Making Hybrid Architectures Work for the Security Industry

By Mats Thulin, Director Core Technologies, Axis Communications and George Moawad, Country Manager for Oceania, Genetec

The security industry is witnessing a gradual but undeniable shift towards cloud-based solutions with the rise of Video Surveillance as a Service (VSaaS) – from Camera to Cloud – highlighting the growing importance of connected devices. As a result of this transition, hybrid solution architectures have emerged as the new standard.

By hosting functionalities where they are most efficient, hybrid architectures enable capabilities to be hosted where they are most efficient, leveraging the strengths of each system instance. This approach introduces an unprecedented level of flexibility, optimising performance and resilience in security solutions.

However, the journey to fully adopting a hybrid approach encompasses a number of challenges but also many opportunities. The security industry must collectively push towards greater collaboration in ecosystems and increased standardisation.

Public Clouds: A Double-Edged Sword

Public clouds offer undeniable advantages, such as removing the need to host servers at the customer site, scalability, and an operational expenditure cost model. These advantages make public clouds an attractive proposition for security providers, facilitating rapid expansion and flexible resource utilisation. Yet, this is not without its pitfalls.

In Australia, where vast distances and remote locations present unique connectivity challenges, these issues are magnified, requiring solutions to ensure uninterrupted security services. These concerns highlight the need for a cautious and strategic approach to leveraging public cloud resources within security solutions.

Private Clouds: Secure but Costly

On the other end of the spectrum, private clouds present a fortress of security and privacy, allowing for customisation, dedicated resources, and predictable fixed costs. For Australian organisations where data privacy laws and regulations demand rigorous compliance, private clouds offer a compelling alternative to public clouds.

However, the luxury of enhanced security and control comes at a price, including higher initial costs, potential scalability limitations, and operational complexities. These factors necessitate a balanced evaluation of investment and long-term scalability.

Hybrid Architectures: The Best of Both Worlds

Hybrid architectures stand at the intersection of public and private clouds, combining the benefits of both public and private clouds. This model offers resilience and adaptability, providing a robust framework for security solutions.

Using a unified physical security platform, organisations can unlock the ability for remote sites to bring hardware into the cloud and make data available in a unified physical security solution within minutes. This enables operators, such as in the education sector, to easily select which capabilities to host on-premises and which can be hosted in the cloud.

Despite the clear advantages of hybrid architectures, their adoption also comes with its own set of challenges, including cybersecurity consistency, interoperability, and increased complexity, which necessitates a more sophisticated management approach. These challenges underscore the importance of a strategic, well-planned implementation to fully leverage the benefits of hybrid clouds.

Meeting Data Sovereignty Regulations

Hybrid architectures will play a pivotal role in helping Australian security organisations meet data sovereignty regulations by providing the flexibility to store data where it is most appropriate, ensuring compliance with these regulations.

Private clouds can be configured to provide enhanced security measures, making them an ideal choice for storing sensitive data. Meanwhile, less sensitive data can be stored in public clouds, which can be scaled up or down based on demand, leading to cost savings. This provides a pathway for Australian organisations to gradually transition to the cloud while maintaining compliance with data sovereignty regulations.

Rather than moving all data to the cloud at once, organisations can move data incrementally, ensuring that each step of the process is in compliance with Australian data sovereignty laws. This approach reduces the risk of non-compliance and allows organisations to leverage the benefits of cloud computing at their own pace.

Making Hybrid Architectures Work

To make hybrid architectures work in the security industry, open collaboration and the standardisation of APIs and metadata are essential. These elements are particularly important in Australia, where the industry is characterised by a diverse range of security providers, from small local businesses to enterprise organisations. Standardisation and collaboration across these varied entities are essential for the seamless integration of hybrid architectures.

However, collaboration is not only essential across the industry but must happen within end customer organisations, requiring close engagements between security and IT teams. A good starting point is to have a ‘Hybrid first’ mindset where infrastructure is built using a hybrid architecture with seamless integration and interoperability across diverse systems and platforms in mind. This partnership should embrace a step-by-step methodology, prioritising cybersecurity, and system hardening of security systems in an early phase. To enable possibilities for creating valuable business insights an early focus on relevant data for the business is crucial.

When evaluating cloud and hybrid solutions it is important to assess the different aspects of the solution and the provider of the services. Areas such as cybersecurity, 24/7 incident support capabilities, resilience of the solution and Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are particularly important.

By championing these principles, the industry can unlock the full potential of hybrid architectures, driving efficiency and innovation.