How to Protect Data in a Multi Cloud Environment? 5 Best Practices

The penetration of multi-cloud has grown enormously in last couple of years, it has become an essential part of organizations day to day operations. The adoption of cloud brings with it some vows such as vendor lock-in concerns but at the same time better resiliency, improved disaster recovery and performance enhancement in hosted applications but all at ongoing streaming costs. Global spending on cloud expected to reach $1.3 trillion by year 2025 as predicted by Gartner and would be primary driver for digital economy.

Data protection and increased dependency on cloud (multi-cloud) is a growing concern among organizations. Different clouds can be chosen by company departments creating data silos which has profound impact on cloud security and its compliance. 

Today we look more in detail about how security leaders in the era of multi cloud computing can take conscious and informed decisions to protect data in a cloud environment.

Best Practices to Protect Data: Multi Cloud Environments

Multi-cloud architecture makes data migration a cake walk but management of huge volumes of data and maintaining its confidentiality can be challenging. Let’s look at some important decisions Security leaders can implement to make it secure.

Confidential Data Encryption

Information and data is a valuable commodity and vulnerable at all junctions of connectivity. The most effective method of handling this vulnerability is keeping data in a secure form and making it secure from prying eyes using encryption techniques. At Rest and in motion both encryption of data is critical.

For super secure encryption data should be encrypted with an FIPS certified, random generation, AES 256-bit highest level of encryption keys. Confidential information can be stored locally or on cloud storage, sent via email, stored on hard drives, file sharing service, shared via file transfer protocol should be encrypted. Ongoing protection can be guaranteed giving security leaders peace of mind that business information remains confidential.

Centralized Management of Remote Access

Use of multi-cloud environments means sensitive and confidential data is stored in silos and move across number of servers, it is important to have a holistic view of data journey throughout the enterprise, and have a view who holds the data, location of data (where it is stored), and who has access permissions to that data within the enterprise.

  • Establish geo-fencing and time-fencing controls,
  • encrypt filenames, and
  • enable or disable remote access based on the business requirements.

Imposing such controls eliminates the unnecessary security issues and risks.

Management of keys for encrypted information is another important area to look into. Copy of physically encrypted key can be given to authorized users; randomly generated encryption keys stored within a moveable media like USB to permit real time collaboration in cloud. Key management systems provide greater control of encryption keys in a multi-cloud environment and help to facilitate centralized management of and administration of data security. 

Automation of End to End Processes

Ensure to establish comprehensive automation for security audits, controls, patching, and configuration management while deploying applications across multiple cloud providers. It is crucial to fully integrate automation into every phase of DevOps and product management.

Comprehensive Backup and Disaster Recovery Plan

In a multicloud environment, ensuring data security requires the implementation of a thorough backup and disaster recovery strategy. This strategy should encompass routine backups of crucial information and establish a transparent procedure for data restoration in the event of a security incident or disaster.

Multi-factor Authentication

Clear processes need to be in place for all employees to follow to maintain compliance to data security regulations irrespective of where they decide to keep data. Security measures need to go beyond simple password mechanisms instead multi-factor authentication to help to maintain data protection governance and is an important step towards policies standardization, procedures, and process adherence across multiple cloud providers.

If a malicious actor gains credentials of user and account is compromised, cloud provider could not ascertain or identify the breach as it cannot differentiate between a legit user and threat actor. Using encryption keys and maintaining encryption keys remotely from the cloud is one of the strongest methods and takes security to the next level – the cloud account login – to five factors of authentication. Using Common Criteria EAL5+ secure microprocessor with a PIN authenticated code encryption key itself can be encrypted.

Zero Trust Data Protection

Implement the strategy of zero trust data protection. Zero Trust is a cybersecurity framework that eradicates the notion of ‘trust’ found in conventional security models. In essence, it entails having no trust in anyone and consistently verifying identities and granting minimal privileges. This ensures that once a user’s identity is confirmed, they are only provided access to the specific role assigned to them.

Key Aspects

Some key aspects can be taken into consideration to secure multi-cloud environments 

  • Elaborate plans for cloud disaster recovery
  • Elaborate system architecture for security
  • Configuring data loss prevention (DLP)
  • All necessary laws and regulations to be followed during operations
  • Updation of 3rd party tools as required
  • Creation of privileges and access rules
  • Implement secure deployment techniques
  • Monitoring of cloud infrastructure
  • Detection and handling of security incidents

As more and more businesses are moving to a multi-cloud environment, security leaders need to follow such recommendations; encryption and centralized management of remote access, multi-factor authentication implementation to add more layers of security and advanced protection methods along with no impact on sharing and collaboration in real time. Management of all devices storing the encrypted encryption key, used to access data in the cloud, have a unified administration and monitoring process, adoption of such an approach which will bring peace of mind and, ultimately, result in secure data. 

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