According to Chris Howard, Vice President of research at Gartner summed up cloud computing brilliantly when he said, “Cloud computing is actually a spectrum of things complementing one another and building on a foundation of sharing. Inherent dualities in the cloud computing phenomenon are spawning divergent strategies for cloud computing success. The public cloud, hybrid clouds, and private clouds now dot the landscape of IT based solutions. Because of that, the basic issues have moved from ‘what is cloud’ to ‘how will cloud projects evolve.’”
Most businesses who have migrated to cloud use the services of more than one service provider. According to a State of Cloud report from Right Scale, 84% of companies using infrastructure as a service or platform as a service cloud uses multiple cloud providers. Most companies use three or more cloud providers for their public clouds. Businesses are now demanding more flexibility, scalability, control and improved risk management and performance capabilities.
They do not want to tie themselves in a vendor lock in. The biggest problem with using clouds from different providers is that all of them have their own identity system. If you use identity as a service solution to manage access to all your apps, it can create more complications as it brings in their own identity store. If you are using a hybrid cloud, you should know that it has a distributed architecture that covers multiple platforms and identity systems.
How can businesses create, manage, and implement multi cloud identity? That is exactly what you are going to find out after reading this article. In this article, you will learn about five ways to create and implement multi cloud identity.
Choose A Distributed Security Model
Identity will become a key security metric as more and more users start accessing your data from outside your firewall. This increases the security risks manifold. Add to that the lack of resources and expertise, misconfiguration, higher cost and slow processing times and you can easily see so many businesses struggle with implementing multi cloud identity.
Many businesses still rely on legacy systems, which makes it difficult for them to ditch those legacy systems and move to the cloud. This also puts extra burden on IT teams who not only have to take care of on premises apps hosted on the best dedicated server but also must take care of cloud-based apps. The best way to cope up with these challenges is to adopt a distributed security model that aligns perfectly with the distributed architecture of hybrid cloud you are using.
Create a Multi Cloud Strategy
When your business is using multiple clouds and adopts a distributed security model, it increases complexity of identity and access management. Your IT team must manage everything from provisioning, tracking, synchronizing the cloud in a distributed environment. This might not be easy but can be done efficiently if you have a multi cloud strategy at your disposal.
Here are few tips that will help you in creating a multi cloud strategy for your business.
- Have a clear purpose behind each cloud deployment
- Plan data migration between different clouds
- Avoid vendor lock ins
- Use fail safe security protocols and focus on data backup and recovery
Ditch Legacy Systems
Instead of trying to migrate the legacy systems, it is better to invest in new hardware and modernize your infrastructure. Why? Because it can create messy identity silos during migration projects. Investing in modern hardware will also improve your identity capabilities and give you newer features and options when using identity as a service.
This enables businesses to keep a close eye on dormant accounts, check for compromised credentials, consolidate policies, help users reactivate their accounts securely and simplify roles and group management. All these benefits make identity management a breeze and are more than worth the extra cost you have to bear to migrate to newer systems. Additionally, you do not have to live with the limitations and restrictions imposed by legacy systems.
Integrate Apps with Identity Systems for Better Visibility
To implement cloud identity successfully, you need to create a strategy for it. Similarly, you need a better understanding of where your identity systems and apps are to execute the strategy successfully. Not only that, you should also know about the dependencies between apps and identity systems. Apart from this, it is also important to know who has access to which data and how does current identity workflow work. Without all this, you will never be able to gain better visibility into the identity system, which makes it almost impossible to protect against latest threats. If you have the right tools and knowledge, you can streamline and accelerate the discovery and mapping process.
Follow the Standards
Many businesses are lured into writing APIs because it lets them customize and tweak but writing outdated APIs might not be the right choice when you are upgrading your identity systems. It is better to stick with standards such as SAML, SCIM and OIDC. With APIs, you must perform one to one integration but when following the standards, an abstraction layer can provide this facility. What’s more, you don’t have to rewrite apps just to make them compatible with the new identity system. Apps that are created by following standards can easily integrate into a new identity system.
Perform Migration in Phases
In most cases, migration can become a daunting challenge, but businesses can simplify it by breaking it down into smaller and more manageable stages. You can also batch process similar migrations or group migrations and planning to minimize the risk. Users can apply the same formula for apps and group apps based on the complexity of migration. This tells you when you need to slow down and when you need to speed up. Finally, assess your current capabilities and see what capabilities can be carried forward. Ask yourself, what capabilities do I need to manage the multi cloud ecosystem efficiently?
How do you implement multi cloud identity? Share it with us in the comments section below.