Ever since the adage “identities are the new perimeter” came into being, companies have started to expand their capabilities and operations beyond on-premises, office-based infrastructure. The adoption of cloud-native technologies means that organizations are looking to scale up their conventional workflows without having to invest time and resources on setting up physical data centers and other hardware infrastructure.

 However, the transition from on-premises to cloud can be done in phases, as the process must ensure that the existing on-premises workloads are fully optimized for cloud ecosystems. In cases where organizations shift from on-premises to cloud, Hybrid IT acts as a viable transitional environment that can accommodate workloads that are compatible in both environments.

What is a hybrid IT infrastructure? 

 Hybrid IT refers to a digital environment that consists of on-premises infrastructure, such as directory services like Active Directory and LDAP, and cloud-based applications and systems, such as Azure AD. During its digital transformation journey, an organization may opt for a hybrid IT environment to avail benefits such as:

  • Ease of performing data classification and workload placements.

  • Reduction of overhead costs incurred by large-scale data migration.

  • Enhanced data privacy and encryption controls.

  • Educating employees on cloud-based workflows before completely shifting to a cloud-based architecture.

Security challenges of hybrid IT infrastructure 

As much as a hybrid IT infrastructure provides benefits, it comes with an equal share of security and capability gaps. Being a composite environment, hybrid IT faces an inherent lack of unification that gives rise to challenges, including:

Repetition of processes: When administrators are required to manage users operating across multiple environments, it can lead to redundancy in terms of employee efforts. For instance, an admin may have to create user accounts across the on-premises AD, Azure AD, Google Workspace, and Microsoft 365 environments, which risks becoming cumbersome and even erroneous.

Duplicated credentials: As a spill-over effect of the repetitive processes performed within hybrid IT environments, users tend to use the same set of credentials for multiple on-premises and cloud apps within their hybrid organization. Duplicated credentials are the gateway to brute force attacks.

Low visibility: With multiple sources of data at hand, IT and SOC teams have to switch between multiple applications and silos to identify anomalous events and audit user activity. This requires sifting through copious amounts of data manually, affecting the mean time to detect (MTTD) and allowing more time for bad actors during a cyberattack.

Erroneous compliance reporting: When it comes to the documentation of compliance audits, it is vital fororganizations to implement cross-platform monitoring and reporting capabilities. Without these functionalities, compliance reporting will not only be a punishing process, but will also be at risk of inaccuracies.

Siloed backup and recovery: Hybrid IT architectures cannot afford to have multiple data and process backup silos. For backup and recovery plans to be efficient, it is imperative for organizations to have a unified repository of assets that are consolidated from multiple environments.

How to mitigate hybrid IT’s pain points 

For organizations to overcome the security gaps and operational friction presented by hybrid IT infrastructure, it is essential to centralize and orchestrate key identity and access management (IAM) capabilities. This provides organizations a single-window experience that reduces their redundant and error-prone efforts.

Read our free e-book to learn how ManageEngine unifies core IAM functions and acts as a single pane of glass for IT administrative and security teams to ensure their efficient functioning.