Best Practices for Operating in Multiple Cloud Environments

February 27th, 2019
Amol Dalvi
Amol DalviVP, Product

As the name suggests, a multiple cloud environment is one where your cloud network is made up of solutions from more than one cloud services provider. Some of a business’ data might be in their own private cloud, while others are using resources provided by Amazon Web Services, while others still are hosted physically via Microsoft Azure.

For many organizations, this is a way to take advantage of the “best of both worlds” – creating a perfect storm of an infrastructure that offers resources where you need them, exactly how you need them, that you can move between at a moment’s notice. This does, of course, make things decidedly trickier once you enter the topic of data security and privacy.

Because of this, there are a few key best practices that you’ll want to follow to keep you, your people, your data and your very business safe from harm:

Security & Compliance

All cloud vendors must be chosen carefully. You should understand the unique cyber security policies of each one, where they overlap and, most critically, where they don’t.

If one of your cloud vendors is not compliant with rules and regulations in your industry, your business is not compliant. If one of your cloud vendors is lax on security, your business is lax on security – end of story. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link and this is one situation where a weak link of any kind cannot be afforded.

Understand that security is not a product – it is a process. Because of that, there is no “one solution” that allows you to simply forget about or de-emphasize cyber security. You should constantly be scanning and analyzing both your public and your private cloud resources; addressing small problems today before they have a chance to become loopholes and vulnerabilities to be exploited tomorrow.
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Visibility

You need total visibility, which means optimizing your environments as much as possible. Your cloud partners should be able to provide you with a complete set of metrics to give you insight into the totality of your multi-cloud environment at all times.

Without this level of visibility, you won’t be able to identify over-provisioned resources (for cost savings) and zombie assets (which could potentially be used as a way to gain access into your infrastructure from someone on the outside).

Automation

Policy-driven automation is a must. Effectively managing the security of a multi-cloud environment is incredibly difficult, in large part because they’re so massive. Because of that, you need to embrace automation whenever you can. Create policies that alert you to over or under-utilized resources. Set up notifications for situations where employees are failing to comply with cloud security policies.

Offload whatever administrative tasks you can to automation so that your actual, human employees can devote the maximum amount of attention on protecting that environment at all costs.

Follow these quick tips when tackling the management of multi-cloud environments. If you have any other best practice recommendations, we’d love to hear about them in the comment section.