Cloud adoption is increasing at a rapid pace as organisations look for new ways to process, store, and distribute information. For many organisations, deploying new cloud services is much easier than requesting a dedicated set of hardware from IT teams. Decentralised cloud adoption means different departments have the ability to source new cloud software or compute resources, or adopt new applications without burdening IT with requests. And because of the heterogeneous nature of this implementation, the use of various cloud providers in one organisation is not uncommon.
While each of these use cases provides flexibility for organisations, they also come with risk. Highly distributed resources can be difficult to manage, and the risk of Shadow IT – online resources that store corporate data, but that IT is unaware of – can actually violate data privacy laws. In addition, individual cloud infrastructures and one-off applications expand the organisation’s attack surface, introducing the risk of cyberattacks which can affect an entire organisation. In other words, when an organisation uses multiple applications, the potential for a serious breach is stronger than if a single application was deployed across the entire network.
Addressing the Challenges of Inconsistent Cloud Platforms
The constantly evolving threat landscape has resulted in the need for purpose-built tools designed to address a full range of risks across all network environments, including the cloud. In order to utilise these environments as effectively as possible, IT teams must be confident that there is the same level of security across all cloud platforms, otherwise the entire environment is exposed to the weakest link in the system.
“Organisations usually experience a lack of centralised security management, and therefore, reduced visibility and control – along with an inability to respond in a comprehensive fashion to a security breach – as a result of deploying multiple cloud solutions. Introducing new applications to the cloud also presents additional security risks and forces organisations to continually ensure they are meeting compliance requirements,” said Alex Loh, Fortinet’s Country Manager for Malaysia.
Achieving an effective level in cloud security therefore requires organisations to first establish and achieve a standard of visibility and control that enables operational efficiency while streamlining management. The following key strategies can be implemented to help secure organisations adopting new cloud applications:
- A unified set of security capabilities that can be applied consistently across all cloud platforms, resulting in a single, holistic security framework.
- Native integration of each security solution into each cloud platform for maximum flexibility and the assurance of consistent behaviour across each environment.
- A single layer of consistent management and automation that spans the distributed network, ensuring that policy can be orchestrated across the entire decentralised and heterogeneous cloud environment.
“Cloud adoption is continuing to rise in popularity due to the benefits this technology provides in terms of elasticity, scalability, and availability. Despite these benefits, organisations must be aware of the risks that can arise as a result of deploying disparate cloud environments. By implementing strategies that address challenges associated with the cloud, organisations can properly manage and make the most out of these infrastructures,” concluded Loh.