Insights

Multicloud architecture? Assess your security measures first

16 October 2020

It’s often assumed that the cloud is far more secure than a traditional on-site environment – however this needs to be examined before taking it as a given. Traditional security measures have been based on the assumption that everything on the inside of the network can be trusted. Companies have been focused on mitigating against external threats, however with cyber threats becoming more sophisticated, security measures must be put in place to stop the spreading once inside the network. 

Adopt a multicloud approach 

The most effective way to ensure you adopt the best-of-breed applications and services for your business is by implementing a multicloud strategy. The mistake often made by companies is the assumption that using one highly recognised, large scale cloud service provider will be good enough to fulfil business requirements. In an ever evolving era of cloud computing, this is rarely the case and can easily create more problems than it solves. 

The security implications of multicloud architecture must be carefully considered. Different skill sets within an enterprise are needed when taking advantage of multicloud architecture. For enterprise companies, this could be multiple teams, or one team made up of various skill sets. But organisations must be aware of differing views on ‘what good security looks like’ across team members and cloud service providers. 

Multicloud architecture can very easily lead to holes and entry points for exploitation, data loss or reconnaissance. Simply put, multicloud can expand the damage done from cyber attacks if security measures aren’t fully considered. 

Secure cloud architecture

To limit the potential blast radius of any breach, provide control over isolated incidents and protect the network from disruption, companies can introduce distributed security at the edge of each cloud provider. A unique solution will be needed for each cloud service provider, depending on the cloud architecture. This becomes an expensive option to provision and maintain. Many companies are put off by the cost and complexity of this approach. 

There is an alternative solution – Centralised connectivity to cloud and third party providers enables focused attention on a single point. This is far more simple to monitor and maintain and one that I’ve seen many companies opt for for a simplified centralised approach. 

That may sound like the silver bullet solution however, it comes with a side of caution. This approach does require better capacity and feature management as well as strong policy controls. The organisation must understand the importance of this and put measures in place, be that in-house skills or external support, to manage effectively. 

The most important thing to be aware of here – we must stop seeing firewalls as the ‘be all and end all’ answer to security problems. Yes, they protect companies. However high profile attacks such as Wannacry and Heartbleed wouldn’t have been prevented with just a standard firewall in place. 

For a truly comprehensive set of network security capabilities, utilise UTM devices, Deep Packet Inspection, WAF. Integrate SIEM and SOC to provide analysis of network security alerts. Having all these elements allow you to maintain a secure environment in real-time and ensure that any organisation is thoroughly prepared against any sort of breach. Admittedly, this does require time and investment to implement, but if carried out, maintained and looked after correctly and carefully, it can save massive amounts of both in return. 

A potential solution

Another way around this would involve the creation of cloud zones, together with centralised routing and multicloud connectivity at the heart of the network. These cloud zones are created inside the centralised core, with routing and protection between them. The result is an ‘airlock’ between each key area, isolating problems as they appear and avoiding downtime across the network. This approach will keep companies secure from an attack by isolating the issues at the source so businesses can feel at ease should a threat arise.

To take on the biggest security challenges, businesses need to implement a secure multicloud infrastructure, and come away from the idea that ‘one size fits all’. Establish a flexible, scalable model that mitigates security risks faced today, but with one eye on preparation for the potential problems of tomorrow.

 

Download the Securing Multicloud Environments whitepaper to learn more about new security measures and recommendations.

cloud environments
cloud infrastructure
multicloud
multicloud architecture
Neil Briscoe