Private cloud security is an umbrella term that refers to the tools and strategies used to secure private cloud infrastructure. With private clouds, all resources are dedicated to a single tenant. Because resources are dedicated to individual enterprises, the private cloud security paradigm differs from multi tenant public cloud environments.
Private cloud is a form of cloud computing where the infrastructure is dedicated to a single organization. Generally, physical private cloud infrastructure resides “on-premises” within enterprise data centers but could also reside off-premises, for example at a co-location datacenter. With private clouds, the procurement, installation, maintenance, and management of the infrastructure is handled by the organization that uses the cloud resources or by an authorized service provider.
As part of their private cloud architecture, enterprise IT departments will often use software from providers like OpenStack, VMware, Cisco, and Microsoft to virtualize their datacenter. Users within the organization – such as individual business units and employees – access resources like web applications and desktop services as needed over a private network.
Because private cloud requires a significant upfront infrastructure investment, it makes sense for you to use it if:
For medium to large enterprises, private clouds can offer economies of scale that makes the upfront capital investment worth it. Additionally, there are several private cloud security benefits. For example, with private cloud, data is controlled by and stored on servers owned by the enterprise, offering maximum control over access and data sovereignty. Further, private clouds enable enterprises to customize their infrastructure as required as opposed to being limited by the offerings of a public cloud vendor.
Of course, private cloud is not without tradeoffs. The upfront capital investment can be prohibitive for some organizations. In other cases, such as businesses where resource utilization is highly variable, purchasing – as opposed to leasing in the public cloud – resources simply does not make business sense. Finally, private cloud comes with the need to have IT staff or service providers to maintain the underlying infrastructure that public cloud providers abstract away.
Unlike single-tenant private cloud infrastructure, public cloud environments are inherently multitenant and generally accessible via the public Internet. This means that public and private clouds require different approaches to cloud security.
For example, with public cloud infrastructure, enterprise IT does not have to worry about physical security at all. Similarly, with platforms like SaaS (Software as a Service) things like encryption of data at rest, authentication services, and firewalls are abstracted away. With IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) platforms the AWS (Amazon Web Services) shared responsibility model provides a useful example of what aspects of security enterprises are and are not responsible for. AWS and other IaaS providers handle securing the physical infrastructure and the underlying virtualization layer for the compute, storage, and networking resources while enterprises are responsible for everything “above” that.
On the other hand, with private cloud security enterprises must account for everything from physical security to network security to encryption methods and data storage techniques. For a real-world example of what securing a private cloud looks like, check out this Paschoalotto private cloud security case study where the financial services firm successfully delivered a scalable and flexible security architecture that met the demands of customers and government privacy laws.
While it is important to understand the differences between public and private cloud security paradigms, in practice most enterprises will have a combination of multiple public cloud and private on-premises resources. Simply put: hybrid cloud is the norm, which is why it is important for enterprise security strategies to account for the challenges of both public and private cloud.
Traditionally, security and monitoring solutions tend to work well with public cloud infrastructure or on-premises resources, but not both. As a result, it is easy for enterprises to end up with a complex patchwork of security solutions that requires a significant amount of IT’s time to manage and maintain.
Since the solutions lack complete network visibility and often do not integrate together well, this can lead to gaps in security and a weaker overall security posture. To meet the security challenges of hybrid cloud, enterprises need solutions designed with hybrid cloud in mind.
For more on the unique challenges of hybrid cloud security, sign up for the Best Practices to Securing the Hybrid Clouds and SDDC on-demand webinar featuring ESG Senior Principal Analyst Jon Oltsik.
Check Point CloudGuard is uniquely capable of meeting the challenges of both public and private cloud security in one holistic solution. With CloudGaurd, enterprises get unified security and the ability to:
Getting hybrid cloud security right takes the right combination of tools and strategy. If you’re interested in learning more about the latest cloud security and what you can do to improve your organization’s security posture, please visit our CloudGuard for private cloud security page or sign up for a demo to see CloudGuard in action for yourself. For a deep dive on how CloudGuard secures both public and private clouds, download the Check Point CloudGuard Adaptive Security for Private and Public Clouds.