Multi-cloud infrastructures and the new wave of security challenges.

To quote the 500 BCE pre-Socratic philosopher Heraclitus, “change is the only constant,” and when it comes to today’s ever-transforming world – especially this decade, which is witnessing the introduction of new terms into the lexicon, from Web 3.0 and NFT (Non-Fungible Token) to Crypto and Blockchain. Cloud computing, which is just a few years younger than the internet, is also adopting new advances, namely the multi-cloud technology. However, as infamously, the residents of Troy learned the hard way no wall is impenetrable during the trojan war. The same goes for any technology today. While multi-cloud offers an array of advantages, empowering organizations to drive maximum growth, it also poses some serious concerns and comes with its own challenges.

Multi-Cloud Infrastructure uses cloud services from a combination of hyperscalers, which can be as simple as using software-as-a-service (SaaS) from different hyperscalers. A multi-cloud can have two or more public clouds, two or more private clouds, or a combination of public and private clouds to distribute its services. Cloud computing can provide resources that are cost-effective, efficient, and reliable. Reduced costs, rapid implementation, flexibility, and dynamic scalability are all advantages for a multi-cloud user. Cloud computing lowers capital and operational expenditure for Software and hardware by providing services and resources that may be accessed on demand in a self-service environment, scalable, and paid for as consumed. Despite these advantages, cloud computing has not been as widely used as anticipated because of worries about security and other challenges.

Security and privacy issues are the biggest deterrents to cloud adoption. A cloud provider offers several services, including storage, in addition to Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS), and Platform as a Service (PaaS). Concerns about providing user data to companies that offer these services exist inside some businesses.

Many obstacles push an organization from converting to the cloud; the most significant security challenges are as follows:

Managing multiple configurations in a multi-cloud environment is always a challenge. It requires thorough checking, driving automated configuration and end-to-end security monitoring to proactively check and fix the issues.

Managing Permissions and Access controls in a multi-cloud environment is always challenging to ensure we create, configure, and manage the security policies across the hyperscaler environments. Managing the consistent replication of security policies and managing them needs centralized management and control of all the multi-cloud environments to consistently secure and access policies across the board.

Managing patch management to handle consistent threats and vulnerabilities in multi-scaler environments is always a major security challenge. Any missing configuration patch can lead to higher security vulnerability to handle.

Lack of Redundancy: In case of a cyber-attack or mishap in the cloud, a typical step is activating the secondary data site since the primary data site is under siege. In this case, the synchronous and asynchronous backup of the data is not possible, and all the information is stored in the local storage. This unavailability of data synchronization can potentially infect the whole system.

3rd Party Dependency: Multi-Cloud service users are not in control of their data backup, as the service provider executes multi-cloud backup. Consumers of multi-cloud need to ensure their trust in the 3rd party service provider for that. Hence it becomes essential for multi-cloud users to consider the track record of the multi-cloud service provider to ensure data backup responsibility.

High latency in failure detection: The length of time that is required to detect a failure will have a substantial effect on the length of time that the system is inoperable. Immediate detection and reporting of failures are essential. However, where multiple backup sites are involved, immediately distinguishing between disruption of service and a network failure may prove difficult.

Ultimately, using a multi-cloud strategy may take advantage of the best features each cloud offers. But there are specific difficulties and things to think about with this approach. Because of this, you must assess and determine the best security management and monitoring tools, which can help manage the patches, access controls, policies configurations and proactive alerts. The security of production workloads is the hour’s need, irrespective of the multi-cloud platform you adopt.

Attributed to Bala Prasad Peddigari, Chief Innovation Officer, CMT Unit, Tata Consultancy Services Limited, Senior Member IEEE

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