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Securely Enable Multi-Cloud Architecture for a Future-Ready Workplace

Securely Enable Multi-Cloud Architecture for a Future-Ready Workplace

Blog Article Published: 07/26/2022

This blog was originally published by HCL Technologies here.

Written by Magnus Hultman, Sales Director, Cybersecurity & GRC Services, HCL Technologies.

The adoption of new technologies has invariably accelerated the digital transformation of businesses and their ways of working. With constant adaptation, corporate structures and policies are continuing to evolve and innovate as employee mobility becomes more important than ever before. Ensuring such changes enhance operations without hampering productivity has led to the natural migration toward hybrid cloud environments. But a key part of ensuring success depends on the resilience and preparedness of enterprise network security.

As both internal and external threats continue to grow exponentially, traditional security models of ‘trust but verify’ are no longer a sufficient approach. Keeping pace with these rapid changes has prompted organizations and security professionals to reassess their security postures and make fundamental shifts in how they secure multi-cloud architectures and meet workplace user requirements and expectations.

Technological drivers of transformation

A growing hybrid workforce and the continued migration to cloud means that data is no longer confined only to data centers and corporate locations – it is everywhere. A major part of the shift constitutes the very many legacy applications that are moving to hybrid cloud environments. This kind of upgrading warrants a fundamental shift in security. Similarly, data is not only everywhere but also increasing exponentially in scale and far more complex in its orientation.

The proliferation of IoT devices and the growing number of connected devices have contributed to this change. Despite disruptions in supply chain over the past two years, a survey predicts that there will be more than 27 billion IoT connections by 2025. Given these wide-ranging advancements in technology adoption, organizations have no choice but to adopt industry best practices, particularly in the areas of cybersecurity, privacy, security confidentiality, and newer government-mandated regulations.

The deployment of 5G will further the need for a robust security framework. At its full potential, 5G will be a critical infrastructure, amplifying connectivity, and empowering enterprises with greater connectivity of their machines and devices. With every implementation of a new digital technology, enterprises are faced with challenges. They must consider and apply the appropriate security for those connected devices.

Zero-trust architecture can resolve these issues by applying the right security to each of them (devices). The roll-out of 5G, new and improved hardware, along with the adoption of cloud-based solutions are making air gapping of OT more difficult in the midst of increasing security threats. Here too zero trust can enable organizations to connect to the OT securely. By segmenting and controlling access from and through it, zero trust can limit the lateral movement of threats.

During this period of accelerated growth there has also been a significant increase of cyberattacks, with reports stating a 50% increase each year. To deliver a more robust security framework and protect valuable data, countries are adding data security rules locally, making compliance rules more complex and difficult to maintain. These challenges will only continue to build unless organizations pivot their strategies and shift from legacy castle and moat security architecture to zero-trust strategy.

Managing the obstacles to progress

The high complexity of deploying a multi-cloud strategy increases the attack surface. Expanding to public cloud, SAAS, and so on increases the risk of cyberattacks raising new cloud security concerns. This is why zero trust is emerging as a way forward for user applications and work load communication. The zero trust architecture was created based on a realization that traditional security models operate on the outdated assumption that everything within an organization’s network can be inherently trusted.

Enterprises today are looking across different environments and different trust factor solutions for a unified platform to be able to have the same level of visibility across different clouds and therefore, across different use cases. However, they still have a few hurdles to overcome. As cloud adoption grows rapidly, moving legacy applications at a fast pace to hybrid cloud environments and understanding the security controls that need to be implemented are imperative.

In order to realize the full potential of their transformation investment, organizations must implement DevSecOps while developing applications. Although cybersecurity sits at the top three list of the biggest risks for companies, many customers still struggle to align their digital transformation roadmap with their businesses. Organizations must prioritize investing into security to not lose out momentum in their marketplace.

Whether it be gaining extra data analytics, driving efficiency, or simply enabling the workforce to have better working capabilities, enterprises must not miss out on the various use cases digital transformation offers today. During a digital transformation, sometimes the process of linear thinking cannot provide the desired results. In such cases, rationally challenging the status quo and using rogue thinking is necessary to drive digital business transformation and gain returns.

The way forward

According to reports, 2021 broke the record for new zero-day attacks that have been caught by cybersecurity defenders. In light of the recent attacks such as Log4J, enterprises need to be more cautious and ensure that their IT teams are equipped to successfully generate value from their digital transformation program. Re-evaluating skills, identifying gaps, and implementing the necessary training and education must be an ongoing process both at the business unit and enterprise level.

However, the true risk lies in the traditional security model of castle and moat architecture that encourages trust and the assumption that everything within the organization’s network must be implicitly trusted. Aside from security hygiene such as patching and managing vulnerabilities, organizations must embrace zero-trust architecture with the assumption of ‘never trust, always verify’.

Therefore, the true way forward is to mitigate future vulnerabilities by securing your data and your users. Implement a zero-trust architecture and have true controls within your environment with strong authentication methods by preventing lateral movement of threats and leveraging network segmentation. Security must not be viewed as an inhibitor or obstacle to businesses, but rather as a key business enabler for modern business.

As companies become more aware of the possibilities that digital transformation has to offer, the challenge has always been to make it easier and more feasible. Companies need a plan to adopt the right technology, adopt it in the right way, and in a secure and effective manner. With such a solution provider by your side, you can securely embark upon your digital transformation journey.

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