Organizations are evolving at an alarming rate. With the evolution of handheld technology flooding the enterprise, business work culture has benefitted from increased production. Employees—similar to the consumers they work for—demand anywhere, anytime access, and to meet those demands organizations have looked to the cloud for assistance.
Business processes and operations are digitally transforming and the only way to facilitate the changes needed is to leverage cloud-based services and applications. According to Gartner, more than $1.3 trillion in IT spending will move to the cloud by 2022. This, however, presents a slew of challenges for security departments that may not be equipped to manage the data protection obstacles presented as a result of the multi-cloud environments the business is operating in.
In many cases, security leaders are put in a position where they’ve increased their attack surface, in addition to limiting their visibility since their operating environment has been handed off to a third-party cloud provider like Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, or the Google Cloud Platform.
While the list of obstacles security leaders experience to reach an ideal state of cyber resiliency in a multi-cloud environment is long, important steps need to be taken and decisions made when it comes to the following three areas:
1. Vetting Cloud Providers
A new set of challenges is presented by the services and platforms offered by cloud providers which require security leaders to conduct thorough assessments prior to their initial engagements. The problem is that many organizations who are reliant on cloud-based infrastructure providers like Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), or the Google Cloud Platform, may not consider them to be third-parties, failing to vet them with the scrutiny they deserve. Security leaders need to shift their third-party security approach intelligently and adapt to the rise of cloud vendors. This requires them to take the right security measures for their existing cloud-based third parties and implement a new set of processes for cloud vendors business departments are considering.
2. Selecting the Right Cloud Security Tools
Major cloud providers like Azure and AWS have introduced a swath of native security tools for their users. However, security leaders can also choose to go with an array of third-party, non-native tools. This further creates complexity in the decision-making process for security professionals who must already consider their budget and team constraints, among other things, before introducing a new tool to their arsenal. There are pros and cons to native and non-native cloud security tools and these choices can have long-term impacts on an organization, shaping how a business approaches cloud security as it grows and continues to adopt new digital technologies.
3. Ensuring Data Privacy in the Cloud
For global organizations, operating in a multi-cloud environment quickly multiplies challenges as dispersed data found in various environments makes it particularly difficult to locate, protect and ensure its privacy given the varying laws and regulations that differ from country to country. This results in a risk labyrinth that security leaders need to navigate to effectively protect information and be compliant in a world where the data privacy discussion has been elevated to new heights. Discussions surrounding privacy and security are no longer siloed. To successfully manage cyber risk within the business today, the understanding and internalizing of privacy regulations has to be seen through to the effective operations of the mechanisms put in place to be compliant and protect data.
A proactive, forward-thinking approach to data protection will allow you to introduce tangible controls around your organization’s data, but most importantly, will keep your business one step ahead of the difficulties presented by third-party partners, decisions surrounding which tools to use, and the expectations set by regulatory bodies.
Reaching a state of cyber resiliency in multi-cloud environments is no easy feat, but it can be accomplished. This three-part e-book further dives into each of the challenges outlined here and offers pointed advice on how you can overcome them.
Marcos Colón is the content marketing manager at Trustwave and a former IT security reporter and editor.