Five Key Areas of Cloud-Native Security that Will Matter in the Upcoming Year

Cloud adoption is at an all-time high, with most organizations running their workloads in the cloud. Organizations leveraging the cloud enjoy unparalleled flexibility and scalability. However, despite its several advantages, the cloud is susceptible to many threats. Organizations hosting their workloads on a public cloud are usually the prime target of attackers looking to steal data or siphon off resources. Recently, attackers have been successful in causing data breaches in quite a lot of large-scale companies. The consequences of these attacks have been disastrous and have permanently hampered the reputation of targeted organizations. Cloud security has become a vital part of cloud development, and organizations cannot ignore it anymore. 

Cloud security encompasses tools, best practices, and strategies that help avoid attacks and help keep the cloud-native applications secure. Cloud security has swiftly become an essential step in the software development cycle, and with the advent of DevSecOps, it’s no longer an afterthought. The cloud-native security space sees constant and rapid innovation with its rising popularity. New trends in cloud security are emerging that help address security concerns for modern, cloud-native applications. Let’s look at some of the critical areas of cloud security that will be important in the coming year. 

1. API Security

APIs are an essential component of modern applications. Distributed applications rely on APIs so that different services can interact with each other and perform specific tasks. Modern workloads can have thousands of APIs. However, APIs aren’t inherently secure and can become a liability if teams don’t weave API security into the application development. 

APIs are usually documented, and anyone, including malicious actors, can access said documentation. Attackers can then reverse engineer APIs and make their way into critical workloads where they can keep stealing data without detection. API security is emerging as a popular trend in the cloud security space. 

API Security cannot be a manual process due to the sheer number of APIs in workloads and the inevitability of human error. Some tools integrate with organizations’ CI/CD pipelines and provide end-to-end visibility and enforce security at every step of the software development lifecycle, so the APIs are not vulnerable to attacks. 

2. Supply Chain Security

Modern supply chains tend to be highly complex and nonlinear, making it hard to monitor or secure them. Today, supply chains comprise hundreds of suppliers and third-party vendors. And, most of the supply chains leverage the cloud, making them susceptible to attacks. The large attack surface of today’s supply chains can become a massive problem if security isn’t built into the supply chains. 

Several high-profile breaches and leaks have made headlines in the last couple of years. Attackers can simply inject malicious code into software updates or tamper with the hardware to access sensitive data. The biggest challenge with supply chain security is standardizing security across all suppliers. There’s no point securing the supply chain if the suppliers’ systems aren’t secure. 

For convenience, many organizations give suppliers access to sensitive data. And, not all the suppliers need access to said data. Attackers can simply use a supplier system to gain access to sensitive data. Organizations should enforce zero-trust security and standardize baseline security across all the suppliers in their supply chain. More organizations will gravitate towards supply chain security strategies and solutions to ensure their supply chains stay secure in the coming year.

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3. Secrets Management

Modern applications use hundreds of application tools, microservices, and privileged accounts requiring keys and passwords. These keys and passwords are essential for application-to-application and application-to-database communication. However, the sheer volume of secrets means admins and developers will be swimming in them if they don’t have an excellent secret management strategy. 

Secret management shouldn’t be done manually because that can lead to human error and gaps in security that attackers can exploit. Some tools and solutions ship with hardcoded secrets that are easy to guess, while sometimes admins might create secrets that are easy to remember. This can all have dire consequences. 

Another lapse that can happen while managing secrets, if they’re being managed at all, is the third-party access to secrets. Again, no amount of security will be beneficial if third-party tools aren’t secure, to begin with. DevOps tools can pose a big problem because these tools have access to several resources and orchestration tools. If attackers hack into the DevOps tools, they can easily access sensitive information. 

Secrets management is vital, but it’s also complex. Teams should be well versed in best practices while dealing with keys and passwords. At the same time, organizations should employ tools that perform secrets management and provide holistic security to their workloads. There’s quite a lot of innovation happening in this space as organizations look for better and easier ways to manage their secrets.

4. Identity and Access Management

Today’s IT landscape requires a zero-trust security model rather than just firewalls. Developers, customers, suppliers, and partners all need access to certain services or data, and this cannot be done efficiently without proper IAM (Identity and Access Management). IAM allows organizations to store individuals and devices as identities for data governance. This allows IT teams to easily manage and monitor each identity and assign only the relevant access they need to get their work done. 

In the age of IoT, devices communicate with each other, and the servers and these devices can easily be hacked into if there is no proper IAM implementation. Rogue actors can misuse their access to steal data which can also land the organization in trouble. Today, organizations are under pressure from regulatory and compliance teams to secure their data properly. 

Organizations can implement multifactor and biometric authentication and behavioral analysis using AI to identify unusual behaviors among devices and individuals with IAM. With automated IAM, IT teams can focus on what really matters rather than worrying about compliance. 

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5. Cloud Security Posture Management

The cloud landscape is evolving dramatically, and it can sometimes become challenging for IT teams to standardize configurations. All the services and resources in the cloud or multi-cloud environment require a set of configurations to function correctly. These configurations are pretty critical when it comes to security because a slight misconfiguration for any reason can welcome attackers into an organizations’ workloads. 

Today, cloud misconfigurations are one of the biggest reasons for data breaches. As teams work hard to deliver newer releases in the shortest possible time, oversights can happen. And, it becomes tough to identify these misconfigurations manually. And, by the time teams realize there’s a problem, it’s already too late. 

Cloud Security Posture Management or CSPM scans the configuration of all the application components and highlights any misconfigurations that could lead to data breaches. It also provides a set of best practices that can be implemented across all projects. CPSM also stores the configuration of the workloads so that teams can refer to them in the future. 

The cloud security space is evolving, and soon, newer trends will address more unique problem areas as cloud implementation grows. Following security best practices and establishing a security strategy is more important than tool selection. For this reason, organizations should keep an eye on the trends mentioned above and make sure their security strategy is current and address modern threats. 

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