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Multi-Tenant Security Model: How To Mitigate Risks

The post How to Mitigate Risks Of Your Multi-Tenant Security Model appeared first on Ascendixtech blog.

The multi tenant security model is the way you protect customers' and organizations’ data within your multi tenant software architecture.

You model should be correctly optimized and supported. Otherwise, you may bump into security risks.

In turn, they can result into data breaches, downtime, and financial losses.

Today, we want to share our strategies to reduce risks of a non-optimized multi tenant security model. Also, you'll learn:

  • What is multi tenant software architecture
  • Key types of multi tenancy in cloud computing
  • Single tenant vs multi tenant: approach comparison
  • 3 risks of a multi tenant security model
  • How to improve your multi tenancy security.

What Is Multi Tenant Software Architecture

Multitenancy is a software architecture model which implies that a server runs a single instance of software per each tenant, but serves multiple tenants simultaneously.

They operate shared access with predetermined privileges to a specific software instance they use.

Cloud computing often utilizes multi tenant software architecture to offer a shared environment.

Google Cloud, AWS, and Microsoft Azure are the most popular providers.

3 Types of Multi Tenancy in Cloud Computing

We can categorize multi tenancy by the degree of layers that multiple tenants have shared access to.

These 3 key types are the lowest, middle, and highest degrees.

Highest Degree

Simply put, multi tenant software architecture is offered within all the sub-layers of SaaS software.

Middle Degree

In general, a middle degree means that only small SaaS clusters are multi-tenant.

Lowest Degree

Multi tenant software architecture in the lowest degree is available for IaaS and PaaS layers offering dedicated SaaS layers for each tenant.

3 Types of Multi Tenancy in Cloud Computing

Let's take an example, Salesforce.com.

It has >150,000 customers that are supported by 16-24 multi-tenant IaaS/PaaS instances with a ratio of 1:5000.

This means that Salesforce uses a single multi-tenant instance to serve 5,000 tenants with the same database.

So, it makes Salesforce.com – a high-degree multi-tenant software provider. It's an effective model as the company has cross-industry utilitarian workloads.

In fact, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to choose the multi tenant software architecture type for your system.

Learn the workload needs including a strategic value, volatility, security, etc.

Single Tenant vs Multi-Tenant

Single-tenant architecture benefits

  • High data security
  • Customization opportunities
  • Portability.

Single-tenant architecture drawbacks

  • Difficult setup and management
  • High costs
  • Irrational resource usage.

Multi-tenant architecture benefits

  • Optimized bill
  • Easier deployment
  • Efficient resource usage.

Multi-tenant architecture drawbacks

  • Low cost transparency.

Single Tenant vs Multi Tenant

3 Key Multi Tenant Security Model Risks

Data Breach Risks

In multi tenant software architecture, each user has limited yet potentially enough privileges to access a single shared database. Other tenants’ data is also encapsulated there.

In fact, this risk is possible if the system provides a single shared database for multiple tenants.

On the other hand, multi tenancy may lead to higher data breaches if anybody hacks into one tenant’s database.

This means users can influence and damage other tenants’ privacy and data within the shared environment of your Google/Azure/AWS multi tenant security model.

High Downtime Risks

We've mentioned that efficient resource usage is among the benefits of a multi tenant security model.

On the flipside, it may lead to the so-called system downtime if you haven't established a highly scalable architecture.

Users may summarily overuse the total amount of resources you provide.

For example, tenants summarily require 120Gb while you're offering only 100Gb of memory.

This issues often leads a system shutdown and a costly downtime.

Configuration Change & Management Risks

Misconfigurations and change management risks are the two potential roadblocks you may bump into while using multi tenant software architecture.

If a single tenant needs configurations changes and upgrades, they may cause potential environmental glitches for other customers.

How to Improve Your Multi Tenancy Security

Isolate

As you already know, lack of isolation may cause data breaches and downtimes.

Advance your system encryption protocols and access controls within cloud and virtual infrastructure.

Additionally, utilize segmenting of cloud deployments. This will help you enforce the application isolation to encapsulate your tenants’ data.

Prevent Data Loss

Data loss prevention solutions minimize data breaches. It becomes possible by monitoring the outgoing traffic of sensitive data within your application.

So, develop algorithms to prevent data losses yourself or use ready-made software to prevent data leakage.

These solutions monitor, analyze, notify, and block suspicious and unauthorized sessions. This way, you boost data safety of your multi tenant security model.

Advance Data Sharing

Data sharing can also become a weak side of your multi tenant security model. It often results into an unauthorized access to sensitive data.

Implement collaboration controls. This approach enables tracking, controlling, and detecting granular permissions of shared files.

For instance, this is important while sharing data outside the organization via a web link.

Users may unwittingly share private information within their team spaces, communities, emails, and cloud storages including Dropbox, Google Drive, or Microsoft SharePoint.

Wrapping Up

Multi tenant software architecture is a great yet not a panacea solution. Keep track of your multi tenant security model and use the mentioned above tips & tricks to operate smoothly.

Want to get 2 more strategies on improving your multi tenant application security? Find them on our Ascendxitech blog.

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