Traditional security concepts are not enough for multi-cloud environments. What is needed is an approach that enables a consistently high level of security and seamless compliance management across all clouds. These five recommendations will sharpen your focus on the security aspects of multi-cloud environments.
The digitalization of companies is progressing and with it the shift away from traditional infrastructure to the cloud. Hardly any company today completely dispenses with the advantages of the cloud. However, this change often does not take place in one step, but rather an ecosystem of applications and cloud storage from various cloud providers is gradually emerging. This is why most companies also have multi-cloud environments. There is nothing wrong with this in principle. However, it should not be forgotten that a company is also responsible for the security of its data and the fulfillment of its regulatory requirements in the cloud. Though, the implementation of these security requirements sometimes differs considerably from the security concepts that we have previously applied in traditional data centers. The following five tips should help to raise awareness of the security aspects in multi-cloud environments.
Establish visibility of your cloud workload
It’s almost a mantra, but nevertheless the basis of any security strategy: I can only protect assets that I know. In the context of cloud and multi-cloud environments, this applies in particular to applications and the corresponding information stores. The first step is therefore always to determine what type of information and applications are used in the cloud and by whom. In many complex organizations, however, this is one of the first hurdles because the use of different cloud services has often developed historically.
Identity is the new perimeter
We are used to thinking in a traditional perimeter security environment. What is outside our perimeter is bad. What’s inside is good. As soon as cloud services come into play, this concept no longer works. Our data no longer lies within a clearly defined perimeter but is theoretically accessible from anywhere. In native, hybrid and multi-cloud environments, identity is therefore the new perimeter that needs to be protected. On one hand, this can be ensured through the use of zero-trust architectures. On the other hand, this can be achieved through the technical implementation of secure authentication methods, such as multi-factor authentication (MFA). Applicability and user-friendliness are important when designing these methods. PATECCO also offers corresponding solutions for various scenarios with its Identity & Access Management Services.
It is a common misconception that moving to the cloud also gets rid of vulnerabilities, or that these are now primarily a problem for the cloud provider. This is only partially true. Although reputable cloud service providers usually protect the vulnerabilities in their own infrastructure very reliably, the number of data breaches at third-party providers, such as cloud service providers, is rising sharply.
The reason for the increased number of attacks on cloud service providers is generally not their lax security precautions. Rather, the cause is often due to incorrect or careless security settings by cloud users. One example of how this can occur is the temporary use of services, as often happens for marketing campaigns in which customer data, among other things, is used. If the services are not carefully cleaned up after use, such orphaned databases can quickly become a ticking time bomb that can cost a company dearly later on.
Encryption creates trust
If I store sensitive data on a data carrier, then I will choose a data carrier that is able to encrypt my information securely. The same principle also applies to cloud storage. This does not necessarily have something in common with mistrust of a cloud provider. But, we have to assume that a cloud provider is fundamentally exposed to the same risks as any other organization. There are people who make mistakes, sometimes even people who deliberately want to harm an organization. It is therefore sensible to prevent these risks in principle by encrypting your workload in the cloud.
Trust is good, control is better
All preventive measures, such as access restrictions, authentication procedures and data flow controls, however sophisticated they may be, can sooner or later be circumvented or undermined given enough time and the right methods.
Security monitoring, which continuously observes the security-relevant processes and alerts the IT security managers in the event of deviations, helps to prevent this. This is easy to do within your own four walls because all the necessary information such as network, system and application logs is directly accessible. However, this traditional approach fails when this information is stored in the environment of one or more cloud providers. It is therefore important to ensure that the CSP provides the appropriate functions for security monitoring when selecting a provider.
How can PATECCO support the planning and implementation of your cloud strategy?
PATECCO’s cloud security services support our customers to plan their native or hybrid cloud strategy. The Cloud security risk assessment identifies the relevant technical and regulatory risks based on your business/IT strategy and takes them into account in the planning. Our Cloud Access Control and Identity and Access Management solutions help with implementation and operation, regardless of whether your company is pursuing a public or private cloud strategy.