Many DevOps organizations adopt a multi-cloud strategy to take advantage of the functionality and reliability of multiple cloud services. However, combining multiple platforms and vendors creates a more complex architecture, which makes multi-cloud security more challenging. This blog will discuss four multi-cloud security best practices to help you overcome these challenges and protect your critical infrastructure.
Multi-Cloud Security Best Practices
These multi-cloud security best practices will help you prevent, detect, and mitigate breaches so you can get the most out of your cloud services.
Automated Configurations and Security
Misconfiguration of cloud services is a leading cause of security breaches. For example, a configuration error in Twitch’s AWS environment led to a breach that exposed proprietary source code, creator payout records, and other valuable information. Oftentimes, human error is responsible for misconfigurations, and they are more likely in a multi-cloud environment. This is because administrators are responsible for managing the configurations of multiple platforms, which all have different UIs, requirements, and quirks.
Automated configuration management can help reduce the risk of multi-cloud configuration mistakes. Configuration management involves defining the desired state of a system and then ensuring the system maintains that state. Automated configuration management tools (such as Chef, Ansible, or Puppet) do this work for you by monitoring system configurations and using programmatic playbooks to update or modify configurations that drift away from this pre-defined state. This method ensures consistent configurations for all instances within a cloud environment and reduces the risk that a mistake goes uncorrected in production.
In addition, human beings aren’t adept at sorting through vast quantities of monitoring data to find anomalies, which is why breaches often take so long to detect. A human administrator takes longer to make decisions and respond to threats than an automated system. Automated security monitoring and issue remediation tools can reduce the risk that a vulnerability or threat goes unnoticed, allowing breaches to be resolved before too much damage is done.
According to a Forrester Research Survey from 2019, 42% of external cyberattacks were blamed on software security flaws. You need robust security vulnerability testing to find and fix these defects before an application is released. The DevSecOps methodology solves this problem by building security into every stage of the development cycle. Automated security scans run as soon as new code is integrated and before that code is delivered to QA, staging, and production. Therefore, you can thoroughly validate the security of your software without adding any bottlenecks to your pipeline and deliver code on time without sacrificing security or quality.
Cloud Native Security Solutions
Trying to force your multi-cloud environment into your on-premises security perimeter increases the risk of a compatibility error or configuration mistake, leaving you with gaps in security coverage. That’s why it’s a multi-cloud security best practice to use cloud-native security tools. These may include cloud versions of traditional tools, such as Firewall-as-a-Service (FWaaS) platforms, but additional solutions are designed to manage the specific challenges of protecting a multi-cloud environment.
For example, Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB) solutions act as a gatekeeper between your on-premises network and your cloud environment, allowing you to extend your enterprise security policies and controls to the cloud. A CASB often includes data loss prevention (DLP), user behavior analytics, and traffic inspection to ensure that your multi-cloud resources are as protected as your on-premises infrastructure.
Another option is to maintain separate security environments for your on-premises and public cloud resources, ideally with individual security perimeters around each public cloud. Doing so will allow you to utilize the policies and technologies that are best suited to protect each environment. It also makes it easier to set up security checkpoints around each environment, so users must re-verify their identity and re-establish trust before moving to another network segment. Creating highly specific security policies and implementing custom-tailored solutions to enforce those policies improves multi-cloud security by ensuring total coverage and limiting a potential hacker’s lateral movement.
Centralized Security Management
One of the biggest multi-cloud management challenges involves maintaining visibility into and control over multiple disparate cloud environments. Each vendor provides built-in security settings, logging, and user access controls that administrators need to learn, configure, and manage. This complexity makes it difficult (if not impossible) to get a complete picture of your multi-cloud security posture and, once again, increases the risk of human error.
That’s why centralized security management is a best practice for protecting multi-cloud environments. It provides engineers with one control panel from which to access monitoring dashboards, security configuration settings, access control lists, and more. A centralized security platform ensures consistent protection across on-premises and cloud infrastructure while reducing management complexity.
However, it’s important to acknowledge that even the best multi-cloud security management tools are only as effective as the team using them. If security engineers don’t know how to use these tools correctly, they aren’t given reasonable timeframes in which to implement them or are too overworked to consistently monitor them, then the solution will ultimately fail. That’s why it’s critical to support your engineers with the training and resources they need to use multi-cloud security tools effectively.
Implementing Multi-Cloud Security Best Practices in Your Enterprise
Human error comes up repeatedly in discussions about multi-cloud security. That’s because any highly-complex system architecture increases the chances of mistakes, mismanagement, and negligence, all of which create security risks. Implementing these multi-cloud security best practices will help you reduce human error. However, you still need to provide support to the administrators and engineers who have to learn and manage your multi-cloud solutions. For example, the DevSecOps experts at Copado Strategic Services can work with your team to ensure they have the training, technology, and resources required to manage your multi-cloud security.