The hybrid cloud is at the centerpiece of digital transformation. Today, more than 90 percent of enterprises report using a multi-cloud strategy, with most combining their use of public and private clouds. Investing in ICT solutions that offer secure cloud workloads protection in your hybrid clouds is very crucial for your business.
The good news is that this approach offers the necessary flexibility and scalability to support rapid innovation. The downside is that it often adds increased complexity and risk, making security an essential component across private and public clouds.
As enterprise teams deploy and manage critical workloads across multi-cloud environments, visibility into the security posture of workloads and controlling the attack surface are critical for securing data and maintaining operations.
Many distinct teams across the enterprise, including IT Ops and SecOps, are key stakeholders in the performance, availability, and security of cloud workloads. Keeping team members aligned rather than fragmented is also an essential success factor.
Deploying and managing solutions to provide secure cloud workloads protection and the implementation of apps in private, public, and hybrid clouds takes a village. What we once considered traditional IT has been replaced by a collective. IT Ops, DevOps, and SecOps now team together to deliver and secure apps and services from the cloud.
IT Ops, DevOps, and SecOps all share the responsibility of maintaining the security and availability of critical workloads
in the cloud.
The best way to make the most of digital transformation is to accept how much of a paradigm shift it represents. Old risk management models no longer apply when change is a constant and there are so many cooks in the kitchen.
When securing cloud workloads, enterprise teams need to:
Step One: Increase visibility – Identify unknown or undetected risks in workload
• Why this is a challenge – You cannot manage risks you don’t know exist. Unfortunately, most virtual machine (VM) administrators lack visibility into how the apps and workloads running on their VMs are potentially vulnerable to attacks.
While an attacker only needs to identify and exploit a single vulnerability to gain unauthorized access, those protecting
it need to know all the ways it can be exploited so they can close those holes. Plus, once vulnerabilities are identified, gaining consensus between IT Ops and SecOps on which vulnerabilities are the highest priority to fix, why and when, is not always straightforward.
Example – Joe is a site reliability engineer (SRE) for a large healthcare services company. He’s responsible for managing their private cloud infrastructure, which includes servers, workloads, and apps that process sensitive healthcare data. Joe knows that he needs to identify and mitigate any vulnerabilities that may impact compliance or expose the patient
That said, service performance, availability, and uptime are top priorities for Joe and the other SREs on his team. After all, patient care is mission-critical. Currently, Joe expects Sarah, a security analyst, to tell him when a scheduled scan
detects a high severity vulnerability that requires mitigation. They often disagree on the best course of action because each uses a different toolset.
Without a common system of record, reaching a consensus on these critical issues remains elusive: Which vulnerabilities have the highest priority, are these compensating controls sufficient, what are attackers targeting and how, and so on.
• What’s needed: Cross-domain risk discovery – Discover all cloud workload risks—from all angles and attack vectors—and use a common system of record to manage them. If a patch cannot be implemented due to downtime risk, gain consensus on a compensating control, or set up a watchlist to detect when the vulnerability is targeted
Step Two: Speed recovery – Accelerate risk recovery by building resilience into cloud workloads
• Why this is a challenge – For most enterprises, data breaches have become not a question of if, but when. During a breach, knowing the extent or blast radius of the exposure is critical to prevent similar outbreaks in the future. Additionally, these insights are fundamental for a rapid and complete recovery. The challenge is one of the competing
For DevOps and IT Ops teams, their priority is to restore services as quickly as possible, even if that means destroying forensic evidence and artifacts the SecOps team needs to identify and investigate the source and full scope of the attack.
• Example – Recovering from a ransomware attack within your cloud environment can be costly, complicated, and labor-intensive. These outbreaks can migrate from workload to the servers hosting them to the endpoints used by employees to access these workloads.
The goal is to reduce the attack surface for the ransomware attack by shutting down the early stages of the attack—code execution within the workload itself—before the toolset is fully deployed or the command and control (C2) connections are set up to exfiltrate or encrypt the data for ransom.
• What’s needed: Risk resilience – Restoring services rapidly after a breach or malware attack and retaining the data needed to perform forensic investigations is possible in the cloud providing you have the right workload security platform. In fact, bridging this divide is a key aspect of building risk resilience into your cloud workloads. Managing workload and endpoint security from the same platform enables teams to identify risks across these control points and pursue a more resilient recovery strategy.
Step Three: Simplify security – Unify risk mitigation across workloads, endpoints, and containers
• Why this is a challenge – Managing risk in cloud workloads using traditional point solutions leads to stovepipe processes that add operational overhead and compound risk.
Using different security tools based on the public cloud provider, host OS, or type of cloud (private vs. public), puts a consistent risk mitigation strategy out of practical reach. After all, when there is no single source of truth on security, teams cannot agree on how to prevent malware outbreaks, find and fix misconfigurations, or contain fast-moving threats.
• Example – To optimize operational resiliency, some IT Ops teams choose to use multiple cloud providers or combine their use of private and public cloud infrastructure. Without a truly agnostic security policy that can transcend these environments, teams are left with either a patchwork set of controls or are stuck staying with a single cloud service provider or cloud architecture (private or public).
• What’s needed: Unified security – The goal is to deploy unified security designed for the cloud and applied uniformly, regardless of where the workload is located (public vs. private cloud). Using single lifecycle management across clouds, workloads and containers enable a consistent and extensive security policy and risk mitigation strategy.
Contact Musato Technologies today to learn how to deploy secure cloud workloads protection and find out more about our ICT services and solutions that empower businesses to be successful in implementing digital transformation.
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