What is Multi Cloud Security?
A multi cloud strategy allows organizations to deploy workloads across multiple cloud platforms, including both public clouds, such as AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform, and private clouds. This provides much more flexibility than working with only one cloud platform, allows organizations to better manage costs and avoid vendor lock in, and improves resiliency.
However, the high complexity of multi cloud deployments also increases the attack surface and the risk of cyberattacks, raising new cloud security concerns. Multi cloud security requires a holistic approach that addresses diverse security vulnerabilities and establishes consistent security controls across multiple, heterogeneous environments.
We’ll cover 10 important things to consider for multi cloud security – key considerations as you plan your multi cloud deployment, and best practices for improving multi cloud workload security in daily operations.
In this article, you will learn:
Why Use a Multi Cloud Strategy?
The multi cloud strategy allows businesses to choose from a variety of cloud services from different providers. This can have several important benefits:
- Specialization—some cloud platforms may be more suitable for specific tasks or workloads. For example, one cloud provider may provide lower cost storage, more powerful compute instances, or specialized services for analytics or machine learning.
- Cost and financial leverage—operating across multiple cloud providers lets organizations leverage the services with the most attractive cost, and use their multi cloud deployment as a leverage when negotiating with cloud providers.
- Disaster recovery—while cloud providers provide extensive high availability options across data centers and geographical regions, outages can happen. Deploying the same service across multiple clouds provides outstanding resilience and more extensive options for disaster recovery and business continuity.
What is Multi Cloud Management?
Multi cloud management tools and processes make it possible to monitor and manage applications and workloads across multiple public clouds, from a single interface. It is especially important for managing workloads that are commonly migrated between clouds, such as Kubernetes clusters.
The downside of some multi cloud management tools is that they may not cover security holistically, leading to security gaps that can lead to exploitation.
Related content: read our guide to cloud infrastructure security ›
5 Security Considerations for Multi Cloud Environments
When designing your multi cloud architecture, the following considerations will help you secure your infrastructure and workloads.
- Authentication and authorization—find a framework that can support the different authentication models used by different cloud providers, but lets you define accounts, roles and policies in a centralized manner. It is important for authentication and authorization to be decoupled from any particular cloud service or provider.
- Upgrades and patching—vulnerabilities and remediations may be different for each cloud provider, even for the same type of infrastructure or workload. Automate software upgrades and patches, ensuring that upgrades are sensitive to the workload, the infrastructure it is currently running on, and its dependencies.
- Component hardening—applications and infrastructure components must be hardened according to the relevant security best practices. This involves closing unsecured ports, removing unnecessary software, securing APIs and web interfaces, and following the principle of least privilege for access to users and services.
- Monitoring and visibility—when operating on one cloud, you could rely on the basic security tools offered from that cloud provider. However, in a multi cloud environment, you must have a tool that supports multiple clouds and enables visibility of the entire environment. A holistic view of systems across the multi cloud is essential for detecting, investigating, and responding to cyber threats.
- Multi cloud storage—classify data that will be stored on the multi cloud, and ensure that sensitive data is assigned to the most secure storage resources. Plan geographical distribution of data according to your compliance obligations. Implement data loss prevention (DLP) solutions that can identify data loss or exfiltration across multiple clouds.
Related content: read our guide to hybrid cloud security ›
5 Tips for Improving Multi Cloud Security
The following best practices can help you improve security for your multi cloud deployment.
1. Synchronize Policies
If you use multiple clouds for availability, you need to ensure you use the same security settings in all your clouds. You can use automated tools to synchronize policies and settings between providers. These tools should create security policies based on generic definitions that apply to all providers.
2. Tailor Security Policies to Services
Each workload or application running on the multi cloud should have its own security profile and appropriate security policies. These policies should be based on the intended use of the workload, whether it is business critical, the sensitivity of the data, and compliance obligations.
3. Automate Security
It is common to automate processes on public clouds, and you should extend this principle to security. Adopt a DevSecOps mentality in which every process occurring on your cloud infrastructure should take security into account, and adopt the relevant security practices. For example, every new VM or container deployed on any cloud should undergo the relevant security scans.
4. Consolidate Monitoring
Establish a security monitoring strategy that consolidates logs, alerts and events from all cloud providers in one place. Beyond monitoring, implement automation that is triggered by alerts, and implements the relevant remediations on any cloud with no human intervention.
5. Compliance Across Clouds
Each cloud platform has different compliance certifications and features. You may also be running different workloads with different compliance obligations on each cloud. Use an automated platform to audit compliance across clouds and generate reports showing violations and suggested remediations.
Multi Cloud Security with Aqua
With Aqua, organizations can leverage the capabilities of cloud workload protection with cloud infrastructure best practices for full-stack security. Aqua is the only pure play cloud native security company to converge the capabilities of a cloud workload protection platform (CWPP) and cloud security posture management (CSPM) in one complete solution.
Aqua security provides security controls for cloud migration and multi-cloud deployments with persistent controls that follow workloads wherever they run.
The Aqua Platform provides security controls for containers and serverless functions throughout their lifecycle, and supports all container orchestrators, public and private cloud platforms including AWS, Azure, GCP, IBM Cloud, Oracle Cloud, and VMware. It ensures uniform security and compliance enforcement across all these environments.
In a multi cloud or hybrid environment, Aqua can help with:
- Cross-environment segmentation—Aqua provides a container firewall that segments workloads within the same environment or across clouds, preventing attacks from spreading, the spread of attacks, without interfering with cloud deployments.
- Multi-tenancy control and security—Aqua can manage multiple team deployments or customer tenancies from a central console. It maintains separation of data and access, ensuring complete isolation between tenants.
- Scanning images and functions—Aqua scans container images and serverless functions for known vulnerabilities, embedded secrets, OSS licensing issues, malware, and configuration issues before they are deployed.
- Protect serverless workloads—Aqua protects serverless environments such as AWS Fargate and Azure Container Instances, from a single console with consistent policy enforcement.
- Infrastructure Security — Aqua Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) provides scanning, monitoring, and remediation of configuration issues in public cloud accounts.
- Multi-Cloud Visibility—Aqua CSPM continually audits cloud accounts for security risks and misconfigurations across hundreds of configuration settings and compliance best practices to enable consistent, unified multi-cloud security.
- Rapid Remediation of Misconfigurations—Aqua provides self-securing capabilities to ensure cloud accounts do not drift out of compliance and delivers detailed, actionable advice and alerts, or choose automatic remediation of misconfigurations with granular control over chosen fixes.
- Enterprise Scale—Aqua supports hundreds of cloud accounts using an extensible plugin architecture. It is also API/Cloud Dev friendly, uses SSO with SAML 2.0 and integrates with many popular productivity tools.