What is Multi-Cloud Security & How to Implement it?

With the advent of cloud computing, there’s been a significant change in the way enterprises deliver IT services. Cloud computing has broken down traditional barriers to enter the market, enabled software testing services accelerated, and provided low-cost infrastructure resources.

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However, this same elasticity that makes it easy for developers to spin up resources in just minutes can also be a nightmare for security professionals. To protect the organization from unknown threats and vulnerabilities, it is important to implement a Multi-Cloud Security strategy. This paper explains what a multi-cloud security solution is and how enterprises can benefit from it.

Why is Multi-Cloud Security Important?

Many organizations are moving their infrastructure to different cloud providers. This move provides them with the ability to reduce costs, improve efficiency, and scale on demand. But this also brings the challenge of ensuring the same level of security as before, especially for those concerned about data privacy.

The Security issues surrounding Multi-Cloud aren’t new, but they are unique.

Multi-Cloud Security is not just about security products, but also about how they work together to provide better security posture. Any organization that wants to protect itself against cloud-specific issues will be interested in Multi-Cloud Security.

Multi-Cloud Security is an umbrella term for policies and procedures put into place by cloud service providers designed to ensure that an organization’s data is protected, even if it’s stored in a public cloud.

Benefits of Multi-Cloud Security

The security function organizations are putting into place has become increasingly complex, often requiring multiple platforms to deal with threats and attacks. As the threats have evolved, so too must the security tools involved.

Typically, tools from different vendors are ‘bolted’ together, leading to a potential lack of integration, data duplication, and increased costs.

This often leads to the use of popular security tools that have been integrated into a cloud service provider’s management suite or popular open-source security projects that have been commoditized. Examples include Amazon CloudWatch Logs and ElasticSearch.

However, security tools integrated into cloud management suites can be limiting, and open source projects might not provide the full features required for an enterprise-class setup. This often leads to a need for multi-cloud security tools or services that work together seamlessly, regardless of where data lives.

10 Steps To Implement Multi-cloud Security

When it comes to cloud security, there are many considerations for organizations deploying applications across multiple public clouds.

Here are 10 steps you can take to ensure your organization is on the right track for multi-cloud security

  1. Build security into your app

Developers must secure their apps from end-to-end — or more precisely, from the moment an application is conceived through its implementation and ongoing maintenance. For example, if your cloud application includes authentication with OpenID or OAuth, make sure to implement it securely

  1. Audit your cloud permissions

Organizations need to conduct a security review of all their public cloud services — mapping out what services they are using, what permissions they are required to have, and if the services are being used by any other applications or people

  1. Encrypt cloud data at rest

Understand your options for encrypting data at rest in the various public clouds you use. Using HTTPS is a good start, but it’s not enough.  SSH can also be used to encrypt network data in transit and at rest

  1. Encrypt data in transit

Do you know how your application sends and receives data from the various public clouds you use? If not, then you need to find out right away — especially if these cloud services are sending sensitive information or sharing it with third parties.

  1. Secure network traffic to and from the cloud

Ensure all network traffic leaving your organization’s data centre, whether it’s destined for the public cloud or an on-premises environment, is encrypted.

  1. Manage identities, roles, and users across clouds

Developers need to know who has access to their applications at any given time — they can’t constantly be asking, “Who’s using my application?” and “Does this user have the right permissions?” Cloud applications typically involve many users with different roles, and it can be not easy to keep track of who is doing what — so automation tools are essential

  1. Use MFA for APIs.

When an API requires authentication or authorization, don’t allow access without MFA (multi-factor authentication) and don’t support password-only authentication.

  1. Use secure aggregated reporting across clouds

Organizations also need to aggregate the data they’re gathering from different public clouds — for example, maybe you’re running a SaaS application in one cloud and an IaaS stacking another, but you want to send only the aggregated data to your on-premises reporting server.

  1. Harden the cloud endpoint

Deploying virtual machines (VMs) in public clouds goes without saying these days — even small organizations can take advantage of this technology. But not all endpoints are created equal — some platforms provide more robust APIs, for example, while others have better support for automation. Make sure your organization is using the ideal cloud endpoint to run all its applications.

10 Monitorcloud activity, across clouds

Look beyond just monitoring network traffic — organizations need visibility into what’s happening in their public cloud services as well as any other on-premises or off-premises resources. For example, does your organization’s email system rely on an outside service? You’ll need to know if that provider is experiencing any outages or other issues.

Final Thoughts

With Multi-Cloud Security (MCS), admins can monitor user activity, determine who is accessing what, when, and where. MCS also helps augment the capabilities of security tools by deploying them across all major cloud services providers to monitor threats and ensure compliance while keeping your data private. With more than 300 million endpoints globally, MCS is growing in popularity and bringing us closer to achieving the goal of maintaining security without compromising on agility. 

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