Simplify Multi-Cloud Security in 5 Steps

Published:

Nov 22, 2022

Reading time:

6 Minutes

Many organizations have recently addressed the question of whether they should use a public cloud, their own private cloud, or a combination of the two. There are many good reasons to use a private cloud environment, but when your loads require significant compute resources, it might be better to use a public cloud. You can also employ a configuration method known as cloud bursting, where your workload “bursts” over to external cloud services when your on-prem infrastructure reaches its capacity limit. However, the reason why most organizations choose to use a private cloud in the first place is for security purposes, and they worry that adding a public cloud into the picture could potentially jeopardize their security posture.

We believe that there is a way to address these concerns. In this article, we will explain how you can simplify multi-cloud security. We’ll also introduce you to several tools from Orca Security that will help you secure your multi-cloud environment.

Hybrid and Multi-Cloud Environments

There are a few things that organizations need to know before they decide whether or not to use a hybrid or multi-cloud environment. For example, you’ll want to consider specific features, how cost effective the setup will be for your organization, and if you’re willing to be dependent on a single cloud provider.

Before we take a deep dive into the security of multi-cloud infrastructure, let’s define what the terms hybrid and multi-cloud mean in this context.

Hybrid Cloud

An organization that uses a private cloud as well as one public cloud is considered to have a hybrid cloud environment. For example, a private cloud is typically an on-premises data center, while a public cloud is usually a set of compute and networking resources.

Multi-Cloud

A hybrid cloud environment that utilizes two or more public cloud platforms or providers is called a multi-cloud environment. There are several reasons why an organization might decide to use two (or more) public cloud providers. For example, one provider might have particular expertise in Artificial Intelligence (AI), while the other uses Cloud Functions or has particular features that the organization needs.

Multi-Cloud Security

Since it involves public cloud providers, using a multi-cloud environment forces organizations to think about security. Given the complexity of cloud technology, organizations should implement security guardrails to secure their infrastructure.

There are 5 steps that we think organizations should implement to improve their multi-cloud security posture:

1. Know Who’s Responsible for What

Organizations that use a private cloud know that they are 100% responsible for their environment’s security, from patching the OS infrastructure to setting up and configuring IAM, RBAC, network policies, and more. When using a public cloud, on the other hand, the organization and the public cloud provider share responsibility for securing the environment. It’s essential that everyone knows which aspects of security are the organization’s responsibility, and which responsibilities fall to the public cloud vendor.

2. Adapt as Early as Possible

Regardless of whether you’re working in a private or public cloud environment, security is absolutely critical. In fact, security must become an integral part of your Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) workflow, and it should be adapted as early as possible. Integrating Orca’s Shift Left Security into your CI/CD workflow will enable you to scan your container images for misconfigurations, malware, IAM risks, lateral movement risks, and sensitive data exposures.

3. Leverage Infrastructure as Code (IaC)

The initial work of configuring cloud infrastructure can be daunting. Sometimes, going directly to Console or accessing the control plane via SSH to add, delete, and/or modify IAM, RBAC, and other policies can be the way to go. But that’s not a reliable solution for the long term. Infrastructure changes (such as updating IAM, network policies, and software) based on CVEs should be part of your code repository. The workflow associated with adding infrastructure changes to the code repository is called Infrastructure as Code (IaC). IaC is important because it ensures idempotence – and that changes are consistent, repeatable, and fast.

4. Automate Everything, If Possible

As cloud technology expands, so does the opportunity for automation. For example, network policies and CVEs are frequently updated, and new patches are often released for software and operating systems. In addition, organizations hire new employees who need access to certain information and/or data, while the access rights of employees who leave their team and/or organization must be restricted or completely terminated. All of these examples are perfect candidates for automation. In combination with Infrastructure as Code, automation can be key to successfully securing your multi-cloud environment. 

5. Be Proactive Through Visibility and Monitoring

Certain information should be easily visible to those who need it, such as whether or not your security policy is up to date, if specific data can only be accessed from your private cloud, or if your Ingress only allows a certain port number. This is where monitoring comes in. Monitoring gives you visibility into your security policy, and it allows you to add, delete, or change your policy so that it’s current and up to date with new security threats.

Take Control of Your Multi-Cloud Security

Regardless of whether you work in a private, public, hybrid, or multi-cloud environment, security is essential to your organization’s cloud infrastructure. Simple things like cloud misconfigurations, overly permissive RBAC or IAM policies, and inadequately protected data can make you vulnerable to attacks. Check out Orca Security’s Cloud Risk Encyclopedia (CRE), a public resource featuring cloud security and compliance risks and remediation strategies pulled directly from Orca’s cloud security platform, to learn more about securing your cloud infrastructure.

Orca Security enables you to detect and prioritize misconfigurations in your cloud as well as cloud IAM risks. With Orca’s Shift Left Security, you can utilize Infrastructure as Code (IaC) and implement security earlier in your pipeline. In addition, our Cloud Vulnerability Management gives you visibility into your cloud environment and enables you to actively monitor your security posture.

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Laurentius Purba is a Senior Platform Developer. He loves exploring new things. His background as a developer and DevOps engineer working with everything from on-prem to cloud infrastructure helps him understand the beauty of SDLC and the importance of platform.