Best Practices for Cloud Generation Application Security
Best Practices for Cloud Generation Application Security
If you store data in a public cloud like AWS, Azure, or GCP, read on for some best practices that will ensure your data's safety.
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Present-day applications are constructed for performance and scale. To attain this, there is a growing popularity hosting these deployments with public cloud providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). Cloud platforms like these are well known to provide the benefit of elasticity and speed of development required for today’s fast-paced business environment. However, securing these environments has been a challenge to date as traditional security deployment options do not work well with applications hosted on public clouds. Often, organizations try to bring their traditional security solutions to cloud-hosted applications and find out after the fact that it was a costly decision.
Effective application security in cloud generation requires a new mentality and new approaches that enable the performance organizations need and that addresses security risks as well. Not considering new strategies and technologies will result in weakened security posture and cost extra time and money.
Balancing Performance and Security Risk
Organizations of any size depend on applications to operate effectively. No business can afford downtime with these applications, and, for many, the cloud remains a confusing space about who is responsible for securing applications. One vulnerability left unpatched can be the door for a cybercriminal to penetrate a network, steak or corrupt data and significantly disrupt operations. In recent research called “Unlocking the Public Cloud,” 74% of IT professionals reported that security concerns restrict their organization’s migration to the public cloud. Public cloud adoption is growing very quickly, but security remains the largest area of resistance when moving applications to the cloud.
Interestingly, many organizations still rank the importance of performance over security. In a May 2018 report from Ponemon Institute, 48 percent of over 1,400 survey takers valued application performance and speed over security concerns. Security and performance should be valued equally in balance, not sacrificing security for more performance and speed.
While deploying layer 7 protections is immensely important to application security, it is also crucial that any security solution integrates deeply with existing cloud platforms and licensing models.
Security measures should be deeply coupled with the dynamic scalability of public cloud providers which ensures that performance handling requirements are met in real-time, eliminating the need for manual interventions. Additionally, organizations should direct access to the native logging and reporting features available to cloud platforms like AWS, Azure, and GCP.
Reducing Application Vulnerabilities
This may come as a surprise, but application vulnerabilities are widespread in cloud environments and many times unpatched until after it’s too late. Typically, patches are more reactive than proactive and vulnerabilities are left exposed for months, which is far too long. This problem is pervasive and yet the solution is not a difficult fix. Automated vulnerability remediation on a continuous basis is a solution to this and is extremely paramount in ensuring application security for all environments both in the cloud and on-premise.
The same Ponemon research shows that 75% of organizations experienced a material cyberattack or data breach within the last year due to a compromised application. However, only 25% of these respondents claim their organization is making significant investments in solutions to prevent application attacks despite the awareness of the negative impact of such malicious activity.
These statistics are frightening and clearly show how important it is to adopt a set of policies that provide continued protection with continuous vulnerability management and remediation practices. These practices can be automated to make sure application changes do not open up known vulnerabilities.
Security Practices With the Cloud
Here are the top five best practices for cloud generation application security:
- Application security must satisfy the most demanding use-cases specific to applications hosted in the cloud.
- Fully featured APIs that provide complete control via orchestration tools already in use by DevOps teams.
- Security must be deployable in high-availability clusters and auto-scaled using cloud templates. They should be managed and monitored from a single pane of glass user interface.
- It is paramount security integrates directly with native public cloud services including Elastic Load Balancing, AWS CloudWatch, Azure ExpressRoute, Azure OMS, and more.
- Security technologies should provide complete licensing flexibility including pure consumption-based billing options. This allows teams to deploy as many instances as required and only pay for the traffic that is secured through those cloud applications.
Ultimately, securing applications effectively in the cloud means implementing new thinking and strategies for security. It is critical to evaluate the security technologies your organization has deployed today and pinpoint what is lacking in cloud environments. Adopt what is required for regular monitoring and vulnerability remediation on those applications and focus on protecting each application with the right level of security. This means deploying security that is aligned with current cloud consumption and implementing tools designed for securing cloud applications effectively.
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