What to Know About Security in a Multi-Cloud Environment

There are a lot of terms swirling around in the world of cybersecurity right now, with some significant implications. For example, there is the term digital transformation and terms like a culture of cybersecurity. Another currently relevant term is the multi-cloud environment. 

Many organizations, as part of their digital transformation, are becoming cloud first, which means they are often creating a multi-cloud environment. With this comes particular cybersecurity issues, such as the need for DDI in networking.

DDI is short for DNS-DHCP-IPAM. DNS is a domain name system, DHCP is a dynamic host configuration protocol and IPAM is IP address management. 

DDI is very important for organizations because of the growing multi-device and multi-cloud environments. With an integrated DDI solution, organizations have a simpler and automated way to deal with the interactions between DNS, DHCP, and IPAM. This allows organizations to manage growing IP addresses, and also dependency on different core services. 

Beyond that consideration, what else should you know about security in a multi-cloud environment?

Comparing Multi-Cloud and Hybrid Cloud Computing

Sometimes there is confusion between multi-cloud and hybrid computing, and that can impact your security strategy. The two are similar but are based on different models. With a hybrid cloud computing model, there is a combination of private, on-premises cloud and public, third-party cloud platforms. 

Multi-cloud computing, on the other hand, is the use of multiple public cloud platforms. 

As part of either of these models, everyone in your organization needs to understand how shared security models work. Basically, a shared model means that cloud providers are the ones who take on the responsibility and accountability as far as their own infrastructure.

Third-party cloud providers should be able to give you at least in a general sense what you need to keep your data secure within their infrastructure.

Some of the steps a cloud provider might take to do this include multi-factor authentication and encryption. 

However, you maintain the responsibility for how you use your data within the provider’s infrastructure. 

This means you need to have your own security policies and governance in place, and you need to ensure your employees are trained on them and that you hold them accountable for maintaining these processes and standards. 

Understand the Challenge

By having your eye on the challenges of multi-cloud system security from the start, you’re better positioned to combat these challenges.

A few of the main challenges to keep in mind include:

  • Limited visibility when you’re working across multiple cloud environments
  • Applying your own internal security and regulatory requirements to cloud providers
  • Lack of centralized information and security controls
  • Identity management 

Do Your Research

It’s really important with a multi-cloud environment that you do your research before you develop the specifics of your security strategy. 

In reality, the research phase should begin before you ever decide on a specific provider. As you’re comparing cloud vendors, ensure that you understand their security and services. You need to know the details before you decide on a vendor. 

When choosing cloud solutions, they should be easily integrated and deployed within your current on-premises resources. This will allow for more consistency and continuity, regardless of where your data may be. 

You also need to make sure any solutions you select are scalable and will be able to work along with the addition of growing cloud applications. 

Beyond that, once you choose vendors, the research continues. You want to look at the strengths and weaknesses of your architecture. 

It may end up that what you find is that you need to invest in creating your own applications and scripts to standardize and automate processes and to ensure a more secure multi-cloud environment. 

Visibility and Control

As was touched on above, some of the major downfalls of a multi-cloud environment are the inherent lack of visibility and control that can occur.

Tackling visibility and control can give you a more secure environment. 

This can be dealt with by, as was mentioned earlier, perhaps investing in the development of your own unification tools. You need to ensure that you put in place one single solution that offers you visibility and control across all applications. 

Containers and DevOps are two solutions for automating development processes within a multi-cloud environment. 

Finally, you can’t forget the importance of the people element with multi-cloud environment security. Employees must be trained on best practices in general, but also as they apply specifically to the cloud platforms they work within. 

Many cybersecurity incidents are the result of human error, so this can never be discounted in the development of a security strategy.

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