Secure Your Cloud Native Applications in 2024
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How to Secure Your Cloud Native Applications in 2024


In a world where the technology landscape is constantly changing, the cloud-native concept has gained traction. Although mostly associated with migrating data to the cloud, cloud-native is also about leveraging cloud infrastructure to increase agility, drive digital transformation, and add value to businesses. It involves the use of open-source technologies to develop and run scalable cloud-native applications.

However, organizations can only reap maximum benefits from this technology if they secure their cloud applications. In this article, we discuss the security of cloud-native applications. We explain their features and show you how you can secure your organization’s cloud-native ecosystem in 2024.

What Is a Cloud-Native Application?

Cloud-native applications are software applications that are built to run in cloud computing environments. The cloud-native approach to software development involves breaking applications into small, manageable components that are designed and deployed as independent microservices. Cloud-native application architecture allows developers to leverage dynamic cloud capabilities, including those relating to resource allocation.

Since these applications are built based on DevOps practices that automate the testing, development, and deployment process, they can scale automatically depending on demand. They are capable of recovering from failures and maintaining service without manual intervention. Three things characterize cloud-native apps, which are:

  • DevOps Principles: Cloud-native apps leverage DevOps practices that emphasize automation and collaboration between operation and development teams.
  • Containerization: Cloud-native development involves the use of containers like Docker. Container orchestration tools like Kubernetes support the management and scaling of these containers. The containers condense the applications and their dependencies for consistency across varying environments.
  • Microservices Design: The design of cloud-native apps utilizes a microservice architecture that involves dividing the application into smaller, independent services that connect through APIs. This facilitates uninterrupted delivery and boosts agility.

8 Ways to Ensure Cloud-Native Application Security

Cloud security is among the main challenges businesses that utilize cloud-native environments experience. To address this challenge, businesses should apply holistic strategies, which include taking the following actions:
Cloud Native Applications

1. Prioritize Microservices Security

Microservices security in the overall security of cloud-native applications. This involves addressing unique challenges within their architecture. Important actions that your company can take to ensure microservices security include implementing a service mesh to keep communication between microservices secure. Additionally, conduct logging and monitoring activities from a central location to detect anomalies quickly and improve microservice interaction visibility. Leverage API gateways to secure and control external access to your microservices.

2. Embrace Best Practices in Container Security

Implement container security best practices throughout the container life cycle to secure your containers. This involves observing image, runtime, and orchestration security. Image security involves updating your images regularly, scanning them for vulnerabilities, and using official images. Orchestration security involves securing platforms like Kubernetes by observing network policies and configuring role-based access control. Runtime security involves employing runtime protection practices to detect and address threats promptly during container execution.

3. Scan the Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) Pipeline

Ensuring that the entire CI/CD pipeline is secure is critical in identifying and fixing security vulnerabilities early in the cloud-native app development process. This process involves monitoring the CI/CD pipeline continuously to detect and promptly respond to security threats. It includes scanning container images regularly to ensure that deployment is limited to secure images. It also involves analyzing static codes to identify and address vulnerability, misconfiguration, or insensitive data issues that may be present in the codebase.

4. Implement Proper Identity and Access Management (IAM)

In cloud-native environments, proper identity and access management are critical. Some practices that will ensure robust security include the implementation of RBAC to ensure permissions are granted based on roles, enforcement of multi-factor authentication, and automation of user provisioning and de-provisioning for prompt access revocation when the need arises.

5. Adopt a Zero-Trust Security Approach

The zero-trust approach to security holds that by default, no entity, internal or external to the organization is to be trusted. Embracing this approach enables you to mitigate the risks that are posed by dynamic infrastructure. It ensures that your business sets up a robust security system, that includes verifying the identity of each device and user who attempts to access its resources from any location.

6. Secure Your APIs

The security of APIs is critical in preventing data breaches and unauthorized access. APIs are the main communication channel between cloud-native apps and microservices. Some practical measures that your company can take to secure cloud-native apps include applying strong authentication and enforcing proper controls in authorization, implementing rate limitations to prevent abuse, and managing API supply. Passively scan APIs to detect misconfigurations, weaknesses, and other vulnerabilities. You should also encrypt data during transit.

7. Monitor and Respond to Security Incidents Promptly

Monitoring cloud-native app environments regularly allows you to identify security incidents and respond to them in real-time. Some practical ways of doing this include aggregating logs from different sources for analysis centrally, and implementing a Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) system to detect and respond to threats. Consider developing an incident response plan to enable you to respond to security incidents swiftly and effectively.

8. Audit Your Security Controls Periodically

Another way to secure cloud-native applications is to comply with industry regulations and conduct periodic audits to determine the effectiveness of your company’s security controls. This means documenting security policies, compliance measures, and procedures, checking compliance gaps in security controls, and automating compliance checks to ensure that your company adheres to the set security standards.

Final Thoughts

The cloud environment is highly dynamic. In recent times, the cloud-native landscape has evolved from Infrastructure-as-a-service to platform-as-a-service. Some of the tech innovations that support this evolution include managed databases, containerization, and serverless computing.

These advancements pose new cloud security challenges for organizations. Businesses must stay abreast of the emerging security threats in this landscape and constantly upgrade their security response plans to secure their cloud-native applications. If your company is struggling to secure its cloud-native apps, applying the 8 strategies discussed above can reduce vulnerabilities and improve your response to security threats.

James Hughes

Tech Insights Digest

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