Organizations are rapidly noticing the potential benefits that a multi cloud deployment can bring to the table. With cloud offerings becoming more and more specialized, multi cloud at times becomes a dire need.
While a multi cloud environment brings along a host of advantages, it also accompanies certain challenges. Among those issues, security can perhaps be categorized as the most important one.
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Before we dive into multi cloud security, let’s briefly discuss the advantages of multi cloud deployments.
Key Advantages of the Multi-Cloud
While the decision process towards adopting a multi cloud may vary with each organization, here are some common advantages.
Lower Service Costs
In the multi cloud, you are availing the services of the Cloud Service Provider (CSP) that is the best and most economical for your particular needs. This reduces service costs.
Single cloud environments are a compromise when it comes to some organizational processes. With the multi cloud, you really extract the best functionality from each CSP.
Ease of Use
While a multi cloud may increase architectural complexity, it will deliver the best results in terms of end user experience as they won’t have to adapt to a new ecosystem.
Minimal Vendor Lock-In
When relying on a single cloud provider, vendor lock in acts as a deterrent for organizations to migrate to the cloud. In the multi cloud, the issue of vendor lock-in is non existent.
With the best and most suited tools at the disposal of your workforce, you should see a visible improvement in both employee productivity and satisfaction levels.
What Makes Multi Cloud Security Challenging?
Now that we have listed a few benefits of a multi cloud model, let’s cover a few aspects that make it a challenging task.
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This is the foremost security challenge in a multi cloud environment. Multiple cloud providers (CSP) mean multiple ecosystems. While they may be a very secure platform in individual capacity, plugging security gaps in the multi cloud is very difficult.
Cyber Attack Surface
When you use multiple CSPs for organizational workloads, you are increasing the overall surface area for cyber attacks. This will not only make cyber security challenging, but also raise concerns over non synchronous security protocols across cloud providers.
Data Privacy Concerns
Each CSP has optimized its cloud offering for its own data center infrastructure. While the solution of each CSP would be optimal in isolation, there would be compatibility issues once they are in a multi cloud setting.
Although a multi cloud will be a boon for end users, things would be quite the opposite for IT professionals. You may have to enhance your in house IT team’s capability to configure, integrate and manage a fairly complex multi cloud environment securely.
How to Address Multi Cloud Management Challenges?
In any multi cloud deployment, disparate cloud services would be converging and perhaps even overlapping at times. It’s because the output of one cloud solution may serve as the input for another cloud powered service.
Therefore, the most crucial step towards a secure multi cloud environment is centralization of monitoring tools and solutions. While this may be initially challenging, this measure will go a long way in enhancing the security of your multi cloud infrastructure.
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Let’s cover a few strategies that you can adopt to improve your multi cloud from a cyber security perspective.
Centralize Event Logging
In the multi cloud, each cloud is not only working on its own, but also communicating with other integrated clouds. It is imperative that you centralize the event logging mechanism that is provided by each individual cloud platform.
Deploy a SIEM Platform
Now that you have a vast pool of cloud security data specific to your environment, deploy a Security Information and Event Management or SIEM solution centrally. This SIEM will act as your multi cloud’s security nerve center by giving you a holistic peek into security.
Integrate a CSPM Tool
The level of integration you have achieved in making a viable multi cloud environment will act as the basic building block for your Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) tool. This will be the blueprint around which your multi cloud security protocols will revolve.
By employing a CSPM tool in the multi cloud, you are basically standardizing the security procedures for a complex multi cloud model. This will enable you to determine what’s working as intended and areas that still need attention from a security perspective.
Centralize Vulnerability Scanning
To centralize the highly critical process of vulnerability scanning, you will first need a solution that works across all your constituent cloud services. This way, you will have vulnerability related data from multiple clouds aggregated at a central point.
This will make the otherwise near impossible task of securing each cloud service individually much more manageable. By analyzing aggregated data related to security, your security experts will be able to tweak security protocols without disturbing the equilibrium.
Uniform Endpoint Security Tools
Endpoints are among the most vulnerable segments of your multi cloud environment. To attain the desired outcomes in terms of security, you will have to adopt a uniform solution for endpoint security that supports all your individual cloud infrastructures.
This endpoint security tool, in addition to being centralized, must be based on the zero trust model. Incorporating privileged access to the multi cloud environment will not only increase the complexity, but also open gaps in the multi cloud security posture.
Cloud Workload Protection Platforms (CWPP)
CWPPs are rapidly gaining importance in cloud security in general and multi cloud security in particular. These purpose built security solutions rely on a multi pronged approach to cloud security.
These CWPP bolster your multi cloud security by fully supporting network segmentation, malware protection, intrusion prevention, app assignment, multi factor user authentication and detection of threats at the endpoint tier.
Securing a multi cloud environment is a challenging undertaking that requires constant evolution. This task can be accomplished with great success with thorough planning and use of the right tools for the job.
The apparent longer deployment cycle will ultimately pay dividends over the long term by reducing or eliminating cyber security breaches altogether. If organizations can attain a secure multi cloud, higher productivity and efficiency awaits them.