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Article originally posted by Eyal Webber Zvik on Cato Networks blog
Cloud-based deployments provide many benefits to organizations, such as greater scalability, flexibility, and availability than many organizations can achieve in-house. However, cloud infrastructure also comes with its costs, such as the challenges of securing an organization’s on-premises and cloud environments. For organizations making the move to the cloud, redesigning their security strategies to protect multi-cloud deployments can pose a significant challenge.

Most Companies Are Multi-Cloud. Cloud adoption is growing rapidly as companies take advantage of the numerous benefits and advantages available with cloud infrastructure. However, most organizations are not selecting a single cloud provider to augment or replace their existing on-prem data centers. In fact, 89% of businesses have a multi-cloud strategy.

When looking to move to the cloud, many options are available, and different cloud platforms are optimized for particular use cases and have their own advantages and disadvantages. Since companies’ cloud-based infrastructure is designed to fulfill various purposes — data storage and hosting of both internal and public-facing applications — the variety of cloud environments makes it possible for companies to choose environments that are optimized for a particular use case.

Multi-Cloud Environments Create Security Challenges

While multi-cloud deployments provide numerous advantages when compared to on-prem infrastructure, such as scalability, flexibility, availability, and cost savings, they also have their downsides.

Some of the security challenges associated with multi-cloud environments include:

  • Shared Responsibility Model: In cloud environments, a cloud customer shares responsibility for managing and securing their cloud infrastructure with the cloud provider. The cloud customer must gain and maintain expertise in understanding and securing their part.
  • Disparate Environments: Multi-cloud deployments are composed of cloud infrastructure developed by various providers. The heterogeneity of an organization’s cloud deployment can make it complex to develop firewall security rules and enforce consistent security policies across multi-cloud and on-prem environments.
  • On-Prem and Cloud-Based Infrastructure: Organizations rarely abandon on-prem infrastructure entirely when they move to the cloud. As a result, they must design security architectures that span on-prem and multiple cloud deployments. In some cases, security solutions designed for one environment may be less effective or entirely unable to function in another.
  • Platform-Specific Solutions: Most cloud providers offer security solutions and configuration settings designed to secure deployments on their cloud platform. However, these solutions and settings vary from one provider to another, increasing the complexity of correctly configuring security settings and implementing consistent security across multiple environments.
  • Perimeterless Security: Historically, many organizations have adopted a perimeter-focused firewall security strategy designed to protect on-prem IT infrastructure. With cloud environments — and especially multi-cloud deployments — the perimeter has dissolved, making it necessary to design and implement a security strategy not focused on securing a perimeter.
  • New Security Threats: A move to the cloud opens up an organization to new security threats not present in on-prem environments. As the number of cloud environments increases, so does the number of potential attack vectors.

Many organizations struggle with cloud security due to the unfamiliarity of cloud infrastructure and the differences between securing on-prem and cloud-based environments. With multi-cloud deployments, these challenges are amplified, and companies must figure out how to secure environments where legacy security models and technologies may not be effective.

SASE Enables Effective multi-cloud Security

Much of the complexity of multi-cloud security comes from the fact that a multi-cloud deployment consists of many unique cloud environments. What might work to secure one environment may be ineffective or infeasible in another.

Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) solutions diminish the complexity of securing multi-cloud deployments by securing the network instead. All traffic flowing to, from, and between an organization’s cloud-based and on-prem infrastructure travels over the network. By implementing security inspection and policy enforcement at the network level, SASE can consistently apply security across an organization’s entire IT infrastructure.

In addition to simplifying multi-cloud security, SASE also provides numerous other security benefits, which include:

  • Global Reach: SASE is deployed within cloud-based points of presence (PoP). Globally distributed PoPs ensure that traffic can be inspected at a geographically close PoP and then routed on to its destination without the backhauling required by on-prem security deployments.
  • Security Integration: SASE solutions implement a full network security stack, including an NGFW, IPS, CASB, ZTNA, and more. By converging multiple security functions into a single solution, SASE achieves greater optimization than standalone solutions.
  • Network Optimization: SASE PoPs also integrate network optimization capabilities such as SD-WAN and a global private backbone. PoPs are also connected by dedicated, high-performance network links to optimize network performance and minimize latency.
  • Scalable Security: As a cloud-native solution, SASE can also take advantage of the scalability benefits of the cloud. This makes it possible for SASE PoPs to scale to secure higher-bandwidth network traffic without negatively impacting network performance.

Cato provides the world’s most robust single-vendor SASE platform, converging Cato SD-WAN and a cloud-native security service edge, Cato SSE 360, including ZTNA, SWG, CASB/DLP, and FWaaS into a global cloud service. Cato optimizes and secures application access for all users and locations and is easily managed from a single pane of glass. Learn more about how Cato SASE Cloud can help your organization secure its on-prem and multi-cloud infrastructure by signing up for a free demo today.