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November 21, 2019

Multi-Cloud Complexity Heightens Security Threats

George Leopold

(source: Forbes Insights)

The need to move data closer to users while gaining access to machine learning and other emerging technologies has prompted a broad shift by enterprises to multiple public clouds. But a new study finds that few early multi-cloud adopters are completely satisfied with the results when it comes to security.

A closer look at the “multi-cloud enterprise” released this week by A10 Networks (NYSE: ATEN), the automated cybersecurity specialist, found that just 11 percent of those surveyed believe they are reaping the benefits of multi-cloud deployments. That assessment is surprising given the survey’s other key finding that approximately two-thirds of respondents said they deployed enterprise applications across two or more public clouds.

Improving multi-cloud security was found to be the biggest challenge, followed by a lack of skills required to manage multi-cloud deployments. Early adopters also identified the need for centralized visibility and the ability to manage application and infrastructure complexity.

That complexity includes cloud-native applications delivered via micro-services such as application containers and orchestrated with Kubernetes, then transported via Istio and other service meshes. All that complexity translates into many more data logs that must be collected and tracked.

“IT and business leaders are struggling with how to reassert the same levels of management, security, visibility and control that existed in past IT models,” said Dave Murray, research chief for Business Performance Innovation (BPI) Network, which compiled the A10 survey.

“Particularly in security, our respondents are currently assessing and mapping the platforms, solutions and policies they will need to realize the benefits and reduce the risks associated of their multi-cloud environments,” Murray added.

A10 Networks used the survey findings to make a pitch for its security tools as the pace of multi-cloud deployments accelerates. Among the expected drivers are emergence of “edge clouds” enabled by the rollout of 5G wireless networks capable of sweeping up vast quantities of sensor and other machine data.

The company’s security platform is an application delivery framework designed to provide IT operators with a centralized view and management capability for automating security across data and application along with the public clouds and networks.

According to the BPI survey, the top multi-cloud security challenges include, in descending order: ensuring security across clouds, networks, applications and data; plugging the multi-cloud security skills gap, a requirement that will likely boost demand for automated security tools; managing multi-cloud complexity; and better visibility and management of multi-cloud deployments.

Greater used of data analytics was seen as a key requirement for boosting multi-cloud security and performance, the survey found.

Meanwhile, specific steps for locking down multi-cloud security included centralized authentication and security policies along with web application firewalls and heightened protected against distributed denial-of-service attacks that are expected to proliferate as more vulnerable edge clouds are deployed.

The multi-cloud survey included responses from 127 companies in North American, Europe, Asia-Pacific, South America, Africa and the Middle East.

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