Best Practices to Manage Multi-Cloud Environments

February 23, 2023 | By IANS Faculty

The number of enterprises using a multi-cloud deployment model are growing. However, despite increased adoption, the complexity of managing across cloud borders remains a major challenge. Multi-cloud success requires simpler management across mixed-cloud infrastructures.

This piece details the top opportunities and challenges associated with multi-cloud environments and offers recommendations for making them work.

Multi-Cloud Environment Advantages 

  • Ensures optimized deployments - resulting in more efficient workloads.
  • Helps avoid vendor lock-in -more choice and competition results in lower costs.
  • Enables speed – improves development and deployment times.
  • Promises flexibility – e.g., business continuity/disaster recovery and business continuity plans may eventually enable multi-cloud failover, high availability and better workload recovery.

Multi-Cloud Environment Challenges 

  • Security: It is difficult enough to understand the shared responsibility model for one cloud service provider (CSP), but now organizations must get educated on several.
  • Data management and integration: Multi-cloud deployments lack visibility across CSPs, and data and workloads often can’t be moved among environments.
  • Cost: Managing multiple CSPs is expensive, especially when it comes to talent and tooling.
  • Talent: The skills gap is a major issue, from both a developer and security perspective. Few security teams are proficient in one IaaS environment, never mind all three. Developers (especially AWS developers) tend to lean into what they know as well.
  • Tooling: This is where most of the costs come into play. Each CSP has must-have proprietary tools for their own environment, but they don’t work well across multiple clouds. It is difficult to budget for and manage both those and the third-party solutions necessary to really manage and secure multi-cloud deployments.

READ: Assess the Maturity Level of Your Cloud Security Program 

Tips for Multi-Cloud Governance and Compliance 

  • Prep for the added compliance complexity inherent with running multi-cloud and hybrid workloads.
  • Select a framework that covers the large CSPs and can help manage data privacy (e.g., NIST Cyber Security Framework, NIST 800-53 Rev. 4 or 5, or ISO/IEC 27001).
  • Partner with auditors to gain insights for best practices: Don’t wait until the audit. ISO/IEC 27001 is still the best certification to expose current baseline and continuous improvement. It is also a global standard.

Download: Six Key Control Areas of Cloud Security

Key Multi-Cloud Recommendations 

  • Understand which offerings are unique to a CSP and necessary for visibility, management and security.
  • Augment CSP-specific tools with third-party tools that provide multi-cloud coverage.
  • Put a plan in place to improve cross-CSP visibility and security.
  • Ensure your identity management tools will cover a multi-cloud deployment.
  • Apply a framework with consistent policy and controls.

Although reasonable efforts will be made to ensure the completeness and accuracy of the information contained in our blog posts, no liability can be accepted by IANS or our Faculty members for the results of any actions taken by individuals or firms in connection with such information, opinions, or advice.

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