Many organizations are now using multiple cloud environments. A 2021 survey found that most (92%) organizations use a multi-cloud strategy. That’s slightly higher than the 82% of respondents who admitted to using a hybrid cloud strategy consisting of both public and private cloud deployments in their organizations. When asked to elaborate on what their multi-cloud strategy looks like, survey participants said that they use an average of 2.6 public cloud deployments and 2.7 private cloud deployments. They went on to note that they were in the process of experimenting with an additional 1.1 public clouds and 2.2. private clouds, on average. With this kind of environment, multi-cloud security is more important than ever.
Why Are So Many Organizations Using a Multi-Cloud Strategy?
Many organizations are embracing a multi-cloud strategy because it aligns with their evolving business objectives. Gartner highlighted three business considerations when it comes to multi-cloud computing. These are as follows:
- Sourcing – Organizations want to avoid vendor lock-in when it comes to the cloud. Part of the issue is that they need to ensure availability of their cloud-based assets; relying on multiple vendors can help to ensure that a disruption with one vendor doesn’t affect their entire cloud infrastructure. Going with multiple vendors also gives organizations the opportunity to use the best features and services of each vendor rather than being dependent on what one cloud service provider has to offer.
- Architecture – Many modern applications are now designed in a modular style. As such, it’s possible for organizations to span these programs across multiple clouds. This will help to ensure the availability even if one cloud provider suffers an outage.
- Governance – A multi-cloud strategy enables organizations to share policies, procedures, monitoring tools, and other solutions across their entire infrastructure, thereby standardizing and ensuring operational control. This governance helps to coordinate recovery in the event of a disaster as well as to migrate some data and applications.
A Threat to Multi-Cloud Security: Complexity
Using a multi-cloud strategy can introduce some challenges for organizations, however. Perhaps there’s no greater obstacle than complexity. As noted by CIO, many organizations use multi-cloud environments to replace legacy IT infrastructure, so it’s a matter of trying to make their various cloud services work in a way that doesn’t disrupt their workflows. They also need to ensure that the task of managing all those cloud services doesn’t end up costing them too much time and money. Many organizations move to the cloud to reduce costs, after all, so simplicity is a crucial concern when it comes to embracing a multi-cloud strategy.
Complexity in the context of multiple cloud deployments doesn’t just carry operational considerations. It also has some implications for an organization’s security posture. Take the idea of maintaining comprehensive visibility over all network assets, including cloud. Multiple clouds mean multiple deployments that organizations need to inventory and monitor on an ongoing basis, which complicates multi-cloud security. That assumes organizations are aware of all the cloud services used by their employees. But this is rarely the case. Shadow cloud deployments that employees spin up without informing the IT department can leave organizations open to attack, as no one’s aware of them or monitoring them for risk.
How to Address Complexity While Maintaining Multi-Cloud Security
Many organizations lack the necessary internal expertise to address the challenge of complexity across their multiple cloud deployments. This lack of proficiency also applies to managing relevant security risks in those environments. Indeed, Help Net Security covered a 2021 report in which only 9% of respondents categorized their internal teams as experts in the cloud. Many survey participants went on to admit that their existing security teams were teaching themselves how to best manage their employers’ cloud security requirements.
Fortunately, organizations don’t need to try to turn their internal teams into cloud security experts. They can instead work with a trusted vendor that has experience helping organizations to secure their multi-cloud environments.
That’s where ReliaQuest comes in. ReliaQuest’s GreyMatter solution helps organizations gain visibility into where their cloud data resides by mapping their integrations. It then applies unified threat detection across their entire IT infrastructure, both in the cloud and on-premises, to help defend them against digital threats. In the event they suffer an incident, GreyMatter comes with built-in content and remediation actions that they can use to quickly resolve an incident across whichever cloud providers might be affected.
These functions help organizations to minimize complexity in their IT security efforts. Specifically, they can continue to use their existing SIEM for on-premises workloads while leveraging a cloud-based SIEM or other cloud-based security controls to keep their virtual information safe. That’s because GreyMatter unifies and automates security operations workflows, helping them to efficiently manage risk wherever it arises.