Edge vs Hybrid Data Center

Hybrid data centers and edge computing are often both comprised of a combination of on-prem and cloud-based IT infrastructure. However, they use this infrastructure in different ways and to accomplish different purposes.

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What is a Hybrid Data Center?

Cloud computing provides an organization with numerous benefits, including increased infrastructure flexibility and scalability. However, cloud-based environments may not be the best fit for some of an organization’s data and applications due to security and regulatory concerns or other factors.

A hybrid data center combines both cloud-based and on-prem infrastructure within a single environment. In a hybrid data center, data and applications can be shared freely between all environments based on business needs. This enables an organization to take full advantage of the benefits of both on-prem and cloud-based environments

What is Edge Computing?

As organizations become more distributed, traditional centralized IT infrastructure becomes less suited to meeting business needs. Internet of Things (IoT) devices, SaaS applications, and other systems may be sensitive to network latency and bandwidth-limited, so sending data to the corporate network or cloud-based servers may not be feasible.

Edge computing moves processing power to the network edge, near the devices that will be using it. For example, an IoT device may have its data undergo initial processing at an edge-based system to enable rapid decision-making and to determine whether the data should be sent on to a centralized server for additional analysis.

Edge Computing vs Hybrid Data Center

At a high level, edge computing and hybrid data centers appear similar due to their mixes of on-prem and cloud-based infrastructure. However, they differ in a few key ways, including:

  • Intent: Edge computing and hybrid data centers differ in the intent of the distributed infrastructure. Edge computing is intended to reduce the volume of data being sent to a cloud environment for processing, which can reduce bandwidth requirements and traffic latency. Hybrid data centers locate data or applications on-prem or in the cloud based on business needs, such as keeping sensitive data or functionality on-prem for improved security while moving other applications to the cloud to take advantage of its greater scalability.
  • Scope: While both edge computing and a hybrid data center use computational power located on-prem, the scope of this on-prem deployment may differ. Edge computing is designed to perform preprocessing before data might be sent on to cloud-based infrastructure, so its amount of processing power can vary. In contrast, a hybrid data center has a fully functional data center on-prem and one in the cloud, and these two data centers are linked together and share data and applications between them.
  • Division of Labor: Edge computing is typically designed to be a preprocessor before data is sent on to the cloud environment, so a single IoT system should expect to be supported by both environments. In a hybrid cloud data center, data and applications are shared between the two environments, but some data storage or applications may be located exclusively in one or the other.

Hybrid Data Center Security

For organizations looking to deploy a hybrid cloud environment, securing this infrastructure requires solutions that offer the following capabilities:

  • Threat Prevention: Hybrid data centers include both on-prem and cloud-based data centers, which can be exposed to a wide range of cyber threats. Minimizing the threat to the organization requires hybrid data center security solutions to incorporate threat prevention capabilities that block attacks before they reach critical data or systems.
  • Network Segmentation: Hybrid data centers may sprawl across on-prem infrastructure and multiple cloud environments. Network segmentation and isolation are crucial to preventing lateral movement of a threat that gains access to one part of an organization’s environment.
  • Automated Management: A hybrid data center creates a large, complex environment for IT and security personnel to configure, manage, and secure. Automated management helps IT and security teams scale to fulfill their expanding responsibilities.
  • Scalable Security: One of the main selling points of cloud-based infrastructure is that it can scale to meet an organization’s business needs. Hybrid data center security must also embrace cloud scalability to ensure that security does not hinder data center performance or availability.
  • Remote Connectivity: With the growth of the distributed enterprise, remote users and sites require secure connectivity to corporate applications hosted both on-premises and in the cloud.
  • Unified Security Management: Security policies and controls specific to each environment within a hybrid data center creates complexity and visibility and security gaps. Hybrid data center security requires consistent, unified security policies for all of an organization’s IT infrastructure.

Edge Security

While edge computing introduces new security and privacy challenges, it creates potential opportunities as well. By deploying security functionality at the network edge, an organization can achieve significant security benefits.

  • Edge-Based Threat Detection: With edge-based security, threat detection and prevention happens at the entry point to the network. This minimizes the probability of a successful cyber attack and the potential impact it has to the network.
  • Improved Network Efficiency: Traditional perimeter-based security models force traffic to be backhauled through the headquarters network for inspection. With edge-based security, security inspection is performed at the network edge, reducing the network traffic across the WAN.

Secure the Hybrid Data Center with Check Point

As organizations take advantage of the benefits of hybrid data centers, they also need to be cognizant of the associated security risks. To learn more about your hybrid data security risks, take this free five-minute assessment.

Check Point offers data center security solutions that enable organizations to meet the security needs of their hybrid data centers. To learn more about achieving  Hybrid Data Center security with Check Point, check out this IDC whitepaper.

Secure the Edge with Check Point

Check Point also offers edge security solutions for IoT, including security for the IoT device. To learn more about IoT device security, check out this whitepaper. You’re also welcome to request a demo of IoT device security to see its capabilities for yourself. Also, get a free  IoT device firmware assessment.

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