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Hybrid IT: are security concerns holding businesses back?

Half of IT leaders say reduced security is the top risk associated with Hybrid IT.

This is according to our recent survey of 1,050 IT decision-makers (ITDMs), in which we measured attitudes and behaviours towards Hybrid IT across the globe.

While there are a number of ways to mitigate Hybrid security risks, those fears are understandable.

Changing to a Hybrid approach is like going from a single solution to 20 solutions from multiple vendors, all measured in different ways.

The level of complexity is massively increased, so naturally there are going to be new concerns that come with it.

Let’s take a closer look at what those concerns are and why they exist…

Fear of outside attacks

In addition to half saying security is the biggest Hybrid IT risk, half (48%) of ITDMs again said securing their business from outside attacks is their greatest concern when it comes to Hybrid adoption.

This is not entirely surprising when you consider the high-profile data security breaches that have made headlines in the past couple of years.

Unless you’ve been living inside a very deep cave you’ll be aware of the 157,000 TalkTalk customers who had their financial data stolen in a cyber-attack last year. And the CIA even recently flagged security risks in augmented reality game of the moment Pokémon Go.

Consumers and business leaders alike are aware that data breaches can and do happen, so while there are many ways to overcome data security risks the fear is not entirely irrational.

A barrier to innovation

One particularly worrying element of our findings was the idea that many businesses may be losing out on the benefits of Hybrid IT as a result of these security fears.

A third (32%) of respondents said security is the single biggest barrier preventing them from successfully implementing a Hybrid environment.

But security concerns then also become a blocker of wider digital transformation and therefore the ability to build a competitive edge.

For many businesses (particularly those still running legacy systems), maintaining data security and privacy takes up so much time that there’s a risk of missing opportunities to innovate.

Ultimately security comes down to risk vs. reward, but it is important not to be so restrictive and defensive that you end up stifling productivity and ideas.

Do we need a different perspective on security?

IT professionals have historically thought of security in terms of north/south traffic, i.e. building a single wall to fend off attacks.

But what if somebody does manage to breach that wall? They would essentially have access to anything they want and the damage to the business could be huge.

Using a software-defined network (SDN), however, you can create individual software firewalls that isolate smaller sections of your network and limit the potential scope of any attack.

But it’s also important to bear in mind there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to Hybrid IT security that will eliminate risk altogether. Instead you should always take a tailored approach to security based on the specific systems and needs of your organisation.

The key here, then, is that yes you should absolutely take security issues seriously when adopting this approach. But provided you properly manage the risks you can still reap the benefits Hybrid IT can bring.

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