the best cybersecurity practices for Hybrid Cloud Security. 

Today, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are increasingly embracing hybrid cloud solutions. This approach sees companies utilise different computing environments to operate and store information and run applications. This usually consists of at least one public and one private cloud as well as on-premise infrastructure such as a data centre. 

Hybrid cloud solutions offer many advantages, ultimately allowing SMEs to compete with much larger organisations. This strategy can make your business more flexible, scalable, and cost-efficient. 

Plus, when combined with methods like data warehouse migration to cloud, it’s easier than ever. So it’s easy to see why SMEs are whole-heartedly going the Hybrid Cloud way. That said, the complexity of managing hybrid environments presents significant hurdles. And surely, one of the main challenges is around how to keep your hybrid systems secure. 

A hybrid cloud security strategy combines local cloud systems and third-party ones, often operating via the open internet. As such, they present a number of risks surrounding data leaks, compromised endpoints, man-in-the-middle attacks, and more. 

So it's vital that your organisation is aware of these vulnerabilities and understands how to maintain a strong security posture. Otherwise, your sensitive data could be at risk. 

This article will help you identify common hybrid cloud security challenges and guide you through the best practices. 

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The Biggest Challenges of Hybrid Cloud Security

If you're new to hybrid cloud systems, you'll likely face many data security challenges. To address these the right way, you’ll first need to understand them. Tackle the following issues head-on and you can embrace hybrid cloud solutions with peace of mind.

Data Protection

Ensuring consistent, comprehensive data protection across multiple cloud environments can be challenging. It involves robust encryption, access controls, and data loss prevention measures. Without this, it's impossible to safeguard sensitive information on cloud-based systems.


Meeting compliance standards and regulations, such as SOX requirements for auditors, becomes more complex with hybrid cloud environments. Organisations must navigate a multitude of compliance frameworks and ensure cybersecurity governance practices align with relevant regulations. 

Cyber Management Alliance’s Virtual Cyber Assistants can help you achieve Cloud Compliance in an extremely cost-effective way. They can help you create and/or review and revise Cloud Security Policies and Processes. They can even assist in reviewing configuration guidelines and Cloud Service agreements which can help you achieve compliance seamlessly.   

Architecture Complexity

Hybrid cloud environments involve integrating multiple platforms, infrastructure, and services. At least, it requires managing a public cloud system and an on-premise system. But you could end up using a range of different platforms. These more complex architectures make preventing security gaps or misconfigurations more difficult.

Access Management

Maintaining consistent, secure user access across different cloud environments can be challenging. That's why implementing centralised identity and access management solutions is crucial. It makes managing user identities, accessing privileges, and enforcing authentication mechanisms much simpler.

Data Control 

Hybrid cloud environments lack unified visibility and control over data. This makes it tricky to monitor and protect information consistently. Implementing monitoring and security tools with visibility across all cloud components is essential.

For instance, for firms that don’t use correct technology in the law office, human error could easily result in a data breach or misinterpretation of data.

Vendor Management

Hybrid cloud environments often involve multiple cloud service providers. Each has its own security controls and practices. Managing vendor relationships and understanding their security protocols can be complex. Again, enlisting the help of external Cybersecurity Consultants can enable you to streamline vendor management and make better choices for your business. 

Incident Response 

With hybrid cloud deployments, cyber incident response and recovery strategies must cover multiple components. As such, organisations need well-defined incident response plans. These should include backup and recovery processes and regular cyber tabletop exercises to ensure effectiveness of the Incident Response plans and policies.

Specialised Skills

Hybrid cloud security requires specialised skills and expertise to implement and manage effectively. This being a relatively new and evolving field, finding talent with the right knowledge and experience may prove tricky. For that reason most will rely on software outsourcing for a lot of the setup and maintenance - though it can be costly, it's certainly the safest bet. 

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8 Hybrid Cloud Security Best Practices

More organisations are growing increasingly concerned about cloud security – and with good reason. There are several threats to a hybrid cloud environment, but fortunately, there are plenty of solutions too. 

By addressing challenges head-on, you can create effective security strategies that protect your infrastructure and data. With the right approach, you ensure your hybrid cloud strategy is optimised and secure. This way you can dramatically reduce risks, protect your assets, and improve customer satisfaction and trust. 

With that in mind, here are some of the best practices you should be following.

1. Understand Your Data

Before adopting a hybrid cloud strategy, it's essential to conduct a comprehensive data audit. First, understand the types of data your organisation has and categorise their sensitivity level. Then, identify any regulatory or compliance requirements that may apply to you. This will help  determine the appropriate security measures needed to protect your data.

2. Implement Strong Access Controls

One of the greatest benefits of hybrid cloud solutions is how they unlock the potential for remote work. However, this means it is even more important that you find secure ways for remote access. 

Strict access controls are the only way to prevent unauthorised access to your hybrid cloud system. Use robust authentication mechanisms like multi-factor authentication (MFA). Also enforce strong password policies and review and update user access privileges on a regular basis. 

Another way to tackle this issue is to invest in software that manages remote access to files. Nowadays, there are a growing number of specialised services to help with this. 

3. Encrypt Data

To enhance data security, you'll need strong encryption techniques. This applies to data both at rest and in transit. Encryption ensures that even compromised data remains unreadable and unusable to unauthorised individuals. 

Leverage encryption protocols and tools provided by your cloud service providers. On top of this, install encryption solutions for data stored in your private cloud infrastructure.

4. Regularly Update Systems

Maintaining up-to-date systems is crucial to mitigating potential security vulnerabilities. Apply security patches and updates to your IT infrastructure on a regular basis. 

This includes operating systems, virtualization software, and applications. In addition, check vendor advisories and promptly address any security vulnerabilities. This will help prevent exploitation by malicious actors.

5. Employ Network Segmentation

Implement network segmentation to isolate critical assets and applications from the rest of the hybrid cloud environment. By dividing your network into secure segments and establishing strict access controls between them, you limit the potential damage in case of a security breach. This enhances the overall security posture of your hybrid cloud infrastructure.

6. Regularly Back up Data

This may seem basic, yet it is often overlooked. Data loss can have severe consequences for SMEs. 

Use regular backup procedures to reduce the impact of potential data breaches and cyber attacks. This means backing up your data and IT infrastructure. In addition, test your backup and recovery processes to verify their effectiveness and reliability. 

7. Conduct Security Audits

It goes without saying that you must perform regular security audits and assessments. This is the only way to find vulnerabilities and gaps in your hybrid cloud security posture. 

You should also use external security experts to conduct penetration testing and assessments. This helps uncover any weaknesses in your infrastructure that you might have missed. It’s all about being proactive in identifying security issues. 

8. Educate Employees on Security Best Practices

Human error remains a significant contributor to security breaches. Providing high-quality cybersecurity training is essential to educate your employees on security best practices specific to your hybrid cloud environment. 

This includes raising awareness about phishing attacks, password hygiene, the proper handling of sensitive data and avoiding visiting websites without an SSL certificate. In addition, regularly remind employees of their responsibilities and the importance of maintaining a strong security posture. 

CM-Alliance's NCSC Assured Training in Cyber Incident Planning and Response is highly rated amongst organisations who wish  enhance their resilience against cyber-attacks with proper preparation of their staff. Preparation is crucial in the complex threat landscape we inhabit today. You can also ensure you’re ready for the worst case scenario by implementing a solid business continuity plan.


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Hybrid cloud solutions offer SMEs immense benefits in terms of scalability, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness. However, ensuring the security of sensitive data and systems is of paramount importance. While there are challenges, they can be overcome. With a little research, you can easily stay on top of the threats and vulnerabilities of hybrid cloud work systems. 

What’s more, there are various services and applications that can help with this, and they’re tailored to all types of industries and departments. There’s cloud-based software for lawyers, accountants, HR, marketing, and every other role you can think of. But it’s crucial that everyone on your team is aware of threats, security best practices, and how to leverage technology to keep the company safe. 

By following these best practices, SMEs can confidently embrace hybrid cloud environments while safeguarding their valuable assets. Remember, a proactive and comprehensive approach to security will protect your organisation's reputation, maintain customer trust, and enable sustainable growth in the digital age.

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