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The Realities of Hybrid Computing Today & How to Stay Secure

As we hurtle into the future, it often seems that talk in the tech media revolves around cloud computing. But the reality for many companies, especially larger enterprises, is that the transition to the cloud is going to take time. In many cases, today’s environments are more of a hybrid — with some assets residing in the cloud, while others are firmly on-premise, and still more are in a state of transition. Regardless of where your organization is on this continuum, security needs to go right along with it.

The good news is that there’s no need to sacrifice security — or visibility — because some or all of your resources remain on-prem. To shed some light on the realities of securing hybrid environments, I’ll cover the basics of hybrid security in this post and leave you with a few takeaways you can use to make your team run more smoothly regardless of your current mix.

Linux vs. Windows

Linux machines play well in the cloud, and many young organizations, including those that rely on DevOps and continuous integration practices, naturally prefer Linux. But Windows is still the default at many organizations.

While the introduction of Azure is making it easier for Windows-centric organizations to transition traditional infrastructure like Exchange and Sharepoint servers to the cloud, at many enterprises it’s still a mix: some systems and data reside on-premise, while others have migrated to the cloud. It’s this complex “hybrid” situation that can make security seem confusing.

After all, cloud environments provide a lot more visibility and flexibility from a technical security perspective. How can you match that with on-prem? How can you gain consistency when you’re working with a mix of environments? As far as we’re concerned, it doesn’t matter what operating system you’re running. You still need to have security and peace of mind. If hybrid is your reality today, strong security is still well within reach.

Increased Attack Surface, Increase Security Protection

The one thing that really is different with Windows is that it’s a bigger target for attacks because there are more well-publicized vulnerabilities and while patches are available, they are often not applied. But that doesn’t mean anyone is going to just rip and replace their operating systems.

In fact, Threat Stack gives you a way to monitor these security threats in real time, baselining what is normal for your system so that anomalies rise to the surface fast. The breadth and depth of detail provided guarantee the deep visibility that all companies need to remain secure and compliant as they grow. That way, you get all the visibility and notifications you need to put a stop to any attack, regardless of whether your attack surface is larger or smaller, or whether your systems are in the cloud, on-prem, or both.

Common Ground: Visibility

You need visibility, regardless of where your data resides. Visibility is the only way to make sure you know when a security event takes place so you can remediate it as quickly as possible.

We built Threat Stack to offer the elusive capability that every security team wants: more visibility. And our platform is built such that it doesn’t really matter if you’re all-cloud, all-on-prem, or hybrid. Our platform gathers security data at the kernel level (the deepest source of insights). So while data may be collected in a slightly different way for on-premise instances (requiring different packaging, monitoring, and filtering operations), the end result is the same: unprecedented visibility into your systems.

You can get the same level of visibility into your Windows environment that you can achieve with Linux. Even better, you’re not going to see issues with performance (something many enterprises rightly worry about after having experienced antivirus and other security “solutions” that often lead to major slowdowns).

Threat Stack’s New Windows Agent

We recently launched a Windows agent that enables organizations running on-prem or hybrid environments to reap all the benefits of Threat Stack’s single pane-of-glass visibility into security activity.

With continuous security monitoring, the goal should always be to baseline your environment. If you know what is normal for your systems, then you also know what is abnormal and can do something about it. That’s how we built Threat Stack, and our new Windows agent makes that goal a reality for all.

The Threat Stack Windows agent:

  • Has been specifically designed from the ground up for cloud environments
  • Is a comprehensive host IDS solution that includes process executions, user activity, and Windows security events
  • Supports compliance needs across Windows environments

Final Words . . .

Today’s companies work across a range of environments. Regardless of your organization’s disposition, Threat Stack’s Cloud Security Platform® enables you to use a single platform for continuous monitoring and deep insights in Linux, Windows, and hybrid environments.