Securing Data in a Multicloud Environment

July 13, 2020
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3 min read

The multicloud environment is becoming the standard for businesses, with 93% of organizations using this approach, according to a Flexera 2020 State of the Cloud report. The public cloud services used in the multicloud strategy are gaining in popularity, with Gartner predicting revenue in 2020 will reach more than $266 billion.

“Adoption of next-generation solutions are almost always cloud-enhanced solutions, meaning they build on the strengths of a cloud platform to deliver digital business capabilities,” Gartner Research Vice President Sid Nag says in a formal statement last year.

With every next-generation solution comes next-generation security challenges. But, cloud adoption doesn’t always feature a security-centric approach. Multicloud environments require multiple public cloud services, so being security forward is even more necessary.

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Eight in 10 companies use public clouds for sensitive data. Yet, 52% of these businesses have suffered a data breach. A multicloud approach offers many advantages, including efficiency and cost savings, but still comes with some security challenges. So, you need to understand your risks to get the most from your multicloud strategy.

Here are six security challenges you may face in a multicloud environment and tips to improve your security best practices.

1. Relying on the Vendor to Handle Security

Cloud vendors have security measures in place to protect their infrastructure. Yet, organizations often believe security covers their data and applications. Security is a shared responsibility between vendor and client, with even more responsibility going to the client with a platform as a service (PaaS) or infrastructure as a service (IaaS). Learn exactly what the vendor’s security protects and work with them to find the right security tools to protect your data and applications.

2. Meeting Compliance Regulations

Most businesses are required to follow data compliance regulations, industry standards and state and federal laws. Whenever sensitive data is stored in a public cloud, it is at risk of failing compliance. Keep sensitive data in servers closest to internal controls to stay compliant. Compliance efforts should be consistent across the multicloud environment.

3. Access Control

Too many employees have access to cloud data and applications that have nothing to do with their jobs. This opens up the cloud for misuse and cyber threats. Information technology (IT) teams should enforce tighter controls and use identity and access management (IAM) tools to monitor permissions.

4. Visibility

Cloud services have almost endless scalability. Multicloud environments can include dozens of platforms. But, do you have visibility into your entire environment? If you don’t have high levels of observability via your network monitoring program, you open the door to threat actors eager to take advantage of a huge unwatched attack surface. Consider deploying tools, such as security orchestration, automation and response (SOAR), to improve incident response or security information and event management (SIEM). This will help gather real-time information across the environment, including log management and notification of security incidents.

5. Vulnerability Management

Applications and software have vulnerabilities. Finding those vulnerabilities requires frequent testing. Threat intelligence software, regularly scheduled penetration testing and software scans improve vulnerability management. Consider vulnerability management as locking the doors to prevent bad actors from gaining easy access to your environment.

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6. Historical Data Protections

Many cloud security tools focus on real-time data use, but not on historical data stored deep in archives. With data privacy laws, historical data may not meet new compliance rules or is not properly labeled, making it more vulnerable in attacks. Best security practices for historical data include improved data classification to detect different levels of sensitivity and create data-loss prevention (DLP) policies to have an action plan if there is a data breach. Make sure DLP tools are customizable since standard templates may not fit your needs.

Multicloud environments hold unique challenges for security decision-makers. So, best security practices must be utilized to keep data safe from cybercriminals.

Sue Poremba

I began writing within the branded content/content marketing space in 2011, including articles, blog posts, SEO, Q&A, and profiles. My specialties are cy...
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