69% of enterprises are going to use a multi-cloud strategy by the year 2019, according to 451 Research. Still, few of them are aware of multi-cloud potential risks and ways to prevent them. In this article, you will learn what is multi-cloud and how to secure your business when working with multiple cloud providers.
What is Multi-Cloud?
Multi-cloud is the usage of many cloud computing services at the same time, often from various providers. While multi-cloud and hybrid cloud seem alike, there is a huge difference between them. Unlike in a hybrid cloud model, where public and private cloud environments are mixed and work together, in multi-cloud each cloud has its own task. Thus, all processes happen inside the environments. Companies choose a multi-cloud strategy for various reasons – to minimize potential risks, achieve higher performance or lower costs, and some of them want to benefit from the unique features of different clouds.
Either way, the fact that cloud computing changes business can’t be denied. It is a flexible, cost-effective and convenient tool. According to an Oracle study, companies of all major industries will migrate to the cloud environment massively by 2020.
As the multi-cloud strategy becomes widely used, it brings significant security risks to companies. So, anyone who decides to opt for cloud development should implement a security & risk-preventive strategy. By doing so, companies can avoid losing precious revenue & data. While traditional strategies don’t work here, business owners should apply a multi-layered approach to solving this issue. Down below are presented the key measures companies could take:
- Ensure complete visibility into the network & endpoints when adopting a multi-cloud strategy:
A large amount of distributed endpoint devices make visibility a real challenge. It is nearly impossible to monitor the whole multi-cloud at the same time. Meanwhile, cyber threats evolve constantly, and they can happen to several clouds at the same moment. Thus, you should be able to detect these issues and resolve them as fast as possible.Choosing SIEM solutions are a great starting point for your risk mitigation strategy. SIEM is a Security Information and Event Management software, which monitors, collects and reports on log & event data in real time. These effective tools include firewalls, tools for preventing intrusion & threats, allowing you to manage it all in one place.
Moreover, employees often use different devices to access business data remotely, which increases their vulnerability level significantly. To avoid “blind spots”, companies might use Endpoint Detection and Response tools (EDR). Using these solutions, you can constantly monitor everything happening on the endpoint devices. This, in turn, helps to resolve the emerging issues in real time. Make sure that these tools support all types of platforms your end users prefer to use.
- Secure your apps/data hosted in the multi-cloud:
Cloud-hosted apps often become the number one target for cybercriminals. That’s why these applications should have a strong control & threat protection system to find all the weak points before hackers use them. To do this, consider using one SSO (single sign-on) in your agency. When each cloud service has its own user account, there are many sets of credentials. All of them can be easily exposed. By adopting the SSO strategy, you reduce the total number of credentials which reduces greatly the risk of exploited data.Another useful type of software is the backup solutions such as CodeGuard, BackupBuddy and VaultPress. These systems offer regular backups and restorations of your website to avoid possible downtimes. To ensure all the valuable info is safe, you can choose a reliable Cloud Hosting platform as a working basis.
- Apply automation to secure your multi-cloud strategy:
To take advantage of the flexibility that multi-cloud computing offers, agencies should set the right automation strategy. In particular, they could automate repetitive security actions and develop a system responding to possible attacks. The newly-emerging automation tools allow admins to move workloads between the clouds while managing the environment more effectively. A great range of processing actions provides for the in-depth analytics at each risk level. Consider automating threat event processing to minimize the risk of human error.
- Ensure proper management of your multi-cloud:
As the multi-cloud network grows, the risk of poor management also increases. Thus, managers should create a centralized control system to ensure data security across various cloud environments. Consider using specific software to create a centralized management system with an option to monitor all subsystems in one place. Workloads should move effectively across the whole cloud infrastructure.Moreover, you should limit the network access, by allowing only authorized users to approach your applications or data. Each user should be able to access the amount of data necessary to accomplish his/her tasks, through a multi-factor authentication system. Avoid opening access to your valuable/sensitive data for all users.
- Choose cloud vendors carefully and respect the shared responsibility model:
Last but not least, you should understand that providers are responsible only for the cloud security itself. Thus, only you can protect the data & apps placed IN the cloud. The way how you use a multi-cloud network and how you secure it depends on you.Furthermore, not all cloud types are alike. For example, public clouds are more subjective to potential threats than the private ones. So, choose the type which fits your workload & needs. Now, here’s how to choose a good cloud service provider. Check their data security policies, as they should be aimed at solving risks and similar to your own safety policies. Make sure your data will be encrypted before even uploading it. Ask him security questions about your specific industry & case. The main goal is to get a clear understanding of security measures & mechanisms that each provider offers to protect your data.
In addition, make sure to provide a high level of security on a regular basis. Since your network structure will know various transformations during the work, you should regularly update your security techniques. For this purpose, get tech experts to help you by making the in-depth audit of your current multi-cloud strategy & network.
The key to a zero-risk multi-cloud strategy:
To make your multi-cloud strategy a completely risk-free process, follow three simple steps: plan, prepare, adopt. By adopting a multi-layered approach to security on each of these stages, you can protect even the most complex software solutions.
With the help of several techniques listed above, business owners can use multi-cloud strategy to their benefit only. With its help, they can achieve better customer service, business efficiency and, most importantly, higher profits.