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Multi-cloud Security Best Practices

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By: Nihad Hassan

August 20, 2021

Digital transformation is accelerating to include all of an organization's work aspects. Regardless of their size and industry, organizations are increasingly utilizing digital technology to facilitate work operations and improve efficiencies. The most apparent aspect of the increased usage of IT technology is the increased usage of cloud computing models in the business world.

According to ComputerWorld UK, 80% of organizations are predicted to migrate toward the cloud, hosting, and colocation services by 2025. While a study conducted by Flexera in 2021 found that 92% of enterprises have a multi-cloud strategy.

No matter the size of your organization, there are many benefits to adopting cloud computing in work. For instance, discontinue purchasing new computer hardware and the cost for maintaining them over time, pay for software license according to your need only, and better manage disaster recovery and other security incidents.

There are different cloud computing models; the most notable ones are Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Many organizations utilize cloud services from different vendors in their IT infrastructure; this service model is known as the multi-cloud model.

Multi-cloud is a cloud computing model formed from more than one cloud service from different cloud vendors utilized in a single network architecture. The cloud service can be either from a public provider (e.g., Amazon) or private (created and managed by a single organization for its use). An example of a multi-cloud installation is when an organization uses a SaaS from a cloud provider (e.g., Google) and integrates it with its on-premises IT infrastructure or another IaaS provider (e.g., Amazon cloud service).

Despite the great benefit of migrating to the cloud, however, multi-cloud means work for security. The following lines will suggest some security measures that any organization utilizing multi-cloud should consider.

Multi-Cloud Security Best Practices

Understand the security implications of each party involved in the multi-cloud environment

An organization utilizing multi-cloud must carefully understand the security implications of adopting this model, especially concerning its business partners and other stockholders.

For instance, cloud service providers are responsible for managing their IT infrastructure. However, they still provide primary security functions to their clients to protect their cloud assets, such as Multi-factor authentication, encrypting data at rest and in transit, and identity and access management.

The security of data]in a multi-cloud environment is the responsibility of the data owner. Hence, your organization must take care when accessing cloud data using applications from a third-party provider or using in-house developed apps. Such unsecured cloud apps cause many cloud data breaches in addition to other losses in productivity. According to G2, The average company has 975 unknown cloud services. Another study from EMC found that data loss and downtime cost $1.7 trillion each year because of shadow IT security breaches.

Your employees must also adhere to IT security policies when accessing cloud data; they must implement all security controls and avoid installing cloud apps that may compromise cloud data.

Select the right cloud service provider

The cloud services market is undergoing hot competition, with each cloud provider offering distinct features to attract more customers. The following list some criteria to help you select the best cloud provider to ensure you have a successful long term cloud strategy:

  1. Develop an internal checklist with your business requirements (including technical, service, security, data governance such as GDPR and PCI DSS, and service management) for adopting multi-cloud. After that, compile a list of cloud providers and compare their offerings with your checklist.

  2. Select the providers that comply with recognized standards and quality frameworks such as ISO 27001.

  3. Ensure your future cloud provider utilizes the best technology that aligns with your business needs now and in the future.

  4. Check cloud provider innovation strategy, always select the one that continually invests in improving its service offering, and make sure such advancements align with your business growth goals in the long run.

  5. Check the cloud provider data governance issues. For instance, if your organization is storing or processing customers' information in some way, it is subject to various regulatory compliance frameworks such as HIPAA, PCI DSS, and GDPR. You must know the physical location where the subject cloud provider stores its data and make sure cloud provider server locations do not oppose your current commitment to the enforced compliance frameworks.

Retain visibility to monitor your data for possible vulnerability

When utilizing a multi-cloud service, you transfer a large part of your security responsibilities to the cloud provider. However, this does not make you uphold all your security responsibilities. Considering this fact, an organization should deploy IDS/IPS and make sure to monitor their logs; a third-party provider can be outsourced to perform vulnerability scanning and security monitoring tasks.


As many organizations opt to use a multi-cloud service model, the need arises to have a clear strategy to plan your defenses against cyber threats. This article shed light on some areas that should be considered before utilizing this widespread cloud model.

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