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Safeguarding the Cloud: An Intro to Cloud Native Security and Best Practices

Cloud Security
Time to read
February 19, 2024

Key Takeaways

Are you concerned about the security of your cloud-based applications and data? Ensuring the security of your cloud environment is more important than ever. With cyber attacks on the rise and businesses relying more heavily on cloud-based applications, understanding cloud security is crucial.

What is Cloud Native Security?

Unlike traditional security approaches, which focused primarily on securing the network perimeter, cloud native security is designed to protect cloud-based applications and data across multiple environments and locations. This is because cloud native applications are typically built using microservices architecture, which involves breaking down applications into smaller, independently deployable components.

This new architecture makes cloud native applications more agile and scalable, but also more complex to secure. This is where cloud native security comes in, providing a comprehensive approach to securing cloud-native applications and data wherever they may be located.

Cloud Native Security Threats and Risks

While cloud native applications offer many benefits, they also introduce new security threats and risks that businesses must be aware of. Here's an overview of common security threats and risks associated with cloud native applications:

  • Data breaches: One of the biggest security threats facing businesses today is data breaches. Cloud native applications store sensitive data, such as customer information and financial data, which can be targeted by cybercriminals.
  • Insider threats: Insider threats, such as employees with malicious intent, can pose a serious risk to cloud native security. These threats can come from employees, contractors, or third-party vendors who have access to your cloud infrastructure.
  • Misconfiguration: Misconfigured cloud infrastructure can lead to serious security vulnerabilities. This can include failing to properly secure cloud storage or not properly configuring network security groups.
  • Lack of visibility: Cloud native applications can be distributed across multiple environments and locations, which can make it difficult to have complete visibility into the entire infrastructure. This lack of visibility can make it difficult to identify potential security threats.

These threats and risks can have a serious impact on businesses, including reputational damage, financial loss, and legal consequences. For example, high-profile security breaches, such as the Equifax data breach in 2017, resulted in significant financial losses and reputational damage for the company.

It's important for businesses to be aware of these threats and risks and take the necessary steps to mitigate them. In the next section, we'll explore best practices for securing cloud native applications.

Best Practices for Cloud Native Security

To protect their cloud native applications from potential security threats and risks, businesses must implement best practices for cloud native security. Here's an overview of some of the best practices that businesses can follow:

  • Use multi-factor authentication: Multi-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security to cloud native applications by requiring users to provide additional forms of identification, such as a password and a code sent to their mobile device.
  • Encrypt data in transit and at rest: Encryption is an essential component of cloud native security. Businesses should encrypt data both in transit and at rest to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive information.
  • Implement network segmentation: Network segmentation involves dividing a network into smaller subnetworks to limit the potential impact of security breaches. By implementing network segmentation, businesses can limit the damage caused by a security breach and prevent attackers from moving laterally across the network.
  • Monitor and audit activity: Regularly monitoring and auditing cloud native applications can help businesses detect potential security threats and vulnerabilities before they can be exploited.

Businesses that have successfully implemented these best practices have seen significant improvements in their security posture. For example, Netflix, a cloud native pioneer, has implemented many of these best practices to secure their cloud infrastructure. Their security team regularly conducts vulnerability assessments and penetration testing, uses encryption to protect their data, and implements network segmentation to limit the impact of security breaches.

By following these best practices, businesses can improve their cloud native security and protect their applications and data from potential threats and risks.

Cloud Security Tools and Technologies

There are a variety of tools and technologies available to help businesses secure their cloud native applications. Here's an overview of some common cloud security tools and technologies:

  • Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASBs): CASBs provide businesses with visibility into their cloud infrastructure and help them enforce security policies across their cloud applications.
  • Identity and Access Management (IAM) solutions: IAM solutions help businesses manage user access to their cloud applications and resources, ensuring that only authorized users can access sensitive information.
  • Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) solutions: SIEM solutions help businesses detect and respond to security threats in real-time by collecting and analyzing security event data from across their cloud infrastructure.
  • Container security tools: Container security tools help businesses secure their containerized applications by providing visibility into the container environment and detecting potential security threats.

Businesses that have successfully leveraged these tools and technologies have seen significant improvements in their security posture. For example, Capital One, a financial services company, has implemented a variety of cloud security tools and technologies to secure their cloud infrastructure. They use IAM solutions to manage user access to their cloud applications, SIEM solutions to monitor their cloud infrastructure for potential threats, and container security tools to secure their containerized applications.

By leveraging these cloud security tools and technologies, businesses can improve their security posture and better protect their cloud native applications and data from potential threats and risks.

Compliance and Regulations

Compliance and regulatory requirements are an important consideration for businesses when it comes to cloud security. Here's an overview of some common compliance and regulatory requirements for cloud security:

  • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR): GDPR is a regulation in the European Union that sets guidelines for the collection, use, and storage of personal data. Businesses that handle personal data of EU citizens are required to comply with GDPR.
  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA): HIPAA is a US regulation that sets standards for the privacy and security of protected health information (PHI). Businesses that handle PHI are required to comply with HIPAA.
  • Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS): PCI DSS is a set of security standards for businesses that handle payment card information. Businesses that accept credit card payments are required to comply with PCI DSS.

To ensure compliance with these requirements, businesses must implement appropriate security controls and procedures. For example, businesses that handle personal data must implement appropriate access controls, encryption, and data retention policies to ensure that personal data is handled appropriately and securely.

Many businesses have successfully navigated compliance and regulatory requirements for cloud security. For example, American Express, a financial services company, has implemented a variety of security controls and procedures to comply with regulatory requirements such as PCI DSS and HIPAA.

By implementing the best practices and strategies we discussed, businesses can improve their security posture and better protect their applications and data in the cloud. However, it is important to note that cloud security is not a one-time fix but an ongoing process. Regular assessments and updates to security measures are necessary to stay ahead of new and evolving threats.

It is also important to recognize that cloud security is not solely the responsibility of the cloud service provider. Businesses must take a shared responsibility approach to cloud security and ensure that they are doing their part to protect their applications and data.

Overall, cloud native security should be a top priority for any business using cloud computing. By understanding the risks and implementing best practices, businesses can ensure that they are well-positioned to protect against security threats and reap the benefits of cloud computing safely and effectively.

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