For years, organizations were hesitant to move workloads to cloud environments due to security concerns. However, those days are largely over. In fact, your customers are moving workloads into multiple clouds, leveraging applications, IaaS, and PaaS solutions that are run on and supported by various cloud service providers (CSPs) – all at once.
Multi-cloud strategies have proven to be successful, allowing various departments to purchase new tools regardless of which CSP supports them. It also helps your customers avoid vendor lock in and the costs that can come with it. Overall, multi-cloud environments facilitate digital transformation through scalability, reduced infrastructure cost, and the ability to collect and process data faster, which has become essential to creating positive customer experiences. This is why 86% of enterprises are now using a multi-cloud strategy.
For all of the benefits multi-cloud can bring, it can also present risk. With so many organizations using multi-cloud, this presents an opportunity for managed security services providers (MSSPs) to support security efforts across platforms, while growing business.
Multi-Cloud Security Risks for Your Customers
One of the most impactful ways multi-cloud strategies can harm your customers is by reducing visibility. This means reduced visibility into what exists within their networks, where data is stored, and how data is used. Various departments deploy cloud-based tools without necessarily going through procurement channels, which can lead to instances of shadow IT. Without knowledge of these tools, IT teams cannot ensure security controls are in place. Furthermore, multi-cloud means the customers’ data is stored in various locations throughout several CSPs. This drastically reduces visibility into how data is being used and by who, which can result in non-compliance. It also makes it more difficult to ensure each data point is properly secured and segmented.
Another challenge your customers face when it comes to multi-cloud security is ensuring alignment with the shared responsibility model. Many CSPs use this model when it comes to securing data within the cloud. The CSP takes responsibility for securing the infrastructure, while data security, application security, etc. are the responsibility of the user. As such, your customers must track which security controls are included by each individual CSP, and which they must provide across each service they use.
Finally, many organizations deploy cloud-based solutions thinking that their existing security infrastructure will suffice to protect these environments. However, while cloud is not inherently insecure the way many once believed, it requires different tools and processes than a traditional network. Thus, standard perimeter defenses will not be adequate to secure multi-cloud deployments.
How MSSPs Facilitate a Secure Multi-Cloud
With the majority of enterprises leveraging multi-cloud strategies, there’s an immense opportunity for MSSPs to grow their business while ensuring security and compliance for customers. This is especially true as organizations contend with the skills gap, often leaving them lacking the level of expertise necessary to secure these complex environments.
MSSPs can offer customers guidance on where they need to deploy additional controls in order to remain compliant with regulations and the shared responsibility model.
Beyond this, MSSPs can assist in mitigating common multi-cloud security challenges by deploying integrated controls that enable customers to regain visibility and manage each cloud deployment. This will specifically include advanced services such as:
- Next-generation firewall application controls
- Intrusion prevention
- Web application security
- Advanced threat management,
Integrated tools, such as a Security Fabric, enable customers to regain visibility into what is being stored and where, extending to each cloud and working collaboratively to locate at-risk data and detect threats.
MSSPs will also play a key role in centralizing security processes and incident management. In order to maintain visibility across cloud deployments in a way that enables the fast detection of anomalous or risky behavior, your customers need a single pane of glass view into incident data. This is where management and analysis tools will be key. For example, Fortinet’s FortiAnalyzer is able to aggregate log data from Fortinet tools as well as other solutions on the network, simplifying review of virus attacks, event data, and more. FortiManager offers a centralized management console to monitor each security device within the network, from firewalls to switches.
Furthermore, MSSPs can offer value as customers adopt multi-cloud strategies by encouraging the adoption of security solutions that can natively and consistently function across cloud platforms and on-premises environments. These tools will replace the traditional, disparate perimeter controls that cannot effectively secure cloud deployments.
Many organizations are turning to multi-cloud to keep pace with digital transformation. However, as they do so, they are introducing complexity into their networks which can ultimately result in increased risk, data loss, non-compliance, and more. MSSPs can take advantage of the growing need to secure these distributed networks leveraging integration, centralization, and security expertise.