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6 secrets that cloud providers never want you to know | Part 2


Life is full of secrets, isn’t it? In other news, the JEDI deal secrets are still buried, but here are another three cloud secrets addressed and picked up from where we left in Part 1 of this series.

In this part, we will talk about how shared responsibilities make infrastructure more vulnerable, limitations in the cloud, and how-to-avoid vendor lock-in.

1. Public cloud is less vulnerable

The cloud uses the phenomenon that connects the devices on a global scale, i.e., the Internet. The internet makes everything online and leads to potential vulnerabilities. Even the most qualified and recognized experts may lack the eye for details; and can suffer severe attacks on their infrastructure.

The cloud reigns on the most popular technology out there because it supports the idea of offering services on a mass level. When it comes to providing services to mass customers, that too, for an incredible number of use cases, it needs to operate with minimum technicalities.

You may not have all the skillsets and prior knowledge; but you can play around cloud consoles right through your devices. After all, no cloud provider comes at you and ask about your level of expertise; all they need is a Credit Card.

Best practices to avoid vulnerabilities that your cloud may face

  • Implement the textbook security guidelines, at least, to get started on the cloud.

  • Train and test your teams’ security skills. It’s the only viable option when it comes to the security of your infrastructure.

  • Regularly check and review your security policies and procedures.

  • Take decisions with higher executives, whether which data to classify and allow access control accordingly.

  • Use cloud services such as AWS Inspector, AWS CloudWatch, AWS CloudTrail, and AWS Config to automate compliance controls.

  • To automate compliance controls, you can leverage several services such as AWS CloudTrail, AWS CloudWatch, AWS Inspector, and AWS Config.

  • Train your teams to take necessary actions quickly to tackle vulnerabilities.

  • Identify unauthorized activities with regular audits.

  • Schedule a regular review of and keep rotating the access keys and access credentials.

  • Regularly follow security blogs and announcements to be updated about recent unknown attacks to take security measures before something happens to your infrastructure.

  • Secure your open source software (if any) and do not, we repeat, do not ignore any security practice regarding open source applications.

These practices will allow you to monitor the exposure of your cloud and secure the movement of critical operations and data. No matter what claims Cloud Providers are making, but you need to defend your crucial systems from various attacks, and this is the secret that needs to be unearthed.

Suggested Read: AWS Security Audit and Best Practices [Updated] 

2. Limited control and flexibility

As we all are aware of the fact that cloud infrastructure is managed, monitored, and owned by the service providers. The governance by CSPs offers minimal control to the user. 

To an extent, various users experience that they have less control over certain functions of services within a hosted infrastructure. The imposed limits are indeed mentioned in the end-user license agreement (EULA) explaining what users can do with their deployments.

You can retain control of your applications, data, and services but may not have the same level of control on backend infrastructure.

Best practices to achieve control and flexibility

  • Evaluate your cloud provider and select a partner that can help you to implement and support provider’s services with a minimum scope of errors.

  • Read, understand, and preach the shared responsibilities that need to be fulfilled on your part. This will allow you to reduce the chances of failures, and that’s a great thing while handling sophisticated operations in a dynamic cloud environment.

  • If you want to go into depths (well, we suggest you should) of certain limitations, take out time, and thoroughly understand your provider’s basic level of support. Ask yourself, “Will this be enough to meet all the support requirements?”.
    The support can be upgraded with an additional cost, which is fine, so you need to figure out the exact requirements of technical support required. You can conclude after evaluating your team’s skill set, whether they would need extra help or can manage without it.
  • Be aware of the service level agreement (SLA) regarding the infrastructure and services that you’re going to use and what are the legal implications of that with your line of customers.

Suggested Read: Why is cloud security a shared responsibility among CXOs?

3. The Vendor Lock-in

One of the most perceived disadvantages of cloud, before the inception of a multi-cloud approach, is the vendor lock-in. Switching cloud services is not easy because you need to make changes to specific rules, policies, and data, which adds up to the difficulty.

It will take time for the process of migration from one cloud to another to bring enough ease like we experience while transferring data using USBs (and most certainly you won’t be charged for that ever).

In present scenarios, users generally experience difficulties in migrating from one cloud to another due to the lack of enough integrations of different providers’ platforms. The disparities can create gaps during migration, which can lead to exposure even at a small level; enough to hack and destroy your infrastructure.

In other words, most of the users stick to just one, or you can say they can’t avoid the “vendor lock-in.”

Best practices to decrease dependency

  • Set flexibility as your goal while developing a strategy to ensure portability now or even in the future.

  • This one is easy (as a guess only) – employ a multi-cloud strategy. It’s not like the go-to approach because it adds development and operational complexities while deploying workloads. The great hack to achieve this is – train the existing teams or hire experts.

  • Understand the product portfolio of your cloud vendor to avoid dependencies of a single platform. Figure out whether the service provides integrations with other platforms or supports just the native cloud ecosystem.

  • Design and implement the cloud architecture keeping best practices in mind. All the services provided by cloud vendors offer opportunities to scale and achieve flexibility. This depends entirely on the fact that you must have built the cloud architecture with best practices; if this is, so you are less like to fell prey to vendor lock-in.

It is crystal clear now that CSPs have control over only a few factors. Since the inception of cloud computing, we have come a long way in terms of making this technology more and more reliable. But in the end, we need to accept that there is always a human side to the cloud. In other words, the public cloud services handled on the other end is still by a human.

The only solution is to develop AI with such sophistication that always drives us to the right path and never makes a mistake. Interesting but this possibility seems at a very distant future.

Till then, follow the cloud evangelists’ expert guidance and educate yourself in terms of every aspect of your cloud by subscribing to our newsletter here.

Cloud Evangelist
Cloud Evangelist
Cloud Evangelists are CMI's in house ambassadors for the entire Cloud ecosystem. They are responsible for propagating the doctrine of cloud computing and help community members make informed decisions.


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