Demystifying Security in an Open, Hybrid Multicloud Environment

December 26, 2019
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3 min read

We are currently witnessing a massive transition across organizations as more companies move application workloads to hybrid multicloud environments. This process of cloud migration and realignment will further accelerate digital transformation, and there are significant benefits for organizations, including cost savings, lowered total cost of ownership (TCO) and increased business agility. The core principles of business agility demand that organizations not only thrive in a competitive environment but also adapt to market changes, respond flexibly to customer needs and, at the same time, stay cost-effective. The organization’s journey to hybrid multicloud adoption and acceleration is not only compelling, but also inevitable.

Despite the obvious benefits of hybrid multicloud adoption, this transition has, however, compounded many security challenges, including exposure to threats and increased complexity — organizations must remain secure and, simultaneously, remain connected in open, fragmented and intensified regulatory compliance protocols. As a result, organizations appropriately require a paradigm shift in their approach, re-engineering and reinventing their cloud security strategy.

Security Built on Open Architecture

The foundation of that re-engineering lies in a security strategy that is built on open architecture and open standards. In an open, hybrid multicloud environment, DevOps teams strive on collaboration across development, testing and support functions. Containerized applications are efficiently being built, deployed, updated and maintained while addressing the demands of business agility and resilience, resulting in reduced time to market and rollouts.

Operating in an agile DevOps environment emphasizes the need for security to be built on open standards and with open tools that promote interoperability and maximize return on investment. It is extremely critical, therefore, for security to function and run anywhere, anytime.

Connect Data to Gain Meaningful Insights

With data spread across a hybrid multicloud environment, it is imperative for security teams to gain meaningful security insights and determine risk and exposure to threats, both internal and external, within an organization. The telemetry of data, and that data being siloed, can make it difficult to derive meaningful insights.

One way to address the problem of fragmented data is to build up data lakes. However, while building data lakes might work, it comes with an inherent challenge of formatting and standardizing different types of data. To further complicate matters, building data lakes requires extensive skilled resources, complying to regulatory protocols and high maintenance costs.

A more pragmatic approach, therefore, lies in retaining the data in its own location and running a federated search across various data formats to derive meaningful security insights, including the ability to make better risk-based decisions.

Connect Workflows to Improve Incident Response

Building a connected workflow and applying business process management (BPM) logic to automate and orchestrate security tasks dramatically improves response time in the event of a breach. In a hybrid cloud environment, it is essential to prepare an incident response plan by automating time-consuming, repeatable and consistent tasks and applying proven orchestration capabilities (involving people, processes and technology) to identify threats and anomalies early in the attack life cycle. This helps streamline efforts so security teams can focus on more strategic business priorities and outcomes.

Stay Agile With a Unified Common Interface

Security teams are swamped with too many security tools and technologies. With skilled resources being a scarcity, it is extremely complex to manage, maintain and report on security outcomes. The right approach for an organization is to effectively operate with a common interface, providing the ability to pivot from one task to another with operational simplicity and smooth navigation. A simplified user interface promotes speed and agility.

Embrace the Change to a Hybrid Multicloud World

Among the avalanche of applications across enterprises and the complexity of the modern IT landscape, security needs to embrace and facilitate the change by adapting to the new age of an open, hybrid multicloud environment. Organizations should seek to collate data from multiple sources — including security information and event management (SIEM) tools, endpoint detection and response (EDR) systems, clouds and the internet of things (IoT) — to gain security insights, build a robust risk mitigation strategy and be better prepared to respond.

With this approach, a hybrid multicloud world can promote interoperability between security tools and deliver efficiency, accelerated response and meaningful business outcomes.

Anup Deb
AP Segment Leader - IBM Resilient

Anup leads the Cyber Security - Incident Response business for IBM across Asia Pacific region. He comes with a rich background of working in the Cyber Securi...
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