November 17, 2021

3 min

Manage Merger Risk with a Cloud Workload Protection Platform

The right tools can help organizations address cybersecurity challenges that arise during a merger or acquisition.

We recently visited with the CISO of a midsized manufacturing firm who was facing a significant challenge. Her organization had recently acquired one of its competitors, and they found themselves facing a problem as old as IT: merging the technology stacks of two completely different organizations. The added challenge was that both organizations had already taken steps to shift many of their IT workloads to the cloud but were using different cloud providers.

Cloud computing is no longer an experimental technology. In fact, it has become the go-to choice for organizations across all industries. Gartner recently estimated that 40 percent of all enterprise workloads would run on cloud infrastructure and platform services by the end of 2023, up from only 20 percent at the end of 2020. That’s a tremendous shift, and enterprise cybersecurity teams must implement robust approaches to cloud security today to stay ahead of this trend and protect sensitive data wherever it resides.

First Steps Toward Cloud Security

In the case of our manufacturer, we recommended that the CISO immediately sit down with key security stakeholders at both her organization and the acquired firm and conduct a data security risk assessment. She needed to understand all of the locations where sensitive data was stored and the security controls in place to protect that information. During this conversation, her key objective would be to discover common ground — to find the security technologies they shared that might be a good starting point for merging their security teams.

We quickly realized that neither firm had a strong grasp on the security of its existing cloud deployments. They had deployed the same anti-virus, firewall and other security controls in their on-premises data centers, but they weren’t taking a comprehensive look at the security configuration of their cloud environments. We recommended that they adopt a cloud workload protection platform to gain visibility into the extent of each organization’s cloud activity and implement a single point from which to monitor their security status.

Finding and Addressing Weak Points

We began by starting with the platform’s cloud security posture management module. CSPM reaches into the APIs of all the organization’s cloud providers and detects misconfigurations and uncorrected vulnerabilities that require attention. The result didn’t surprise us because we’ve seen this story unfold before. The CSPM tool found dozens of serious security issues that required remediation. That gave the CISO and her team plenty of work to do as they set about prioritizing and remediating the most critical issues.

With the CSPM deployment under their belts, we helped the team develop a roadmap for deploying additional platform modules. They rolled out cloud storage security services, workload protection, data flow monitoring and cloud infrastructure entitlement management capabilities to gain better control over their use of cloud services.

Whenever we work with organizations deploying cloud workload protection for the first time, our advice is the same: Work with key stakeholders, and start small. It’s important to involve everyone affected early in the process to ensure ownership and gain strategic alignment. It’s equally important to design the rollout in a manner that guarantees quick wins by starting with simple deployments of critical capabilities.

Story by:

Mike Mullen, a Senior Field Solution Architect for CDW’s Secure Cloud team. He is a knowledgeable cybersecurity professional focused on assisting companies as they develop security strategy for their public cloud and hybrid cloud environments. Mike’s experience with businesses varying in size from fledgling startups to expanding global corporations affords him a distinctive viewpoint for determining how security can advance business operations to achieve goals.

Shahid Waqas, a Principal Field Solution Architect for CDW's Secure Cloud Team. He has an in-depth background in security solutions and is an informed cybersecurity professional who helps companies to secure their public cloud and hybrid cloud environments. Shahid’s primary focus is to help customers streamline their cloud security to comply with the industry goal standard.

Glenn Runnions, a Principal Field Solution Architect for CDW’s Secure Cloud team. He has an extensive background in enterprise networking and security solutions. As a cybersecurity professional, he helps our clients deploy secure cloud solutions utilizing both native security and security partner tools for hybrid and full cloud deployments. Glenn’s goal is to help clients achieve business outcomes through the secure and efficient use of their cloud environments.

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