Challenges of adopting a multi-cloud security strategy

By Dan Gora, Cloud Security Architect & Regional Discipline Lead at Eviden, an Atos company.

  • Thursday, 25th May 2023 Posted 1 year ago in by Phil Alsop

Advances in technology and corporate acceptance have made moving to the cloud a common solution for storing, processing, and accessing data and applications. The primary advantages of using the cloud are clear: scalability and flexibility. Nonetheless, the primary issue fostering reservations amongst potential adopters is undoubtedly security.

According to Snyk state of cloud security report, 58% of organisations predict increased risk over the next year. IBM researchers warn that information security teams and business leaders will face another challenging year in 2023. This increase has been a trend in recent years as well; the ENISA Threat Landscape 2022 report showed a 40% increase in data breaches with no root cause (190% in the US) from 2020-2022. Threat actors will continue to develop new, more sophisticated and innovative attacks, which is why when it comes to evaluating security solutions from cloud vendors, organisations must be diligent in ensuring that the chosen solution meets their specific security needs.

Each major cloud service provider presents a unique suite of security capabilities, each possessing distinct advantages and drawbacks. These need to be carefully assessed with the need to address potential security risks and protect against threats. Organisations must focus on investing in a multi-cloud security strategy to effectively prevent data breaches, protect against unauthorised intrusions and preserve a secure posture across cloud workloads.

However, there is a flip side: Managing a secure posture in a multi-cloud environment can be a complex challenge, and organisations must balance cost versus risk. Maintaining strong security controls is crucial, but it's possible to lower cloud costs without compromising security.

Keeping an eye on cloud usage

One way to lower cloud spending is to monitor and analyse cloud usage continuously. This involves measuring and monitoring the data on how your cloud resources are being used. Also, any excess resources should be identified that are not being used or are not needed. This could include cloud infrastructure and platform services that initially may have been required, but are not needed anymore. For example, a virtual machine to perform a certain business logic can be replaced by a more cost efficient cloud infrastructure or platform service. If these unused or underutilised resources are not eliminated, they will continue to consume cloud resources and increase cloud spending.

Turning to Cloud-Native Security Solutions

As cloud services continue to evolve rapidly, more organisations benefit from cloud-native security solutions helping to keep up with the rapidly changing threat landscape, a challenge for

organisations without the appropriate strategy and solutions. These solutions offer numerous benefits to organisations, starting, but not ending, with the significant cost savings they provide.

Transitioning from traditional perimeter security, native cloud security solutions break free from physical limitations eradicating the need for on-premise infrastructure. This shift paves the way for adopting a Zero Trust model, where security is centered on identity instead of the network perimeter. Native cloud security solutions like cloud security posture management (CSPM) and Cloud Access Service Brokers (CASB) simplify attack surface and identity management across multiple cloud platforms. With a more integrated approach to detect and respond to various types of threats, businesses can achieve a more mature security posture without the added complexity and cost of the traditional perimeter security model. For businesses that need to operate in multi-cloud environments, not only do these cloud-native security solutions offer scalability and flexibility, but they also enable organisations to integrate various cloud services and security solutions into an integrated strategy that can be managed from one central point of control. An integrated security approach ensures that businesses can stay secure and adaptable.

With cloud adoption continuing to increase, cloud-native security solutions like CSPM and CASB, play a crucial role in helping organisations keep their data and systems secure from potential threats while maintaining cost efficiency.

Evaluate cloud security solutions aligned with business needs

It is critical for businesses to carefully evaluate security and compliance needs when adopting the cloud. But with so many options available, how can business and information security leaders ensure they make the right choice?

Organisations must thoroughly assess their specific security and compliance requirements and ensure that the chosen solution aligns with those needs and those of the business. This in turn requires a careful examination of the security offerings provided by each cloud provider, as each has its own unique strengths and weaknesses. By evaluating each cloud provider's security capabilities, organisations can determine which one offers the best fit for their organisational needs. When assessing cloud providers, it's also important to consider the level of control and visibility offered by the native cloud security solutions.

Different cloud service models vary in cost and security control. Cloud infrastructure services (IaaS) grant maximum security control but demand more resources. Platform services (PaaS) offer a balance, while Software services (SaaS) are cost-effective but provide the least control. By evaluating each cloud service model, organisations can appropriately optimise security and costs when adopting cloud services.

Choosing the right cloud service model and cloud platform provider with security solutions can have a significant impact on an organisation's security posture and overall risk profile. Through evaluating providers' security offerings and different service models, organisations and aligning them with their needs, businesses can effectively tackle today's digital security challenges.

Managing security in a multi-cloud environment is a critical task that requires a balance between cost and security risk. By monitoring cloud usage, leveraging cloud-native security solutions, and carefully evaluating security offerings from different cloud vendors and cloud service models, organisations can reduce cloud security costs while still maintaining effective security measures. As organisations continue to adopt multi-cloud strategies, adequate security measures will be essential in ensuring the success of their cloud initiatives.

When your organisation is ready to navigate the complex landscape of cloud security, it is imperative to find a partner to help you adopt cloud technology securely and cost-effectively. Employing experts in cloud-native security solutions will help you strike the balance between a robust security posture and cost efficiency.