Leveraging Multi-Cloud Technology for Stronger Security
Multiple cloud solutions can serve you effectively, but only if you fully understand their functions and integrate them properly. You are responsible for the security of your data, so you should take great care in blending disparate components into a smoothly performing whole. To be in full control of your data and your system, you must know where all your data is, how it is protected, and how to access it.
As cloud technology becomes increasingly complex, most organizations now use several cloud solutions. Multi-cloud operations were proliferating well before Covid 19 came on the scene, and that trend has accelerated during the pandemic. It is estimated that roughly 90% of organizations now use multiple clouds, but not always in the most effective way.
The challenge is to use all your cloud products to improve your security posture, not endanger it.
Integrating multiple clouds is a complicated task since cloud solutions are quite different from one another. Each has its strengths, capabilities, and functions. Many offer protection against overload as well as data loss, some have features specifically designed for certain tasks and some replicate the functions of others to ensure continuity if one or more clouds fail.
This is why, when it comes to multi-cloud security, careful allocation of your data to the most suitable locations is critical. You do not want to put all your eggs in one basket.
Public clouds are accessed via the internet, and private clouds exist within discrete, enclosed networks. Private options deliver stronger security than public ones, which in many cases offer nothing more than offsite storage.
High-end private clouds provide better security, tighter control, and more nimble data availability than public options. They also deliver strong disaster recovery functionality, along with expert guidance, emergency hosting, and other valuable services.
Hybrid clouds combine elements of both public and private offerings.
Top cloud vendors provide expert assistance in integrating their products with other clouds, but it is up to the user to oversee the process. This includes authentications and credentialing, device evaluation, encryption, and malware detection.
New features are constantly being introduced by cloud vendors, along with additional connections to other system components. These new functions can lead to security challenges, from specialized, targeted malware attacks to new types of data breaches.
Secure and complete backup is more important than ever. The multi-cloud environment presents countless new opportunities for malware intrusions, compliance violations, and data loss. Each new product component must be meticulously integrated into the backup process.
New and unexpected regulatory risks are also in the mix. Do not doubt that cybercriminals are aware of the opportunities for mischief when changes in regulations come along.
The proliferation of SaaS (software as a service) apps has added to security concerns. The fact that these apps are centrally hosted is often a control challenge. In addition, the number of SaaS items in an installation can be staggering, so making sure each is secure is likely to be a chore.
Solid multi-cloud security requires an understanding of both your present setup and what you want it to be.
- Make knowledge of your multi-cloud setup a central goal of your training program. Your people are your first line of defense against intrusions of every kind, and since the complexity of cloud interactions presents continuing threats, your people should be aware of the full spectrum of potential problems. They should know what to do and when to do it if challenges arise.
- With multiple clouds in your ecosystem, you need to document the whereabouts of all your data and how it is accessed.
- Once those locations are documented, consider how your data is currently organized and how it will serve your future needs.
- Do you have a formal security plan in place? If so, does it cover all your current tools, solutions, and processes?
- Why and how was each component chosen originally?
- Do those same requirements still apply?
- Does your plan take into account the different functions and characteristics of each cloud? Are appropriate security controls in place for everyone?
- Be sure you have sufficient backup capabilities. Backup is an important differentiator in evaluating cloud offerings.
- Understand the types of backup, such as “incremental forever” vs “multiple versions” or “system-level” vs “file-level.”
- Consider all platforms and applications that you use now or may in the future. Don’t forget to take note of all your SaaS apps.
- Be sure that data is encrypted, not only before it leaves your local infrastructure but also while in transit.
- Find out about the data centers where your information is stored.
Trust no person or entity without verification. The zero-trust concept supports the principle that where security is concerned, trusting anyone outside the organization is a major mistake. In these cases, every potentially dangerous contact and connection should be verified before allowing access. Verification covers every service, platform, software package, tool, SaaS app, and provider.
Sophisticated data encryption, which disguises data with almost endless variety, supports the verification process. It also protects access keys. Need-to-know priorities for your staff are required to fend off potential information leaks.
Staffing levels should be adequate for handling each cloud’s security requirements, and all hands should be thoroughly trained.
Regularly scheduled testing is absolutely imperative and is solely your responsibility. In addition, continual monitoring is a necessity, but it does not replace thorough scheduled tests. The object of a solid testing program is not only to identify problems but also to serve as an ongoing source of knowledge about your system. Each test should be documented in detail and kept on hand.