Top 3 Security Factors to Take into Consideration in a Multi-Cloud World

The cloud is here, and as enterprise cloud strategies continue to mature, we’re starting to see them take more of a multi-cloud approach, where they can capture some parts of what they need from one cloud provider and other parts of it from another, while also keeping more sensitive data on premise.

With a multi-cloud strategy, businesses are finding that they can gain scalability, resiliency, and significant economic savings. However, this approach requires businesses to transition their architecture to a much more complex and decentralized model, which makes managing the security of the entire environment extremely challenging.

Let’s review the new factors businesses must take into consideration as they develop security strategies in a multi-cloud world.

 Consideration #1: The Multiplicity of Environments You Need to Protect

Leveraging a multi-cloud environment means a far more fragmented architecture. For example, a business could tap a number of different cloud providers such as Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform, several SaaS platforms—including Salesforce and Microsoft Office—as well as their own proprietary data centers for extra sensitive data storage.

While this strategy provides businesses with an amazing capability to build on top of, it requires maintaining ongoing, high-level security for all applications used in the business, which is especially difficult due to a lack of visibility across a much wider attack surface. As such, businesses will need to identify what components their new environment consists of and make sure that they deploy a security strategy that mirrors the dynamic and distributed nature of this infrastructure.

Consideration #2: The Perimeter is Obsolete

In the past, enterprises have prioritized strong perimeter defenses for their on-premise architectures and could expect that the applications and workloads behind them would be secure. But in a multi-cloud environment where data is distributed across a larger landscape, much of the visibility and control that they were used to is lost. There is no perimeter in the cloud. Therefore, businesses are left to assume that all of their data can be now be accessed by unwanted parties.

Multi-cloud environments require businesses to focus on the fundamentals of keeping all of their data safe, instead of just stopping hackers, malware and other sophisticated attacks at the perimeter.

Consideration #3: Interoperability Between Tools Offered By Cloud Providers Doesn’t Exist

Since a multi-cloud environment is a combination of public clouds, private cloud, and on-premise environments, the data within each of these architectures needs to be able to communicate with each other to deliver services across the entire enterprise and provide true value. While IT teams do the challenging work around shared processes, APIs, containers and data models to enable this communication, the security piece is not quite there yet.

The major hyperscale cloud platforms all invest heavily in security, but data-in-transit over the public internet can still be intercepted. As soon as any enterprise data touches the internet, it’s fundamentally at risk—whether from distributed denial of service attacks, malware infections or other threats. With enterprise IT teams often short of time, money and specialist skills, network vulnerabilities can creep in all too easily—whether intentionally or accidentally. Businesses need to ensure that all of their data is protected, regardless of where it is stored and what other data it is communicating with.

All Things Considered

As leveraging a multi-cloud environment becomes increasingly critical to business performance, enterprises cannot undermine the protection of their assets being stored within it. Data-centric security practices must be taken into consideration at the onset of their environment’s progression.

In addition to ensuring that they have private and secure connections to the various cloud platforms that they’re leveraging, securing encryption keys will become a necessary layer of added security. With a variety of key management options—hardware security models (HSMs) on-premise, multiple HSMs located in cloud provider data centres, or individual HSMs for each of the cloud providers—enterprises can work with a managed service that provides them with the perfect solution for key encryption management to ensure their entire multi-cloud environment is protected at the highest level of security.


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