As the cloud becomes more integral to national security operations, customers are opting for a cloud architecture to optimize their workloads across various cloud service providers (CSP), or a combination of on-premise and cloud (hybrid). While these choices may stem from desires for greater adaptability or specific project requirements, as architectures grow in complexity, so does the challenge of protecting the workloads.
How do we ensure security across cloud, multicloud, and hybrid cloud infrastructure? Given the global cybersecurity skill gap, how do we ensure our technical teams are empowered by the variety of security tools available to them rather than having to reskill as new products and vendors enter the market?
Additional security considerations in a multicloud or hybrid architecture
Organizations with existing cloud assets often consider placing new workloads on a different provider’s platform. Some applications may require different native capabilities, or the organization may simply want to diversify their environment. What’s important, then, is for the technical team to ensure complete control and visibility across clouds and on-premise platforms.
A multicloud environment can present new challenges but there are basic similarities to managing a single cloud infrastructure. These include the need for data encryption, threat detection, regular audits, continuous monitoring, identity and access management, strong authentication and authorization practices, data backup, disaster recovery, and compliance and governance.
The adoption of multicloud and hybrid cloud infrastructures results in the same risks as any unprotected cloud environment, requiring architectures that include plans for data encryption, threat detection, continuous monitoring, etc. These environments have additional risk due to potential for lack of interoperability and limited visibility across products, training gaps, and lack of unified management and governance.
Platforms support workloads, not the other way around
For all the positives of modernization, cloud-native and hybrid environments create additional points of entry that bad actors may exploit. Multicloud solutions create additional challenges, with more platforms to manage and additional attack surfaces. In response, platform providers have put cloud security at the center of their approaches. As such, it is essential to fully understand the security controls platform providers offer, and whether the controls work across different cloud environments.
But beyond “securing the cloud,” there is also a need to ensure that the workloads themselves are protected from threats. Securing a workload focuses on protecting the mission capabilities housed on cloud environments. To support this, it’s important to seek out tools that enable security from application to platform and from core to edge.
Securing workloads takes technology and training
The Department of Defense is currently dealing with the proliferation of tools and clouds. Consolidating on the right technologies supports faster decision making, decreasing the time needed to mitigate an attack.
It’s essential to give warfighters greater visibility into the security of applications and data wherever they reside. This is crucial both for controlling costs and ensuring that they are using the best tools for the job. But there’s another, foundational concern: retaining trained personnel.
By streamlining the toolsets used to manage and secure the workloads wherever they run, the information those systems provide becomes more easily consumed and leveraged. This also means that training takes less time, and upskilling provides opportunities for personnel to build long-lasting careers. As a result, the Department of Defense can now create a culture of learning that translates into more effective operators and can support the retention of skilled operators.
Where mission and platform meet
Bad actors are constantly inventing new methods and capabilities to infiltrate systems. How can the DoD stay ahead of them, especially across cloud platforms? The workload first approach prioritizes workload level visibility regardless of the platforms on which they run.
This is where industry plays a crucial role in providing tools that work across hybrid environments, single cloud, or multicloud; including the visibility and continuous evaluations to spot anomalies early. Security exists as an added layer on top of the underlying infrastructure; regardless of where those individual workloads may reside.
Rather than shoehorn defense users into the provider’s model, the right cloud security solutions embrace the DoD’s priorities, empowering warfighters wherever the mission takes them. CTA: Discover how a workload-first approach can secure applications and data across your cloud environment at aka.ms/classifiedmissioncloud