Updated on: 2 March 2023
In this article, we share four key steps you can take to help increase visibility in your cloud environments and implement a successful multicloud security solution.
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Taking steps toward multicloud security
It’s no secret that businesses are moving away from traditional on-premises data centers and migrating to multicloud frameworks to increase their agility, efficiency, and security. But one thing you might not realize is that a multicloud strategy can come with a set of complexities.
A multicloud environment uses multiple public clouds. This means applications and operational processes can operate consistently in all environments.
So that should minimize risk, shouldn’t it? Well, for starters, each cloud provider has its own security protocols and management consoles. This can create confusion and inconsistencies in your organization’s overall security posture. It can also lead to shadow IT. This is where unauthorized cloud services are used without the knowledge or approval of the IT department.
In addition, a multicloud deployment strategy can increase your organization’s surface area of attack. This is because each cloud provider has its own set of vulnerabilities that can be exploited. And if one provider is breached, hackers can access your other cloud accounts through credential stuffing.
How do you secure a multicloud environment?
Depending on the type of multicloud solution you’re building—one where separate applications are stored in separate clouds or one where data is stored and processed across multiple clouds—your multicloud security solution will look very different.
It’s simpler to build a multicloud security solution when data is contained within single applications that just happen to be housed in multiple cloud providers. There are fewer endpoints to protect, data isn’t in transit as often, and the applications (and the providers those applications are in) have native security features that your data never travels outside of. You still have to make sure the security features are present, active, and accurately functioning for each application and each cloud. But it’s less risky.
It’s possible to secure a multicloud solution where data frequently moves between the cloud providers, it just takes more effort. You’ve got to:
- Secure your solutions, the cloud environments you developed them in, and data as it moves from one to another
- Manage the different authentication, authorization, monitoring and storage services across all your clouds
- Make sure all your cloud environments are secured similarly
4 steps to build a multicloud security solution
Regardless of what multicloud solution you build, there are four key steps you can take to secure your multicloud setup.
1. Integrate multicloud security into DevOps
DevOps has been the go-to method for software development and deployment for years. But as with anything that becomes mainstream, it has its fair share of detractors. One of the most common criticisms is that DevOps places too much emphasis on speed and agility and not enough on security.
It’s a valid concern. After all, in today’s world of constant cyber threats, security should be a top priority for any organization, regardless of industry.
But there’s no need to choose between security and speed – you can have both. Integrating security into your DevOps process allows you to create a rapid, secure development pipeline that will safeguard your applications and data.
Here are two tips to help you get started.
Implement DevSecOps from the start
If you want to build security into your DevOps process, you need to start from the beginning. That means incorporating security into every stage of the development lifecycle, from planning and design to testing and deployment. It can be a challenge, but it’s essential if you want to create a secure development process.
Use automation and orchestration
Automation is one of the key pillars of DevOps and is also essential for security. By automating security tasks, you can maintain the speed of your development and operating process and ensure your security is taken care of.
2. Purchase a master key (BYOK)
A master key is known as the holy grail when it comes to securing your multicloud setup. By purchasing a master key, you’re essentially buying an insurance policy for your data.
A master key, also known as a Bring Your Own Key (BYOK), is an on-prem security key that organizations can use to encrypt their data in the cloud.
Most companies rely on the security offered by their public cloud service providers like AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud. A master key adds an extra layer of security to your data and can help prevent breaches.
You can use your own master key or import one, which the cloud provider places in their key management system (KMS). The cloud KMS encrypts the data encryption keys (DEKs) using your master key before saving it to the cloud for an extra level of security. You can alternatively store your master key in an off-cloud KMS.
3. Fuse monitoring into one place
Another way to secure your multicloud setup is to monitor everything in one place.
Integrating monitoring tools such as Stackify or Amazon CloudWatch into one platform lets you get a clear picture of your system’s performance and quickly identify issues. From logs to alerts and events, a complete view of your system’s health can help prevent outages and keep your applications running smoothly, while providing insight into potential security issues.
By fusing monitoring tools into one platform, you can get a more holistic view of your system’s performance and quickly identify any security issues that arise. You can get insights into things like:
- Achieving and maintaining ideal application performance
- Improving network and application security
- Optimizing the availability of services thanks to rapid resolutions and rapid issue reporting
- Simplifying the implementation of continuity plans, enabling proactive risk remediation
- Usability on different devices
- Simple scaling in the event cloud activity increases
- Reduction of surprise cloud cost leaks, thanks to complete visibility into the architecture
4. Improve cloud security by limiting user access
Often, businesses forget to look inward when it comes to data security. But this is important because the problem could be with those who have access to your cloud-based systems and data in the first place.
You can significantly improve your cloud security stance by reducing the number of people who have access to sensitive data. Carefully consider which users should have access to which parts of the system to limit potential damage in the case of a breach.
According to a 2021 study by Verizon, insiders conducted 22% of cyberattacks. So, although it might seem like the threat is always from the outside, sometimes the biggest security threats are much closer to home.
This is why blockchain/crypto storage data is saved in a decentralized network and then stored in a digital wallet that stores the assets via encrypted digital code. This reduces the level of trust crypto buyers have to place in one another. This same ideology can – and should – be applied to who has access to your cloud data. The fewer people have access, the less likely sensitive information will be leaked.
If you’re looking to upskill in this area, check out our security courses. And if you’re curious about navigating multicloud and want to get hands-on, check out our video challenge below.
Nahla Davies is a software developer and tech writer. Before devoting her work full time to technical writing, she managed—among other intriguing things—to serve as a lead programmer at an Inc. 5,000 experiential branding organization whose clients include Samsung, Time Warner, Netflix, and Sony.