A visitor tries out a tablet computer next to a cloud computing and technology symbol at a technology trade fair in Germany. VMWare rolled out multiple security features at VMWorld on Tuesday. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

VMWorld kicked off on Tuesday with the rollout of multiple security features for VMware’s new “Cross-Cloud” services — its group of integrated products aimed to help companies more effectively manage and secure multi-cloud environments.

The security features include zero-trust capabilities for secure workloads inside cloud environments and data centers, cloud-based disaster recovery, and the VMware Carbon Black Cloud for ransomware protection and recovery. Other security features include a “CloudHealth” interface for improved visibility across multiple clouds, and API security and Kubernetes posture management to better secure development environments.  

Multi-cloud has become a clear trend, as enterprise customers look to avoid vendor lock-in, said Frank Dickson, program vice president for security and trust at IDC. However, Dickson said there’s a dark side to the strategy as it creates complexity.

“VMware will look to help customers in two ways,” Dickson said. “First, multi-cloud tools provide ways to reduce the complexity by helping to standardize implementations across clouds. Second, VMware is looking to make security intrinsic to its platform. We continue to see benefits from investments made in huge acquisitions such as Lastline and Carbon Black.”

Doug Cahill, a vice president for analyst services and a senior analyst for security at the Enterprise Strategy Group, added that while most organizations operate in a hybrid, multi-cloud environment for operational flexibility and business agility, there are security challenges.

“Assuring the consistency of policy was the top concern for securing cloud-native applications deployed across data centers and public cloud platforms cited by ESG research participants,” Cahill said. “VMware’s announcements this week at VMworld aim to enable security consistency by simplifying the application of workload and network security controls across distributed clouds.”

Douglas Murray, CEO at Valtix, said study after study has shown that multi-cloud has become top-of-mind for the vast majority of IT leaders. These leaders might choose multi-cloud for business reasons — cost reduction, agility, or vendor lock-in avoidance — or might even inherit multi-cloud challenges from the business, Murray said.

“Regardless, they must invest now to avoid creating an even worse situation in the future,” said Murray. “Security has become particularly important to address since fragmentation in security strategy across each cloud vendor creates significant complexity that will inevitably lead to the next wave of headlines.”