Securing Cloud Native Applications
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Securing Cloud Native Applications

Cloud native technologies are the talk of the town today and are being adapted by organizations all over the globe. Cloud-native applications are now based on serverless platforms and containers, and make it easier for organizations to automate and optimize tasks that were previously managed on legacy systems.

Cloud native technologies are known to bring forth a number of benefits including elasticity, scalability, rapid development, unmatched resilience and a lot more. However, besides the obvious benefits, these technologies are also known to bring a number of challenges. These challenges include operational and maintenance challenges.

Most cloud native technologies are based on moving parts that tend to be short-lived in nature. Providing maintenance and operational support for these parts can be a tad bit too tedious. The lack of proper maintenance and operational measures can lead to major security concerns in operations. As a result of this, cloud-native solutions require new strategies, tools and operations for success.

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In this article, we take a look at our detailed guide to securing cloud native applications. This article will help you find a way out of the problem related to security for your cloud apps. By the end of this article, you will be able to identify the many problems facing cloud native app security and how you can overcome them.

What is Cloud Native?

Cloud native applications include all applications that are built for the cloud. The entire software development life cycle for such cloud native applications transpires on the cloud. The term ‘cloud’ isn’t just limited to the environment itself but also means a hybrid cloud, which can provide a multi-cloud atmosphere.

Cloud native applications are based on three tools; containerization, dynamic orchestration and microservices architecture.

Challenges in Cloud Native Security

Some of the challenges that organizations face in providing cloud native security include:

Multiple Entities Require Security

Infrastructure teams working on DevOps have to secure multiple entities and microservices to ensure that security is flawless and top notch. Not too long ago, multiple software functionalities and processes would run together on one virtual machine. However, today each capability or process is packaged in a serverless function within a separate container. Almost all entities are vulnerable in their own way and require separate security protocols. The development lifecycle requires protection through each stage for each separate entity.

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Diverse Patterns in Architecture

Cloud native systems cover multiple private and public clouds, architectures and cloud services. Each architectural pattern tends to have different vulnerabilities, which can come to the fore over time and require special solutions. Security teams have to understand the complex surface and find solutions catered to this problem.

Constant Changes

The environments for public and private cloud solutions are constantly changing. Rapid releases in the software cycle mean that each component of the application you use is being updated on a regular basis. The adoption of IaC and immutability practices mean that the code for applications is constantly being recreated.

These challenges can make cloud security for native apps a bit complicated.

Ways to Secure Cloud Native Applications

Having highlighted the challenges of securing cloud native applications, we now look at the best techniques you can follow to do the same. The best ways for securing cloud native applications include:

Shift Your Security to the Left

Most companies today still rely on security tools and techniques that aren’t capable of handling the size, speed and dynamic network of applications that are native to the cloud. Serverless features can make the infrastructure abstract, aggravating the problem in the process.

Cyber attackers basically look for vulnerabilities that they can exploit within the serverless technology and core functions of containers. Another problem is that organizations tools focused on CI/CD to continuously test and release applications. Providing your security team with the right tools for retrieving trusted images can help solve this problem and provide an end to the vulnerabilities.

Apply Perimeter Security

The integrated system in serverless applications is broken down into callable components interlinked to one another. These components accept triggers from multiple sources. Attackers can use this vulnerability to target multiple vectors at once.

Application security tools, along with API integration can help secure the cloud native environment. Organizations can also enforce parameter security at functional levels to monitor anomalies and limit the frequency of triggers.

Minimize Roles

Cloud-native resources frequently interact with one another. Organizations can assign unique permission to each container or serverless function to enhance security. Organizations can enforce security by running containers in a cluster and providing functions on a granular basis. This minimization of roles will ensure that if a component is attacked or compromised, the damage will be minimized and will not trickle over into other components.

Secure Dependencies for Native Applications

Serverless application codes and functions often include dependencies that are taken from repositories such as PyPI or npm.

Organizations need automated tools to protect the dependencies in their application. Organizations also require native orchestration for cloud apps to trigger secure solutions during development. Continuously running these tools can help with the prevention of vulnerabilities for the future.

Shared Responsibility

There should be a closer agreement and collaboration between the DevOps, security and developers’ team. This closer collaboration will help make sure that the system is looked after and the code is secured. Security teams should be aware of the development, testing, and deployment methods to protect the native apps through all processes. Cloud native apps also offer teams an opportunity to shift towards shared ownership and better collaboration. This collaboration can help initiate better understanding across the board.

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Conclusion to Securing Cloud Native Applications

This article helps build a better cloud native security platform. By now, we expect you to understand the major challenges in cloud native security and how they can be overcome.

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