Challenges in Multi-Cloud Security

What is Multi-Cloud?

When talking about Multi-Cloud, it simply means that an organization uses two or more cloud service provider (CSP) platforms in parallel. The word Cloud commonly refers to a computing platform that falls into one of three categories: IaaS, PaaS, or SaaS.

The adoption of cloud-based storage is increasing at a rapid pace as organizations search for new ways to store, process, and distribute information. For many, the use of cloud services is much easier than seeking a dedicated set of hardware for the IT teams. Different departments being able to source new cloud software or compute resources is called ‘decentralized cloud adoption’, the use of various cloud providers is common.

Using different cloud services can provide flexibility to organizations, but they also come with a risk. Highly distributed sources can be difficult to administrate, and the risk of Shadow IT (the online resources that store corporate data, but IT is unaware of) can actually breach data privacy laws. In addition, by using multiple applications, the potential for a serious breach grows exponentially than if a single application was used across the entire network.

Challenges of Adopting Multi-Cloud

  • Management Strategies: CIOs today are challenged to push the boundaries of what is possible from an organizational and technological perspective. The concepts of Cloud First and Cloud Smart were born out of this push. Cloud-First is the concept of promoting the endorsement of cloud technologies for existing and new architectures. Cloud Smart takes a different approach; promoting the use of the cloud resources only if it is in the best interest of the company. These concepts present unique hindrances when thinking of employing multiple clouds.

  • Configuration Compliance: A challenge to most IT organizations. Having the means to assess and determine risks of the network, storage configurations, and the server is a requirement in today’s business environment. Having only one misconfigured device can lead to a security breach that can place the whole organization at risk, and adopting a multi-cloud-based strategy makes the challenges related to configuration compliance even more difficult. It is important that deployments are checked on a continuous basis, especially for companies that can make up to hundreds, if not thousands, of changes a day. It is important to correct any configuration the moment it’s detected, and not when the administrator has the time to get around the issue. Automation must be an essential part of multi-cloud security.

  • Multi-Cloud Orchestration and Automation: These two words have been at the forefront of cloud architect’s thoughts for many years. The challenge with them is how to get there. Most IT teams today are barely capable of keeping up with their daily tasks and the needs of the organization. The biggest challenge with orchestration and automation is finding trained and skilled resources able to adopt this new method, but developing and implementing this strategy is fundamental to reach success.

  • DevOps Processes: A set of procedures and practices that lend to the merging of operations and development inside of any IT organization. The goal for DevOps is to facilitate a faster and safer rate of product development and delivery, changing the very way most IT organizations function. The most important part of a successful multi-cloud strategy may be a well-groomed DevOps pipeline.

  • Asset and Financial Visibility: For many years, organizations have kept a watchful eye over their assets believing that using a network management system (NMS) would be enough, but moving to a multi-cloud architecture changes the way that everything is monitored. With multi-clouds, companies cannot use the tools provided by the cloud vendors, plus there is the added challenge of financial visibility, leading companies to being keenly aware of the total cost of ownership of their cloud resources, making forecasting and budgeting even more difficult.

  • Ensuring Data Protection and Privacy: As if it weren’t challenging enough to have everything secured when housing data, applications, platforms, company data, etc. are housed in different platforms the challenge multiplies.

Adopting Multi-Cloud Security has become a necessity as cloud adoption has risen up in popularity due to the benefits it provides in terms of availability, scalability, and elasticity. Even with these benefits, organizations must be aware of all the risks that can appear from expanding cloud environments. Once these challenges are understood, organizations can properly manage the most out of these infrastructures.