Cloud computing has emerged as the go-to organizational workload choice because of its innate scalability and flexibility. However, cloud computing still comes with some security risks. Examining cloud security is an important part of adopting this new technology. Presently, cloud native security is experiencing changes and innovations that help address security threat vectors. These areas are of significant importance for security professionals, software developers, and information technology specialists.

What is Cloud Native Security?

Cloud Native Security is an approach to making cloud-enabled services secure and immune to security threats. It is used to ensure the distinct lifecycle of cloud native applications and services. Cloud native security is integrated into the platform and infrastructure of an organization’s security architecture. It applies to numerous layers, from the operating system through the container to the application. Cloud native security requires an accurate inventory and thorough asset categorization to enable adequate security operations to prevent possible vulnerabilities throughout the software stack. All computer systems should be consistent with compliance with standard configurations, security best practices, and usage of trusted registries.

cloud native security

Why Cloud Native Security matters

Data center security is broken

The security tradition in the enterprise today screams slow down. The answer to any request is almost always “no.” Change is resisted at every level because any change is a sign of a potential threat. Contrast this approach to application development and operations. These groups are now working together in new ways (broadly dubbed “DevOps”) to deliver new code faster. Constant, more sophisticated, and ever-evolving threats require security teams to also rethink their approach in the cloud native era.

Threats are evolving faster than ever

Malware and advanced persistent threats are proliferating. Malicious programs can be created and deployed for next to nothing. Hundreds of new threats attempt to penetrate enterprise systems every day. Traditional security measures can’t evolve nearly as quickly. A cloud native approach offers both external perimeter and internal systems protection.

Mitigating credential leakage is possible

The fact is that credentials will always be leaked, but systems administrators don’t have to sit idle and let it happen. They can change the lifespan for credentials from weeks or months which gives hackers plenty of time to find vulnerabilities to hours or just 15 minutes. A cloud native security approach helps ensure that leaked credentials quickly become worthless.

Pillars of Cloud Native Security

An effective cloud native security model addresses threats across every level of a workflow – simply remember the 4 Cs:

  • Cloud infrastructure: The cloud is the foundation of all security layers. Since developers cannot configure application security at the code level, security steps must be taken at the cloud level. It is all about running secure workloads in the respective cloud provider’s environment.
  • Cluster: After the cloud comes the cluster layer, where Kubernetes is considered the standard orchestration tool. When using Kubernetes, there are certain things to consider—RBAC, pod security and network policies, secrets management, logging, and monitoring.
  • Container security: At this layer, container security management and best practices are important. When applications are built inside a container, security best practices include first, avoiding running privileged containers. Most applications don’t need root access to operate, except for system containers like monitoring or logging agents. This should prevent an invader from gaining root access to the container and being able to access the host node.
  • Code: The last ‘C’ in the cloud-native security layer is code. Strengthening security via an application’s code is a DevSecOps best practice that starts with the source code. By catching security vulnerabilities early in the SDLC, companies can save time, cost, and effort. One best practice to restrict the vulnerabilities in your code is to use code analysis and/or scanning tools built just for this purpose.

cloud native security

What are the business benefits?

  • The aggregation of information from every component of an application in a cloud native approach provides complete end-to-end visibility of the environment.
  • Cloud native applications work upon the rules and regulations set by the regulatory authorities.
  • Cloud native applications provide robust data security during data transition from one platform to another.

How to Implement Cloud Native Security: Build or Buy?

The decision of whether an organization should choose a vendor provider or an internal cloud security solution depends on several factors. Organizations must perform appropriate due diligence before opting for any specific security strategy.

Security solution providers have three major deployment patterns available for incorporating security practices into the organization’s workflow: cloud native, third-party, or open-source. Other factors that companies need to pay attention to include the regulations that may apply to the project, for instance in certain countries, banking data needs to be hosted within the company’s geographic limits, and only cloud providers with data centers within the geographic range can be considered viable. The other factors include the team’s expertise and the team’s urgency, as each security configuration is critical to the safety of the project. Based on all these factors, teams can make an appropriate decision of going for a pre-built security solution that they can configure as per their needs or building a custom solution in case of precise requirements.

Conclusion

Cloud native security is constantly evolving, and newer technologies will further enhance security. However, your organization can be more secure by addressing security best practices today and creating an integrated security strategy. Continue to monitor trends and implement some of the strategies mentioned above, and you’ll be able to address many of the modern threats facing cloud-based organizations.