Top 5 Challenges of Protecting Multi-Cloud Environment

As companies adapt to the constantly changing business landscape through digital transformation, multi-cloud strategies have become increasingly popular. However, managing multiple cloud providers and services is a unique challenge for IT and business leaders in this tech-driven environment.

Although the advantages of flexibility and performance optimization are evident, research indicates that complexities arise, such as lack of visibility and control, data protection, and regulatory issues. Nevertheless, implementing effective management strategies can mitigate the complications of multi-cloud environments and unlock the benefits.

This blog examines the multi-cloud environment, discusses the primary challenges that IT teams face when managing multi-cloud infrastructures, and offers solutions to overcome them, enabling companies to thrive in the dynamic world of technology.

Overview of Multi-Cloud Environment

The concept of multi-cloud refers to using cloud computing services from multiple providers by organizations to operate applications. This approach involves a combination of both private and public clouds, offering flexibility and avoiding dependence on a single vendor.

Multi-cloud solutions leverage advanced technologies like Kubernetes, allowing seamless application migration and optimization across different cloud platforms. It is also well-suited for DevOps practices and cloud-native technologies like containers and microservices.

Organizations can consistently build, operate, access, and secure applications by combining on-premises, private, public, and edge clouds. Adopting a multi-cloud approach allows deploying applications on suitable platforms, accelerating modernization initiatives, ensuring data sovereignty, and securing distributed workforces.

Multi-cloud delivers flexibility, enabling workload management across different cloud platforms and reducing risks. Ultimately, this approach optimizes resource utilization and facilitates consistent application management. Leading multi-cloud environments include Amazon Web Services (AWS) Multi-Cloud, Microsoft Azure Multi-Cloud, Google Cloud Anthos, IBM Cloud Satellite, and VMware Cloud Foundation.

  • AWS Multi-Cloud

Amazon Web Services (AWS) provides a broad range of cloud services that allow organizations to combine AWS resources with other cloud providers. It offers tools like AWS Outposts and AWS Direct Connect to effortlessly integrate on-premises infrastructure with the AWS cloud.

  • Microsoft Azure Multi-Cloud

Azure provides a robust multi-cloud environment that enables organizations to combine Azure services with other cloud platforms. It offers Azure Arc to manage and deploy resources across different settings, including on-premises, Azure, and other cloud providers.

  • Google Cloud Anthos

Anthos is a multi-cloud platform by Google Cloud that enables organizations to manage and deploy applications across multiple clouds, including Google Cloud, AWS, and Azure. It provides a consistent infrastructure and development experience across different environments.

  • IBM Cloud Satellite

IBM Cloud Satellite extends IBM Cloud services to various on-premises and edge locations. It offers a multi-cloud environment that allows organizations to run workloads and manage data across different clouds and infrastructures.

  • VMware Cloud Foundation

VMware Cloud Foundation is a multi-cloud platform that provides a consistent infrastructure and operational model across private and public clouds. It allows organizations to seamlessly integrate their on-premises VMware environment with popular public cloud providers.

These top multi-cloud environments allow organizations to choose the cloud services that best fit their requirements while ensuring consistent management and orchestration across diverse cloud platforms. By leveraging these environments, organizations can optimize resource utilization, enhance application scalability, and mitigate the risks of relying on a single cloud provider.

5 Challenges of Protecting a multi-cloud Environment

Despite its numerous advantages, protecting a multi-cloud environment poses several challenges that organizations must address. These include:

  • Lack of Visibility and Control

Since data and applications are dispersed across multiple cloud providers, it becomes complicated for organizations to have a complete picture of their security status. As a result, identifying potential threats becomes challenging, and responding to them effectively becomes even more daunting. Organizations may need help to determine the location of their data, access permissions, and the level of protection it has. For instance, an e-commerce company based in the UK that uses Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform for different business aspects may need help monitoring data transfers. Similar problems are possible in detecting unauthorized access attempts or identifying vulnerabilities across all platforms without centralized control and visibility.

  • Compliance and Regulatory Issues

It is essential for organizations that operate in multi-cloud environments to comply with regulatory and compliance requirements. However, each cloud platform may have unique compliance standards, making it challenging for organizations to maintain consistency across all providers. This poses a significant challenge, especially in highly regulated industries like finance, healthcare, and government. For instance, the UK financial sector abides by regulations such as the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) guidelines and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).

Organizations must ensure that each cloud provider adheres to these regulatory requirements when dealing with data stored and processed in multiple clouds. Failure to comply with these standards may result in severe consequences, including legal penalties, reputational damage, and loss of customer trust.

  • Data Protection

Organizations face the crucial challenge of securing data in a multi-cloud environment. They prioritize protecting data from unauthorized access, accidental loss, or breaches. In this scenario, organizations must ensure that they adopt uniform security measures across different platforms to maintain the confidentiality and integrity of data. Encryption is a crucial measure of data protection. It can help mitigate the risk of unauthorized access or interception of data, both at rest and in transit. Access controls, such as Role-Based Access Control (RBAC), should be in place to ensure that only authorized personnel can access sensitive data.

However, managing encryption keys, access policies, and data classification consistently across multiple clouds can be complex and prone to errors. In recent times, several organizations across the world have faced data breaches in multi-cloud environments. These incidents highlight the significance of implementing robust data protection practices and the repercussions of inadequate security measures.

  • Integration and Interoperability

Integrating and interoperating between different cloud platforms can be a daunting challenge for organizations in a multi-cloud environment. They often opt for a multi-cloud strategy to leverage each provider’s strengths and specialized services. However, this can be complex due to the different APIs, data formats, deployment models, and cloud providers’ management tools, making establishing smooth communication and data exchange challenging. The lack of integration can cause operational inefficiencies, data inconsistencies, and security vulnerabilities, leading to data loss or discrepancies and hindering business operations.

Enterprises also face integration and interoperability challenges when adopting multi-cloud environments since incompatibilities between APIs and data formats can impede the seamless flow of data and information, impacting critical business processes and compromising security. The complexity of integration also increases the risk of misconfigurations and human errors, leading to vulnerabilities that attackers can exploit. Hence, organizations must establish a robust integration strategy, implement standardized APIs, and leverage automation tools to streamline integration and ensure secure data exchange between cloud platforms.

  • Staffing and Skills

Effectively managing a multi-cloud environment necessitates a proficient and knowledgeable workforce that can grasp the intricacies of different cloud platforms and implement robust security measures. Nevertheless, finding and retaining skilled professionals with expertise in multi-cloud security can be daunting. The demand for cloud security experts surpasses the current supply, which results in a need for more qualified individuals in the job market. Moreover, the ever-evolving nature of cloud technologies requires ongoing learning and upskilling.

Organizations are confronted with the challenge of training and enhancing the skills of their existing workforce to meet the specific demands of securely managing a multi-cloud environment. To tackle this challenge, businesses should invest in thorough training programs, encourage their personnel to obtain certifications in cloud security and promote a culture of continuous learning. Collaboration with cloud service providers, participation in industry conferences and events, and utilizing knowledge-sharing platforms can also assist organizations in staying up to date with the latest advancements in multi-cloud security and building a proficient and skilled security team.

Storware for Multi-Cloud Data Protection

Storware Backup and Recovery emerges as a trailblazing, standalone solution for fortifying multi-cloud environments seamlessly under a single, comprehensive license. This cutting-edge system not only streamlines the complex task of safeguarding data across diverse cloud platforms but also provides a unified and efficient approach to backup and recovery processes. With Storware, organizations gain a singular, robust solution that caters to the intricate challenges of multi-cloud environments, offering a cohesive strategy for data protection. This innovative approach not only optimizes operational efficiency but also ensures a cost-effective and scalable solution for businesses navigating the complexities of modern cloud infrastructures. Storware Backup and Recovery stands as a beacon in the realm of data security, providing a unified shield against potential threats and disruptions across the dynamic landscape of multi-cloud ecosystems.

Final Thought

Businesses need help with safeguarding their multi-cloud environment. Challenges include insufficient control and visibility, compliance and regulatory concerns, data protection issues, intricate integration, and interoperability complications, and a shortage of skilled personnel. Organizations must implement robust security measures to address these challenges, stay up-to-date on the ever-changing cloud security landscape, and invest in skilled personnel and powerful integration strategies. By doing so, they can mitigate risks and enhance the security posture of their multi-cloud environment. In today’s digital age, protecting data confidentiality, integrity, and availability across numerous cloud platforms is crucial. Therefore, organizations must prioritize adopting comprehensive security practices to safeguard their cloud-based assets.

text written by:

Paweł Piskorz, Presales Engineer at Storware