Normalyze’s Amer Deeba on Challenges and Solutions in Multicloud Environments

Normalyze’s Amer Deeba on Challenges and Solutions in Multicloud Environments

Virtually every organization deals with data, and they all need to store it somewhere. Amer Deeba, the CEO and co-founder of data security platform Normalyze, shared the trends in data storage and the hurdles faced in multicloud environments with Anna Delaney of the Information Security Media Group.

“It’s a big problem, especially if you’re trying to do it across multiclouds, and every company these days are in a multicloud environment,” Amer Deeba explained. “So to do it in a way that you can really get that visibility and control of the data that you had when the data was on-premise and you had it under control is really the challenge a lot of companies are facing. And security teams are trying to solve it at scale in a multicloud type of environment.”

Times certainly have changed. Traditionally, data was stored on hardware that was located on the premises of the organization storing it. This on-premises storage is often called on-prem. To store data on-prem, organizations had to purchase expensive hardware, including computers, hard drives, and servers.

Storing data on-prem gave companies a lot of control. Storing data locally also assured enterprises that their data was secure. However, storing data on-prem comes at a huge cost. Not only is there a significant initial outlay associated with setting up the hardware, but it also requires continuous maintenance and regular security software license payments to ensure that the data was being efficiently and securely stored. 

The costs associated with on-prem storage can’t be borne by many organizations. Moreover, on-prem storage exposed organizations to data loss and hampered their ability to scale. Consequently, many were left searching for viable alternatives. 

A Viable Alternative: Cloud Computing

A sea change started with Amazon Web Services in 2006 when the company started offering remote computing services that later became known as cloud computing. Cloud storage allows organizations to store their data on external servers managed by other companies. As the data was stored remotely, it meant that it could also be accessed remotely. 

Cloud computing was a revolution because data could now be processed, managed, and stored on remote servers that are accessible through the internet. Companies like Google and Microsoft soon followed suit and launched their own cloud storage services. 

When the pandemic struck, it set off a mass exodus of data onto cloud storage as most employees started working remotely and data had to be made available to them. 

“The pandemic changed a lot of things, but what impacted information security the most is the fast move into the cloud,” explained Deeba.

One of the clear advantages of storing data on the cloud is the reduction in costs and how organizations can easily scale as they evolve, eliminating the need to purchase expensive hardware. Cloud storage is now deemed to be the norm. However, cost-cutting ushered in another data storage revolution: the spread of multicloud environments. 

Multicloud Environments

Organizations that rely on multicloud environments can scale rapidly. They’re not tied to a single vendor and the added flexibility is an obvious advantage. It allows organizations to choose their vendor based on the needs of the specific kind of data that needs to be stored. This helps to optimize workloads based on considerations such as performance, speed, physical location, reliability, and compliance and security needs. 

It’s also a great way for organizations to lower operational costs. The overhead spending is significantly less than on-prem storage, and organizations can easily scale up or down as the business evolves. This isn’t to say that a multicloud environment is free from challenges.

“The main issue is the lack of visibility that [organizations] need to have so they can make decisions in real time,” Deeba said. “Bringing all these pieces together and connecting them in a way that gives you that intelligence and allows you to make decisions quickly so if data exfiltration is happening or an attack is happening on your data, then you can see it.”

When data is being stored across different cloud services, managing your data becomes a daunting task. Each cloud service vendor is unique and offers different features, configurations, and tools for managing data. The only way is to manage data separately. However, the security teams at most organizations don’t have the time nor the resources to perform this task effectively.

“To get visibility and control of the data that you had when the data was on-prem is the challenge a lot of companies are facing,” Deeba noted. Knowing that many organizations were struggling, he wanted to build a platform that could provide a one-click solution. 

Their agentless, artificial intelligence-driven, data security algorithm works across multiple cloud platforms. Using metadata only, it scans the customer’s data and generates alerts when it’s unsecure, such as unrestricted access. It allows users to gain visibility across multiple cloud environments. It also helps users by ensuring that the data is being stored in compliance with regulations. 

“We are a data security platform for everything you build in the cloud and run in the cloud. We cover on-premise too. We help customers really discover where their sensitive data is, and how to secure it, and do that for data across all types of cloud environments, in the most effective way you can do it right now. We’re constantly innovating and helping organizations really solve that problem at scale,” said Amer Deeba. 

It has been two years since Normalyze was launched and, since then, it has secured $26.6 million in funding. More recently, the company was granted the first patent for data security posture management, which the company says “is foundational for an emerging data-first approach to secure cloud-resident sensitive data, and its implications will help to innovate the enterprise cybersecurity market at large.”