Multi cloud security refers to the suite of strategies, controls, procedures, and technologies designed to protect data, applications, and the associated infrastructure of a multi cloud environment. In a multi cloud setup, an organization uses multiple cloud services from different cloud providers, which could be a mix of public, private, or hybrid clouds.
57% of companies use more than one cloud platform and therefore require greater knowledge and expertise from their security teams.Wiz's State of the Cloud 2023 Report
Additionally, the 2023 Multi Cloud Security Report by Valtix indicates that 95% of organizations say multi-cloud is a strategic priority in 2023, but only 58% feel strongly confident that they have the right security measures in place.
As businesses increasingly migrate to the cloud to leverage its benefits, they expose themselves to new security risks. These risks can be magnified in a multi cloud environment due to the increased complexity and the need to secure data across multiple platforms.
The evolution of multi cloud security has been driven by the growing adoption of cloud services and the increasing sophistication of cyber threats. Initially, cloud security focused on securing a single cloud environment. However, as organizations started to use multiple cloud services, the need for a more comprehensive approach to security became apparent.
State of the Cloud 2023
The Wiz Threat Research team looks back on the past year to highlight trends and the state of multi cloud usage based on visibility across our customer base.Download Report
Multi-cloud lets companies access a broader range of services and capabilities via different cloud providers, fostering innovation and bringing multiple benefits that can drive new ideas and creative solutions.
Cloud Agnostic: To embark on the path of multi-cloud adoption, the crucial first step is to embrace a cloud-agnostic architecture. This approach facilitates the identification and elimination of implicit assumptions and dependencies that might exist within your application and infrastructure. As a result, your systems become more robust, adaptable, and easier to maintain across diverse cloud environments.
Flexibility: A multi-cloud strategy also provides flexibility and prevents vendor lock-in. Organizations are not tied to a single cloud provider, instead choosing the best services from multiple providers. This flexibility extends to performance and scalability, with organizations able to scale their operations across different clouds as needed. For example, they can use Amazon Web Services (AWS) for infrastructure and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) for data analytics, maximizing the benefits from each.
Uptime: System reliability and uptime are crucial for businesses, and a multi cloud strategy can enhance these aspects. By distributing workloads across multiple cloud platforms, organizations can ensure that a failure in one platform does not disrupt their entire operation.
Geo-redundancy and independence: Other advantages include opportunities for geo-redundancy and geo-independence, diversity of features from multiple providers, and the ability to meet specific regulatory requirements by storing data in specific regions.
Agility: Multi cloud environments also promote agility and a quick response to changes. They allow organizations to easily switch between different cloud services based on their current needs and market trends, thereby optimizing costs and efficiently allocating resources.
While a multi cloud strategy offers numerous benefits, it also presents several challenges that organizations must overcome to ensure robust security.
|Increased Complexity||A primary issue is managing the increased complexity of multi-cloud environments. Each cloud provider has its unique architecture, security controls, and management tools—diversity that can make achieving and keeping a consistent security posture across all the platforms a major challenge.|
|Comprehensive Visibility||Establishing comprehensive visibility across various cloud platforms is another significant challenge. Without a unified view of all cloud environments, detecting and responding to security threats can be difficult.|
|Consistentcy||Ensuring consistency in security policies and practices across different cloud platforms can also be daunting. Each cloud provider may have different security standards and configurations, creating a hurdle to enforcing uniform security policies.|
|Larger Attack Surface||The multi-cloud environment further introduces complexities in ensuring the security and containment of potential threats. With multiple cloud providers in use, the attack surface expands, creating a greater challenge for organizations to protect their assets effectively. In the event of a security breach in one cloud, the risk of the attack spreading horizontally across clouds also increases. For instance, an attacker gaining access through a vulnerability in GCP might be able to extend their reach to components running in AWS or other cloud environments, leading to an amplified blast radius. To address this challenge, organizations must implement robust measures and security protocols to contain and mitigate cloud-based threats effectively across all cloud providers used within their multi-cloud architecture.|
|Shared Responsibility Models||Another challenge is understanding and managing shared responsibility across different cloud service providers. Each cloud provider will follow a different model for this, with different responsibilities assigned to itself and its users. Misunderstanding these models can lead to gaps in security.|
|Integration||Interoperability and integration challenges can also arise when getting different cloud services to work together seamlessly. Simply having to deal with numerous vendors and their associated contracts can be time-consuming and complex, requiring dedicated resources and expertise.|
|Compliance||Implementing efficient data governance and compliance measures across multiple clouds can be complex due to varying data protection laws in different regions.|
Despite these challenges, organizations can effectively secure their multi-cloud environments with the right strategies and tools. The key lies in understanding these hurdles and implementing a comprehensive multi-cloud security strategy that addresses each one.
How Agoda Secures its Multi-Cloud Environment
Learn how Agoda Gains overcame the challenges and gained full visibility into their entire cloud environments built on multiple cloud service providers such as AWS, GCP, and Azure.Watch Now
Several best practices exist for companies to handle the complexities of multi-cloud and get the most out of the benefits it brings.
1. Continuous visibility and monitoring
Achieving continuous visibility and monitoring across all cloud environments is crucial. This can be accomplished through centralized logging and monitoring systems that aggregate data from all cloud platforms, providing a unified view of security events.
Employing automation for efficient security management can help organizations respond to security events more quickly and accurately. Automated security workflows can help detect and remediate threats, enforce security policies, and ensure compliance.
3. Standardized and synchronized security policies
Standardizing and synchronizing security policies across multiple platforms can help maintain a consistent security posture. This involves creating uniform security policies that can be applied across all cloud environments, regardless of the cloud provider.
4. Single-pane-of-glass visibility
Centralizing data for a single pane of glass view and simplified management can provide organizations with a comprehensive overview of their multi cloud environment. This can help identify potential security gaps and streamline the management of security controls.
5. Least privilege
Applying the principle of least privilege is another best practice is for minimized risk exposure. This principle involves granting users and systems the minimum levels of access necessary to perform their functions, thereby reducing the potential damage from a security breach.
6. Regular security audits and assessments
This is a must for organizations to uncover security vulnerabilities and resolve them as soon as possible. These audits should be conducted across all cloud platforms to ensure a comprehensive evaluation of the organization's security posture.
7. Regular security assessments
Investing in robust identity and access management systems can help control who can access cloud resources. These systems can enforce multi-factor authentication, role-based access control, and other security measures.
8. Secure transfers
Securing data transfers between different cloud environments is also essential. This can be achieved through encryption and secure network connections.
By adopting these best practices, organizations can enhance their multi cloud security and mitigate the risks associated with multi cloud environments.
As explored throughout this post, multi-cloud security is a complex yet crucial aspect of any modern organization's IT strategy. While offering numerous benefits like agility, uptime, and flexibility, the multi-cloud approach also presents unique security challenges. These challenges, however, can be effectively managed with the right strategies, tools, and best practices.
The key to success lies in the ability to visualize and manage the entire cloud environment, drive actionable insights, and break down the barriers between security and development teams. This is where Wiz come into play.
In the words of the CTO of Morgan Stanley:
Multi-cloud enablement is at the heart of our transformation strategy and security is paramount. Wiz helps us visualize our entire cloud environment and drive actionable insights, in minutes. They’ve made cloud security an enabler for Morgan Stanley and helped us break down the barriers between security and development teams.Katherine Wetmur, Co-CTO, Morgan Stanley
While the journey to multi-cloud security may seem daunting, the right partner can become an enabler for your organization, fostering innovation, agility, and growth. If you're ready to take the next step in your multi-cloud security journey, we invite you to try our demo and experience firsthand how Wiz can transform your multi-cloud security strategy.
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