Guaranteeing data security in multi-tenant cloud

Victoria Oresanya
20 Sep, 2021 - 0 Comment(s)

What is a Multi-Tenant Cloud?

Multi-tenancy in cloud computing refers to when customers of a cloud vendor share the same cloud resource. This resource can either be on a public or private cloud. It’s partitioned into units, each housing a single customer’s (tenant’s) data.

The units are separated from each other by complex security setups so that each tenant cannot gain access to other tenant’s units and data.

It’s much like a building that’s divided into many apartments. Residents only have access to their own apartments, and can decide who they want to come in. But they can’t get into other apartments without the resident’s permission; they don’t have the keys. The residents do.

Multitenant architecture (the structure of the multi-tenant cloud) is crucial to how much of the cloud works. Think, specifically, about the partitioning servers into segments. Several users can work with the same server, and save themselves the cost (and potential waste) of using a full server.  They can do this without being aware of, or getting distracted by the presence of other users.  

This emphasis on efficiency is one reason for the large scale adoption of multi-tenancy by many businesses. There are other reasons; we’ll be looking at that shortly. For now, let’s see how the multi-tenant cloud functions.

How Multi-Tenancy Works

Multi-tenancy cloud storage is provided by a cloud service vendor, like Layer3 Cloud. Users—called tenants –subscribe with the vendor and get a portion of the server corresponding to the fee they are willing to pay. They pay for using that space on a regular basis (say, monthly, or annually). 

While the user shares space on the cloud resource with other tenants, it does not come in direct contact with them. It will only see its own environment and the data that it hosts there. It won’t have access to the other tenant’s space or data. That’s because the units are partitioned by complex permission codes, which the service provider has access to.

Multi-tenancy in SaaS (Software as a Service) enables several customers to use a single application at once, without interfering with other users’ work. Multi-tenancy is also available for PaaS (Platform as a Service) cloud solutions.

Single Tenancy versus Multi-Tenancy

In a single-tenant cloud, the customer hosts their data on a server and doesn’t share that server with other users. This differs from a multi-tenant cloud, I which multiple users share a server.

Partitioning isn’t necessary for single-tenancy, as only one user is involved. There are no other users whose activity you should be concerned about. However, it’s more costly, and cannot be scaled as easily as in multi-tenancy.

Potential breaches in partitions is a concern that Cloud Service Providers and customers may worry about for multi-tenant clouds. However, the defenses put up by vendors are usually able to prevent this from occurring.  

Benefits of Multi-Tenant Cloud 

1. Efficiency

You can subscribe for as much space as you need in the current period. This is something you won’t enjoy if you go for single tenancy, especially if you won’t be using all the space anytime soon.

2. Scalability

It’s much easier to scale your resource use when you’re on a multi-tenant cloud. You can simply request for more space on the vendor’s server, and get it upon subscribing. Scaling is more difficult to achieve with single tenancy, as it’s more costly and may mean acquiring space outside of your current server.

3. Lower Acquisition Costs

Because tenants are using the same resource, they only have to pay a fraction of the cost they would incur on a full single-tenant resource. You don’t need to acquire a significant amount of infrastructure to support your scaling or transitioning.

4. Outsourced Management

The management of the cloud resource becomes the job of the service provider. It maintains the infrastructure supporting the cloud compartments on its customers’ behalf. This lets you devote more time and energy to your internal operations.

5. No Maintenance Fees

Because maintenance is carried out by the vendor, you won’t have to pay maintenance fees to keep your software or platform running. The service provider fixes any trouble that crops up, so you don’t need to pay for this either.

6. Easy Configuration

If you opt for single-tenancy, you will have to deal with the considerable coding required to customize your resource. This is not the case with multi-tenancy. You can customize a multi-tenancy-hosted solution without altering the underlying codebase.

Possible Challenges with Multi-Tenant Cloud

Just like every other kind of technology setup, multi-tenancy has potential downsides. They include:

•Customers may have less control over their cloud environment

•There’s a risk (even if minimal) of privacy being breached by malicious actors 

Cloud Service Providers may remedy these concerns by introducing the following countermeasures

•Round the clock monitoring leveraging high powered tools

•Encryption with top-level security algorithms

•Multi-phase authentication for users

•Identity and access management measures 

How Should You Secure Your Data in Multi-Tenant Cloud?

Your access to the security setup of a multi-tenant cloud will be limited. It’s the job of your vendor to protect your cloud environment from the outside (while you manage what goes on within).

But you can ensure the safety of your data by choosing the right vendor in the first place. This will require you to vet the available options. Have your IT managers examine and compare each firm’s security provisions. Select the one with the strongest offers that suit your organization’s peculiar needs.

How Layer3 Can Help

If you’re considering migrating to the cloud—and going the multi-tenant route –Layer3 can help you through the journey. 

Our cloud engineers have helped companies across Nigeria transition to the cloud. We also provide top-level maintenance and security for their cloud environments. This significantly reduces their CAPEX and OPEX and allows them to scale quickly.


Whether you’re settling for single-tenancy or multi-tenant cloud, we can help you with a cloud solution that suits your needs. To learn more about cloud solutions your company can use, click here.