How Zero Trust Closes Security Gaps in Multicloud Technology Stacks

This article is part of a special issue of VB. Read the full series here: Zero trust: The new security paradigm.

Mergers, acquisitions, and private equity consolidations are combining companies to create new businesses, leading to more multicloud technology stacks and increased urgency to get the right zero trust. Acquisitions almost always lead to the integration and consolidation of technology stacks, especially in the area of ​​cybersecurity. As a result, nearly all CISOs have consolidation plans on their roadmaps, up from 61% in 2021.

Ninety-six percent of CISOs also plan to consolidate their security platforms, believing that consolidating their technology stacks will help them avoid missing threats (57%) and reduce the need to find security specialists qualified (56%) while streamlining the correlation process and visualizing the results through their threat landscape (46%).

Cybersecurity vendors, including CrowdStrike, are achieving revenue growth by providing customers with a clear path to consolidate their technology stacks.

Why companies choose multicloud

Multicloud is the de facto standard for cloud infrastructure, with 89% of enterprises adopting multicloud configurations, according to Flexera’s State of the Cloud 2022 report.

The most common motivations for enterprises to adopt a multicloud approach include improving availability; the best innovations on the market; compliance requirements; bargaining parity in negotiations with cloud providers; and avoid dependence on suppliers. Large companies are also looking to gain greater geographic coverage of their global operations.

CIOs tell VentureBeat that there is a need today to develop a business case that shows how spending on multicloud infrastructure will increase cloud adoption, improve cost savings and contribute to revenue gains. Boards and C-level governance teams want to understand how spending on multicloud strategies will be secure, make economic sense, and help improve business resiliency and responsiveness.

Defining multicloud

According to Gartner’s definition, “a multicloud strategy is the deliberate use of cloud services from multiple public cloud providers for the same general class of computing solutions or workloads – almost always IaaS and/or PaaS, not SaaS. many organizations are “accidentally” becoming multicloud (due to poor governance, M&A, etc.), rather than deliberately adopting a multicloud strategy.”

Hyperscalers including Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform offer comprehensive platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) support and support extended to developers and future roadmaps. reflecting expertise in AI and machine learning (ML).

As a result, enterprises are adopting and maintaining multicloud infrastructure strategies in order to gain access to the innovations that hyperscalers are working on today. However, developing the core skill set needed to manage each hyperscaler is an ongoing challenge for many IT departments, as are the increased costs of a multicloud strategy resulting from reduced discounts.

Multicloud strategies often have a hybrid cloud component, as most organizations also rely on the integration of private and public cloud platforms to support integrated, often parallel, tasks within an enterprise . Source: Flexera 2022 State of the Cloud Report

Getting Started with Zero Trust for Multicloud Technology Stacks

CISOs tell VentureBeat that one of the best ways to ensure the success of a Trustless Network Access (ZTNA) framework is to first make it clear to senior management and the board where it stands. set the limits of implementation. Defining which hyperscaler partner will be responsible for which area of ​​the tech stack is a table stake.

One of the best ways to do this is to use the shared responsibility model. Many organizations trust Amazon because of its clear approach to defining identity and access management (IAM). To build a ZTNA framework, organizations need to find IAM, PAM, microsegmentation, and multi-factor authentication (MFA) that can traverse each hyperscaler’s cloud platform.

AWS Shared Responsibility Model
Each hyperscaler has its unique version of the shared responsibility model, but all share a common set of guidelines that are reflected in the AWS version. The purpose of the model is to define which areas customers are responsible for in the cloud versus which areas AWS is responsible for. Source: AWS Shared Responsibility Model

Zero trust must be built in to produce results

“Zero Trust requires protection everywhere – ensuring that some of the biggest vulnerabilities such as endpoints and cloud environments are automatically and always protected,” said Kapil Raina, Vice President of Zero Trust Marketing, Identity and Data Security at CrowdStrike. , to VentureBeat during a recent interview. “Since most threats enter an enterprise environment either through the endpoint or through a workload, protection must start there and then evolve to protect the rest of the IT stack.”

Raina’s comments reflect the best way for organizations to approach securing multicloud technology stacks as part of a ZTNA framework. Initial steps include the following:

Define baseline requirements for an Identity Access Management (IAM) and Privileged Access Management (PAM) system that can span multiple hyperscalers.

Don’t settle for the IAM and PAM provided by every hyperscaler vendor, even if they promise it can fill the gaps in multicloud setups. Cyberattackers innovate faster than businesses and, in many cases, faster than cybersecurity vendors. Leverage CISO pressure on vendors to consolidate IAM, PAM, and other core applications onto a common platform. The cloud has taken over the PAM market and is the fastest growing platform for the IAM system. The majority, 70%, of new access management, governance, administration, and privileged access deployments will be on converged IAM and PAM platforms by 2025.

Reduce and eliminate emergency security projects to fix broken and inaccurate multicloud configurations.

Acquired IT teams are often embroiled in fire drills because multicloud technology stack integrations rarely go smoothly. Poor security configurations can expose thousands of endpoints and lead to intrusions and breaches. Recent CrowdStrike announcements, Google Cloud’s recent integration with Lacework, and other developments highlight why cloud-native application protection platforms (CNAPPs) are needed today.

Scott Fanning, senior director of product management, cloud security at CrowdStrike, told VentureBeat that the company’s approach to cloud infrastructure entitlement management (CIEM) enables enterprises to prevent Identity-based threats from turning into breaches due to misconfigured cloud entitlements on the public cloud. service providers. A primary design goal is to enforce least privileged access to clouds and provide continuous detection and remediation of identity threats.

Consider expanding beyond the logging and monitoring applications that each hyperscale offers to get a 360-degree view of all network activity.

On AWS, there is AWS CloudTrail and Amazon CloudWatch which monitors all API activities. On Microsoft Azure, there is Azure Security Logging and Auditing and Azure Monitor. Leaders in cloud monitoring tools include AppDynamics, Datadog, New Relic, Dynatrace, Sumo Logic, PagerDuty and many others.

Identify how an effective audit can be performed on the multicloud technology stack early in the ZTNA roadmap.

The more regulated the company, the more audits focus on the quality of securing data, especially in multicloud setups. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) all require ongoing audits, for example . Providing the reporting and audit trails required by these and other regulators must begin with understanding how multicloud integration plans are defined. Engineering compliance from the start of a multicloud integration effort saves millions of dollars and thousands of hours of manual reporting effort by automating each regulator’s unique reporting requirements.

Multicloud technology stacks that include AWS instances don’t need an entirely new identity infrastructure.

Quite the contrary. Creating duplicate identities increases cost, risk, overhead, and the burden of needing additional licenses. Existing Active Directory infrastructures can be extended through a variety of deployment options, each with its strengths and weaknesses. And while AWS provides key pairs for accessing Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) instances, its security best practices recommend using Active Directory or LDAP instead.

Multicloud technology stacks are all the rage

Multicloud technology stacks are becoming more common as mergers, acquisitions, and private equity consolidations create new companies by merging existing ones.

New businesses resulting from mergers, acquisitions, and private equity consolidations must enable smooth and rapid communication between departments to maintain revenue. This is why the integration of technology stacks becomes a top priority. Closing the gaps between technology stacks must begin with a strong ZTNA framework that provides least privileged access to resources, treats each identity as a new security perimeter, and stops intrusion attempts without slowing down the business’s ability to do his work.

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