Make Sure Your Multicloud Deployment Is Secure

Companies using multicloud deployments should prioritize their security to prevent the loss or misuse of data that can lead to severe financial and reputational damage.
January 26, 2022
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A multicloud computing approach involves using multiple cloud computing platforms or providers to run different business operations. For example, a company might use one platform to host productivity tools, and another to create an environment for product development. Businesses that use this method appreciate only paying for the resources they use, rather than overspending on on-premises infrastructure they may never fully utilize. 

The multicloud approach also reduces the hassle of running an on-premises infrastructure, not to mention the additional staff and resources needed to maintain it. Additionally, it offers stronger resilience based on redundant workloads and enhanced services based on the specialization of different platforms for specific uses. This approach also comes with some disadvantages, such as regulatory issues and the potential for disruption in the event of cloud service providers facing weather events, hacking, or other unpredictable situations. 

Perhaps one of the most concerning, though, are the security dangers that come with the use of multiple cloud platforms. Specifically, data may be at risk as it travels between the company and the provider. Also, operators must consider a number of different security configurations. In the sections below, we explain steps you can take to make your multicloud deployments more secure.   

Multicloud Security Risks

Before we dive into steps for increasing multicloud security, let’s examine the specific challenges businesses face. Each cloud provider has its own set of security settings and tools, meaning operators can easily miss some of the requirements when performing a security analysis or make mistakes when adjusting the settings. 

Also, some cloud provider security offerings might not be robust enough to meet company or regulatory guidelines. Additionally, IT professionals are faced with multiple cloud environments in which data encryption and backups occur separately. All of these issues can lead to problems many companies use the cloud to try and solve, including the potential for either internal or external breaches. 

Reexamine Cloud Security Procedures

If you add a multicloud strategy to existing cloud or hybrid architectures, you may be at risk of creating a fragmented security strategy that doesn’t take into account the way all the components work together. When multicloud elements are introduced, consider putting aside existing security practices and reexamining the situation as a whole, with a firm understanding of all cloud environments being used. You should use independent, native-cloud solutions that enable security configuration centralization. 

Another aspect of this process is consolidating cloud security efforts into as few tools as possible. Software as a Service (SaaS) products can help with this process. A recent Forbes Technology Council post advises, “Define and enforce a unified security policy configuration that connects all of the cloud providers your company uses.” 

Automate Security 

Cloud computing enables process automation, and that can include security operations as well. For example, new virtualized machines and containers should be subject to security scans. The Forbes Technology Council post states, “Automation is crucial to a successful multi-cloud security plan. By removing human error from deployment and management, you can significantly reduce your company’s risk.” 

Organizations should create automated security management processes, such as configuration, patching, and audits. The following video discusses cloud security tools.

Use Security Best Practices

Once you have reexamined your security posture taking a multicloud deployment into consideration, and automated as many processes as possible, use the following best practices to ensure the highest level of security. 

  • Consider compliance. In addition to providing a robust platform for running some company operations, cloud environments can help companies comply with the standards and regulations relevant for each industry. 
  • Exercise smart policy management. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) provider phoenixNAP suggests, “Companies should develop a set of security policies to enforce on all cloud environments and simplify security operations.” 
  • Employ data encryption. A strong multicloud security strategy must include the encryption of data both at rest and in transit. 
  • Perform regular backups. Backups are just as important in multicloud environments as they are anywhere else. Use a separate backup for each cloud provider. 
  • Apply the principle of least privilege. It’s not fun to think about, but even your own employees can carry out a data breach. That’s why it’s important that each employee only has access to the environments necessary to perform their roles. 
  • Use tenant isolation. Using this method, operators ensure that each app and each environment run in separate tenants. 
  • Deploy multi-cloud monitoring. Each cloud environment will generate its own events, logs, notifications, and alerts. Set up a way to consolidate them in one location. 

Build in Security

The best way to ensure security is to build it in when creating a multicloud environment. Cloud security provider Aqua Security Software recommends considering the following areas when setting up new platforms. 

  • Authentication and authorization. Find a framework that can support the different authentication models used by various cloud providers, but lets you define accounts, roles, and policies in a centralized manner.
  • Upgrades and patching. Automate software upgrades and patches, ensuring that upgrades are sensitive to the workload, the infrastructure it is currently running on, and its dependencies. 
  • Component hardening. Hardening applications and infrastructure components involves closing unsecured ports, removing unnecessary software, securing APIs and web interfaces, and following the principle of least privilege. 
  • Monitoring and visibility. In a multicloud environment, you must have a tool that supports multiple clouds and enables visibility of the entire environment. 
  • Multicloud storage. Ensure that sensitive data is assigned to the most secure storage resources, distribute data geographically according to compliance obligations, and implement data loss prevention solutions that can identify data loss or exfiltration across multiple clouds. 

Prioritize the Cloud

Companies using multicloud deployments should prioritize their security to prevent the loss or misuse of data that can lead to severe financial and reputational damage as well as major reductions in efficiency, productivity, and customer loyalty. Businesses that are behind on these efforts should start wherever they are. It’s never too late to take steps to avoid these potentially disruptive challenges. 

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