Cloud computing has steadily evolved over the past two decades playing a crucial role in scaling enterprise businesses. Cloud-first strategies are believed to be the keystone in driving speed, agility, innovation, optimizing costs and streaming operations on the cloud.
With cloud technology accelerating the IT sector, enterprises are adopting multi-cloud models furthermore for utilizing a combination of on-prem, private and public clouds to build, deploy, access and operate with more prominence. In such a scenario, it is vital to deploy a robust multi-cloud security strategy imperatively. The perception is not just about immediate benefits and cost optimization anymore but more about ensuring scalability, business continuity, resilience and reduced latency.
Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) platforms uses multi-cloud strategies for many public clouds where operational practices and applications that work consistently across multiple domains are conjectured from the variance in cloud providers. As a result, devising a multi-cloud plan enable enterprises to leverage various cloud platforms, including public and private cloud to run their workloads.
Enterprises often use multiple cloud service providers to access and use the features that are needed at different price points that fit their budget. Let us look at today’s blog post to understand multi-cloud security concepts, their benefits, barriers, and best practices.
“Multi-cloud security” is a set of solutions that aid in protecting business resources, which include enterprise as well as customer assets. A multi-cloud security strategy enables businesses to deploy workloads across multiple cloud platforms to safeguard enterprise applications, data and a wide range of virtual assets. Handling a multi-cloud environment is challenging and teams have to invest in and utilize extensive tools, systems and techniques to ensure security all through the cloud infrastructure. These high levels of security allow enterprises to appropriately monitor and maintain the multi-cloud security architecture at the chance of not having to expose their data and assets.
Multi-cloud security provides far more flexibility than working with a single cloud platform and helps businesses better manage their costs, avoid vendor lock-ins, and improve resilience. However, with multi-cloud deployments, there are increased risks of cyber-attacks, potential breaches and vulnerabilities raising questions about the need for strengthened cloud security measures. Multi-cloud security compels the need for a comprehensive strategy that would address the multiple security threats and help establish uniform security policies over such heterogeneous environments.
5 Must-Have Security Considerations for Multicloud Environments
When designing a multi-cloud architecture, the following considerations can help protect your infrastructure and workloads on the cloud –
- Authentication and Authorization – Find a framework that allows you to centrally define accounts, roles, and policies while supporting different authentication models from different cloud providers. Authentication and authorization must be decoupled from any specific cloud service or provider.
- Upgrades and Patches – Vulnerabilities and fixes can vary from one cloud provider to another, even if using the same type of infrastructure or workload. Running automated software upgrades and patches, ensuring upgrades are sensitive to workloads, the current infrastructure and their dependencies are the key to increased security.
- Hardening Components – Application and infrastructure components should be hardened as per the relevant security best practices. This involves increasing the security posture of all infra components including locking unprotected ports, removing nonessential software, securing APIs, web interfaces and devices as well as following the principle of least privilege for user and services access.
- Monitoring and Visibility – If working on a single cloud, you can take advantage of the basic security tools offered by the specific cloud provider. However, multi-cloud environments require tools that support multiple cloud setups and provide visibility across all the multi-environments. A holistic view of systems in a multi-cloud is essential to detect, investigate, and respond to cyber threats.
- Multi-cloud storage – Classify data stored in multi-cloud to ensure sensitive data is allocated to the most secure storage resources. Plan the geographic distribution of your data according to compliance mandates and commitments. Implement a data loss prevention (DLP) system that can detect data loss or exfiltration across multiple clouds.
Best Practices of Multi-Cloud Security Enhancements
Multi-cloud security best practices help establish the right security framework to protect your business and enable it to reach its full potential –
- Synchronize Policies
Each cloud provider will have different policies and configurations. Automated tools can be used to synchronize these policies and configurations when building a multi-cloud setup. Synchronizing policies would mean these tools should help create security policies based on generic guidelines that can be applied across multiple clouds environment.
- Customize Security Policies for Services
In a multi-cloud environment, numerous workloads and applications have their security stature and policies defined. These policies must be based on the predetermined intent and use of the workloads even if it is crucial to business or pertains to the sensitivity of data or has compliance obligations.
- Automate Security Processes
Establish automated security measures to ensure the threat of manual/human errors is significantly reduced and security becomes an ongoing task. Security processes such as threat event monitoring and identification, risk mitigation, and endpoint protection should be fully automated to ensure continuous security.
- Use Opensource Platforms
Faster time to market, reliability, improved security and cost efficiency are the key reasons for enterprises adopting the cloud-native approach. Using an open-source container orchestration platform such as Kubernetes is an apt way to minimize the complexity of cloud-native integration. An open-source platform not only facilitates centralizing security configuration but also minimizes the need to manage multiple security options across platforms.
- Implement Multi-cloud Management Solutions
Multi-cloud management platforms provide a set of tools and techniques that enable organizations to monitor, manage, deploy and automate workloads as well as secure applications across the multi-cloud effectively and seamlessly. Multi-cloud strategies and solutions enable centralized management by integrating with other tools and open-source platforms from a single interface. Containers and Kubernetes are key technologies in supporting multi-cloud management.
- Enable Single pane of glass view
Integrate data or interfaces across multiple different sources to keep track of your infrastructure, networks, services, data and apps on the multi-cloud for a consolidated view. Additionally set up automated alerts and triggers to implement remediation with zero or minimal human intervention along with continuous monitoring techniques.
- Multi-cloud Compliance
Each cloud platform has a unique set of compliance features and certifications. In addition, there may be different workloads with different compliance liabilities running on each cloud. Employ an automated platform-based solution to evaluate compliance across clouds, report violations, and propose suitable recommendations.
It is vital for enterprises to first identify their needs, align business objectives with cloud strategies and understand what factors are driving them to multi-cloud adoptions. Moreover, managing and operating in a multi-cloud environment is complex and instigates various security concerns. A dynamic cloud environment requires a robust security solution. However, deciding which cloud security solution is right for your multi-cloud setup and how to keep it optimized is the key to a strengthened security posture on the cloud.
Enterprises can leverage security-oriented capabilities and best practices from autonomous cloud governance platforms like CloudEnsure. It ensures apt security management, helps proactively monitor and optimize cloud infra and workloads and enables compliance management, threat detection and recommendations with 1500+ checks across multi-cloud environments. It is therefore evident that security, compliance and governance as a whole are not a one-time activity and needs to be continuously reviewed and updated to keep up with the changing needs of technology and business.