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A Digital Transformation Dilemma

Dec 12, 2019 1:51:03 PM

Why Organizations Struggle to Secure Today’s Complex Cloud Environments

We live in times when the world is shifting at the speed of now. Within the modern enterprise, there is an urgency to move forward – quickly – with an impactful digital transformation, lest competitors do so first and leave everyone else far, far behind.

Four of five corporate board members, senior leaders and executives, in fact, believe that the digital transformation proves critical as companies attempt to compete and succeed, according to research from the Economist Intelligence Unit. Such initiatives frequently result in tangible and meaningful rewards, with three quarters of these board members, leaders and executives indicating that investment in the digital transformation will drive a business transformation, while increasing agility and value for stakeholders.

 Cloud adoption, of course, remains an essential component (but not the sole component) of the digital transformation. By next year, one-half of organizations will run more than 40 percent of their workloads in the public cloud, and nearly one-third will run more than 60 percent of their workloads there, according to a survey from the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA). In addition, these organizations are embracing an increasingly complex cloud architecture, with 66 percent committing to a multi-cloud environment (and 35 percent using at least three cloud platform vendors) and 55 percent operating in a hybrid-cloud environment.

With the forward progress, however, comes trepidation: Among those adopting cloud platforms, security remains the top concern, as cited by 81 percent of participants in the CSA survey.

In response, security teams have resorted to traditional tools and methods, such as layered defenses around data assets and manual monitoring/scanning, fixes and retesting. This may work when assets are on-premise. But when they migrate to multiple private and external clouds, traditional tools and methods cannot police the entire hybrid ecosystem. The inability to maintain secure configurations for cloud-located workloads ranks as the top cloud security challenge, according to research from Oracle and KPMG. And just one missed intrusion or accidental data exposure can cause costly damage.

Here at Caveonix, we work closely with customers to solve their problems and ensure a secure and compliant journey to the Hybrid Cloud. Today, in the first part of a blog series, we will reveal the four key issues that organizations face in attempting to secure their digital assets in modern, complex cloud environments. Then, as the series continues, we will explain how to solve each of the issues. They are as follows:

A loss of control – and visibility. The cloud liberates business units and users, but this liberation leads to the decentralization of everything. The units and users no longer have to go to IT or a security team to get approval for a technology purchase. They simply swipe a card and get what they want. Almost two-thirds of organizations allow this practice, which is most commonly known as “shadow IT,” and 43 percent do not formally involve IT in business-managed technology acquisition decisions, according to the Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey 2019 report. This results in a loss of control and visibility for chief information security officers (CISOs) and chief compliance officers – they often have no idea who is doing what, and where they are doing it. They need to reestablish that control and visibility in the complex hybrid cloud/multi-cloud environment, as activity spreads from the private cloud to vendor-provided clouds.

Information silos. Multiple clouds require multiple levels of expertise to oversee them. One team focuses on Microsoft Azure, and another on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and another on Google Cloud Platform and another on Alibaba Cloud, etc. This creates an abundance of information silos. There is no integration of the information, so that security pros can clearly see how an incident in, for example, the Google Cloud is impacting the AWS cloud.

Constant change. By its very nature, a hybrid cloud/multi-cloud environment is dynamic. It is always changing, and always updating. Limited to manual tools and processes, teams can’t keep up with the abundance of agile shifts in the cloud-centric world.

A lack of holistic orchestration. In earlier days, we described the internet as the “network of networks.” Today, we can describe the cloud as the “cloud of clouds.” The hybrid cloud/multi-cloud environment essentially functions as a disjointed datacenter. CISOs and chief compliance officers have individual tools and silos for every cloud stack, which means they need to go to multiple areas with multiple teams to respond to incidents. They would like to avoid this entirely, so they can manage security posture and policies at a holistic level. They would like to orchestrate a multi-cloud response that is achieved using just one layer of abstraction, from a common control plane. But they are unable to do so.

These are formidable challenges. So please come back to this space for our next blogs in this series, as we explain what we do at Caveonix to solve these problems for our customers. Meanwhile, if you are somewhere along the way to a fully realized digital transformation and seek an effective response to the new challenges of complex cloud environments and the protection of cyber assets, then we are eager to hear from you by contacting us.

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