Let’s Get Cirrus About Hybrid Clouds
Target and Home Depot customers remember the feeling of betrayal when data security breaches occurred in 2013 and 2014. For shoppers, this meant finding our favorite items at other retailers until things simmered down. For the stores, it meant firing a CEO, CIO, and millions upon millions spent on righting the wrong.
Digging deeper into the breaches, we discover that malware entered each retailers private cloud via different methods. At Target, the malware entered their payment system network via credentials supplied to a third party HVAC contractor and then quickly spread itself into the card readers to capture customer data. At Home Depot, they have yet to disclose the exact point of entry into their payment system network. The investigation at Home Depot is focused on the card readers in their self-checkout lanes. Finally, ask Anthem Healthcare about their data breach in 2015 that exposed the personal health information of 80 million individuals to hackers.
Incredibly, after these massive breaches of private cloud security, the risk averse nature of the corporate world continues to focus on the private cloud with deployments of new more sophisticated security software.
A growing wave of more nimble and innovative enterprises are rushing to the public cloud for their computing, storage, networking and security requirements. They are embracing the leading proprietary cloud providers such as Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud with another segment seeking open source solutions such as Apache CloudStack.
The bifurcation of thought regarding public versus private clouds reminds me of something I recently read that illustrated two types of visually dramatic cloud effects often so beautiful they could be considered art. These are known as Sundogs and Halos.
Sundogs are colored spots of light that develop due to refraction of light through ice crystals in cirrus clouds. They are located approximately at 22 degrees on either side of the sun, depending on where the ice crystals are present. The colors usually go from red closest to the sun, out to blue on the outside of the Sundog.
A halo is a ring or light that forms around the sun or moon as the light refracts off ice crystals present in a thin veil of cirrus clouds. The halo is usually seen as a bright white ring although sometimes it can have color.
The contrast between the public and private clouds can be quite dramatic. Public clouds are promoted as easy to use, flexible, scalable, and cost effective. Why isn’t everyone on a public cloud? A primary reason is the public cloud has been portrayed as less secure than a private cloud.
Amazingly, the private cloud is believed to be more secure than the public cloud even though breaches the size of those disclosed earlier have not occurred in the public cloud. In some cases the thought of managing their own private cloud may provide the CIOs/ CTOs with a sense of comfort that their data is securely protected from harmful predators and completely under their control.
The perfect interim solution may be the hybrid cloud; an intersection of a public cloud with an enterprise’s private cloud. The hybrid cloud enables the late adopters and laggards to dip their toes in the water and test the temperature. We expect enterprises of all sizes will be creating hybrid cloud networks that incorporate the best attributes of the public cloud (ease of use, cost effective, etc.) with the perceived security of a private network.
Once in a blue moon, the visual phenomenon of Sundogs and Halos being present at the same moment in time occurs, creating a hybrid image of light. Perhaps cloud computing can take inspiration from nature in another way by combining public and private clouds to reveal a harmonious and beautiful combination hybrid that will leave the cloud computing community wanting more.
Jaime Baldwin – StratoSTACK Digital Media Specialist
Randall Smith – StratoSTACK Product Manager