Cloud native solutions enable enterprises to create, deploy, and run scalable workloads in dynamic environments. While such environments promote an Agile development framework, they also introduce new security concerns that cannot be solved using typical IT security techniques. This article delves into the security landscape of a cloud native security solution to assist you in mitigating security incidents at the component level. So what is cloud native security?
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What is cloud native security?
Cloud-native security is a natural extension of cloud-native technology in general, and it is becoming increasingly relevant as the hazards of moving critical data to and from cloud services increase.
Containers, service meshes, microservices, immutable infrastructure, and declarative APIs are examples of this methodology. Containers are a great example of how to increase security in this regard. They are complete software packages that may run independently of their surroundings since they include all of a program’s code and dependencies. Apps may more easily be moved from one cloud to another thanks to containers.
The importance of cloud native security
The cloud may offer greater security than conventional on-premise systems. In the modern world, the average cost of a data breach is $3.86 million, or $148 per compromised record. And that is a recognized global figure.
But guess what happens when businesses respond to a breach in less than 30 days? They typically set aside $1 million or so. And if the threat is completely avoided, that represents a multi-million dollar cost savings.
When you look at cloud security through the prism of these data points, it isn’t as resource-intensive and expensive as it may seem. It’s an investment with a phenomenal return on investment.
Characteristic of cloud native security
1. When the perimeter disappears, perimeter security becomes inapplicable
Building a wall around your infrastructure, watching from the outside, and blocking are examples of legacy tactics. The perimeter disappears as more industries transition to cloud native application security technologies like serverless.
Furthermore, the context required for accurate security is missing from legacy external scanner and firewall techniques. The resources that scans and perimeter defenses are analyzing and defending are not sufficiently understood or considered. Errors and false positives are caused by this lack of comprehension. They need to be fixed by experts who will also look for weaknesses and close gaps like false negatives. Such methods that rely heavily on physical labor won’t scale.
2. Security must change with dynamic surroundings
A new, unique structure for an application necessitates a new security strategy. The same method cannot be used to secure computation for a variety of purposes, including:
- Virtual machines
- Container as a service
- Serverless functions
By switching to microservices, one can get fewer code fragments and easier coupling as opposed to code that is tightly tied to a monolith application database.
3. Cloud native security necessitates strong visibility and context
Cloud sprawl outpaces the capacity to secure it. Visibility is difficult to achieve, even at high or middling fidelity. And restricted visibility in the absence of larger context leads to incorrect conclusions. A lack of centralized administration and visibility raises the possibility of undetected misconfigurations and the inability to assess risk. Alerts that lack context necessitate human involvement, resulting in mitigation delays and alert fatigue.
Cloud native security must address the context issue. Details regarding questionable activity utilization are required for effective cloud native security. You must understand not only the source IP but also the destination IP, protocol, user and group, content and application function, and so on.
4. Cloud native security personnel, methods, and technology
Continuous evaluation and protection must be deeply integrated into the infrastructure and apps to secure the public cloud. The number of tools, security budgets, and expert employees isn’t increasing as quickly as the number of tools enterprises are embracing as part of their digital transformation.
The 4C’s of cloud native security
Cloud, Clusters, Containers, and Code serve as the four cornerstones of cloud native security. The cloud native security model’s layers are constructed one on top of the other.
In many ways, the trusted computing foundation of a cluster is the Cloud (or co-located servers, or the corporate datacenter). There is no assurance that the components developed on top of this base will be secure if the Cloud layer is insecure (or set in a dangerous way). Each cloud service provider offers security guidelines for executing workloads safely in their environment.
One of the most important components of a cloud native design, containers host application workloads. It is crucial to secure both the containers that house these workloads and the application workloads that are part of a cloud native environment. Typical methods for securing containers include:
- Reduction of privileged container use
- Consolidating container isolation
- Scanning for vulnerabilities continuously in container images
- Image certificate signing
On physical/virtual machine clusters, containers are deployed for scale-out operations. Typically, a cluster consists of several different parts, including worker/master nodes, a control plane, rules, and services.
The following procedures are frequently necessary for cluster component security:
- Implementing a strong network security policy
- Authorized by RBAC
- Resource management for a cluster at its best
- TLS secure keys for Ingress security
One of the main attack surfaces that you have the most control over is application code. Here are some tips for safeguarding application code:
- Access only via TLS: If your code has to connect with the client through TCP, establish a TLS handshake beforehand. Encrypt everything that is in transit, barring a few special circumstances. Even better, it makes sense to encrypt network traffic between services. Mutual TLS authentication, also known as mTLS, performs a two-sided verification of communication between two certificate holding services and can be used to do this.
- Communication port ranges limited: This tip may be a little self-explanatory, but you should try to keep your service exposed to only those ports that are strictly necessary for communication or metric collection.
- Security for third-party dependencies: It is a good idea to routinely check the third-party libraries used by your application for known security flaws. There is a tool for this check that comes with every programming language.
- Analysis of static code: The majority of programming languages give users the option to evaluate a piece of code for any possibly dangerous coding techniques. Automated tooling that can scan codebases for common security flaws should be used whenever possible to perform checks.
- Attacks using dynamic probing: To test some of the well-known service vulnerabilities, you can use a few automated tools to execute against your service. They consist of XSS, CSRF, and SQL injection.
Cloud native security challenges
For businesses, adopting security-first mentalities is more crucial than ever since threats have evolved and new, sophisticated attacks have surfaced.
Loss of data
A data leak raises the most anxiety of any issue. All organizations are concentrating on it. Few, though, are equipped with the tools and plans necessary to approach it in a way that is worthy. It becomes an urgent issue because of this.
Absent adequate data management (via intentional encryption), your company faces significant compliance concerns, not to mention severe consumer trust violations, data breach penalties, and financial penalties. Regardless of what any Service-Level Agreement (SLA) says, it is your responsibility to protect the data of your customers and employees.
Compliance due to statutory requirements
Organizations frequently believe that collaborating with a cloud solutions provider ensures the highest level of security, especially smaller and mid-sized businesses. But there’s more going on than what the eye can see.
Compliance extends beyond laws at the local, state, and federal levels. Additional industry requirements also need to be taken care of. Examples include FERPA, PCI DSS, FISMA, GLBA, HIPAA, and EU data protection.
The proper cloud security solutions provide you the technical ability to follow legal requirements, but there needs to be ongoing oversight and minute attention to detail. According to the responsibility paradigm, the end user is responsible for cloud security while the cloud provider gives that service.
Inadequate IT expertise
Nowadays, the average company has three to four clouds. This adds new levels of complexity that call for technical expertise and pertinent experience. This is indicative of a bigger trend that we anticipate developing over the next few months and years. IT and business managers would be expected to bring technical cloud knowledge to the table rather than just having managerial experience and financial awareness. Although they won’t necessarily need to be experts in the cloud, having a basic grasp and the capacity to drive focused projects becomes crucial.
Issues with cloud migration
Cloud migration is widespread, but it must be managed carefully. It is a big mistake to try to accomplish everything at once. In order to lower the possibility of severe errors that could corrupt data and/or create vulnerabilities, the migration process should be divided into phases.
The cloud presents a challenge since there are so many potential avenues of entry for attackers. The surface attack area is therefore much more dispersed even though it may be smaller overall. Although APIs are fantastic, you must take into account how they affect the overall system. Although the cloud is theoretically secure, hackers can nevertheless steal data by breaking into less secure APIs.
Businesses should focus on access control, which involves limiting who has access to what and when. It should be possible to access cloud applications and data sources as needed. No one should be granted access beyond what is required to carry out their duties at work.
Application development using open source. Open source software is weak. Hackers frequently wait for developers to utilize the packages before compromising the application using a well-planned attack vector.
Cloud native security integration
Cloud Native refers to the security of both the platform and the infrastructure, as well as continuous application security. Security must be embedded into the assets you are attempting to protect. This applies to numerous layers, from the operating system through the container to the application. To give proper assessment and protection, get inside an app to understand the data flows and transactions. Integrated security also allows your workload to move from the cloud to a container. Security will be integrated into the application.
As a result, security still presents a significant issue for your company. Your company must understand the significance of a cloud native security platform in this environment, which is made for advanced threat prevention, multi-vector cyberattacks aimed at business cloud services. With one single cloud native security platform that automates security posture at scale, stops sophisticated threats, and gives you access and control over all of your workloads across any cloud, you can successfully defend the sprawl.