Virtually all major enterprises made a partial or full shift to the cloud over the past decade, and now most are looking toward a multicloud setup. According to Flexera’s state of the cloud report from 2020, 93% of enterprises have a multicloud strategy and 87% have a hybrid cloud strategy in development.
A multicloud strategy offers several benefits to enterprises, allowing them to move resources based on storage optimization, security needs, and specialized options like large data transfer and integrated machine learning capabilities. But working with a combination of public and private clouds from different providers also requires additional standardization and management steps, in order to save time and financial resources. Enterprises should focus their energy on security management in particular, learning the steps and best practices to optimally manage security across multicloud environments.
Optimized Security for MultiCloud Environments
- Automate Security Tasks
- Develop a Storage Distribution Plan
- Set Up Regular Compliance Audits and Alerts
- Standardize Security Policies Across Clouds
- Segment Your Workloads
When your network administrators are working across several cloud environments, applications, and databases, they’re bound to make the occasional error in configuration, security management, or system upgrades. So what’s one of the best steps an enterprise can take to lessen human error and make sure security best practices are followed evenly across cloud environments? Mixing in thoughtful automation takes away mundane tasks from the skilled workforce, freeing up their time to focus on strategic efforts, but also making it easier to systematize equal security solutions across all clouds. Several security tasks can be automated through AI/ML or network security software that focuses on these key areas:
- Security auditing
- Automated patching
- Software and hardware upgrade alerts
- Network monitoring alerts
- Perimeter security
Consider an AIOps or DevOps approach for your security. Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other software development can eliminate redundant tools for systems operations and ensure that security best practices are reviewed and solidified by the team’s experts before they’re applied across the multicloud.
Also Read: The Future of Network Management with AIOps
Private clouds often have the strongest storage scalability, optional privacy settings, and other customization options, but those functionalities come at a higher base rate and management fee. Public clouds don’t offer as much in the way of customization or advanced security features, but their simple, free features are a good fit for many storage use cases.
When you’re setting up your multicloud environment, it’s important to take a look at the storage capabilities on each of your clouds and develop a storage distribution plan. Which workloads and databases require a cloud with more scalability or specialized storage features? Which tools will perform optimally on a free, public cloud solution? Ask yourself these questions in order to save time and space in the cloud.
Most public and private clouds have some built-in compliance and security alert features, but it’s a good idea to move beyond the basics and consider what additional features you need to protect your multicloud from a breach.
- Does your industry have specific data management rules where your cloud setups must comply, such as HIPAA, SOX, or GLBA? Speak with legal or regulatory experts if you require more information about how to technically comply with consumer and industry regulations.
- Develop a plan and regularly perform security audits to check on the health, user activity, and upgrade needs across your cloud environments. This will ensure that your systems and your users are following security best practices, regardless of which cloud or workload they use most frequently.
- Tweak and standardize your compliance and security approaches over time. To monitor how your different clouds are complying with regulatory requirements and internal security standards, you can launch a monitoring tool that alerts network administrators when one or several clouds are operating outside of policy.
You can specify your security policies based on unique workloads and application use cases, but since many workloads are operational on more than one cloud, their security requirements should be consistent regardless of which cloud(s) they’re being used on.
At the technical level, make sure that you apply the same network security model to that workload in each of its cloud iterations. If your organization begins working with a new cloud, consider checking which workloads will be used on it and review how they’re currently being used in other locations.
At a user level, blend user training and responsibility with limited user access through a zero trust framework. Train users on important security protocols, and require all users to read and sign a security policy.
Regardless of the workload use case, enterprises should incorporate identity and access management (IAM) across all clouds. Some common solutions for user-level security include multi-factor authentication (MFA) and strict, rotating password requirements.
When hundreds or thousands of workloads run on a cloud or several interconnected clouds, all workloads and data become vulnerable during a security breach. Workload segmentation is important to multicloud security, because even if an attacker finds an entry point into your cloud, the additional security controls on workloads severely limit their lateral movement into other clouds. Most importantly, do not give individual clouds unlimited access permissions to another cloud, especially without proper segmentation, as those security permissions can be difficult to maintain and lead to widespread damages in a breach situation.