Do you have pressing questions about cloud native security that keep you up at night, but that you’re afraid to ask? Or, maybe you’re just curious to learn more about cloud native security, and would love an FAQ that provides the answers to all your cloud native security questions.
Here’s the answers to the most commonly asked cloud native security questions that we’re asked.
Cloud native security is the practice of securing cloud native applications, meaning those that run on distributed, loosely coupled architectures. It focuses on addressing the unique security risks of distributed, microservices-based environments.
The main difference is that cloud native applications are more complex than monolithic applications. This is because cloud native applications are more dynamic than monolithic applications. Cloud native security also differs from monolithic security in that modules work independently of each other, meaning that if there is a security fault in one section it will not affect the entire application, as it would with monolithic architecture.
Another key difference is that cloud native architecture presents an expanded attack surface. This is because securing a containerized application requires managing privileged access at image, container, node, pod, and namespace levels, ensuring encrypted tunneling from ingress to egress and other elements that require baking in security from the beginning.
Broad industry adoption of cloud native is one major driving factor. As of late 2021, about two-thirds of businesses said they were already cloud native or were planning to migrate to a cloud native strategy.
At the same time, a surge of cloud native security threats has made the ability to secure cloud native applications even more important. 2021 was a record breaking year for cloud native threats, and that trend does not show signs of slowing down.
Modern cloud native security tools are fast evolving. As of 2022, tools have become less segmented; cloud native application protection platforms (CNAPPs) can now secure environments centrally, instead of requiring teams to juggle multiple tools (which increases the probabilities of security issues).
Today’s cloud native security solutions are also more resilient. They can remain online despite infrastructure outages, for example.
They’re more automated, too, which helps DevOps save time and take a more consistent approach to security.
A cloud native application protection platform, or CNAPP, is a solution that addresses multiple facets of cloud security – including cloud security posture management, cloud infrastructure entitlement management and cloud workload protection – via a single platform. This simplifies the overall security ecosystem.
The top cloud native security risks, according to OWASP include:
The cloud native security domain can be broken down into subcategories like Kubernetes security, API security, microservices and cloud platform security. While all of these categories are interrelated, they involve different types of risks and require different security strategies.
Securing cloud native applications starts with ensuring you have full visibility into your cloud environment, including what is running within it and where risks may lie. You should also continuously monitor for known vulnerabilities or misconfigurations that could enable a breach. And you should take steps to improve your overall security posture on a continuous basis by reducing your attack surface wherever possible. This can be done using a platform such as Cisco Secure Application, which allows you to scan containers and pods for issues, enforce least privileges, enforce authentication and authorization policies, and more.
Public cloud vendors like AWS and Azure offer some cloud security tools. However, the most comprehensive solutions come from third-party providers, who offer CNAPP solutions that can work with any cloud and any type of cloud architecture.
Open source software is software whose source code is publicly available, in contrast to enterprise software, whose source code is only available to the company that created it. From a security perspective, open source is more secure in the sense that the community at large can find and fix bugs. That said, attackers can also more easily discover security flaws in open source code, which is why it’s critical to know where open source is used within your organization and whether your code contains any known vulnerabilities. This can be done through API fuzzing and testing.
There are three main types of cloud computing services:
There are also hybrid cloud services, which combine different types of cloud computing architectures to create unique environments.
The most important considerations to weigh are whether you have the engineering resources and expertise necessary to handle the increased complexity of cloud native environments. This will determine whether you are prepared to address the unique security risks that arise in distributed cloud native environments.
GitOps, which uses Git to manage complex operations, is one way of simplifying cloud native security because it helps to automate complex workflows. That said, cloud native security requires much more than merely adopting a technique like GitOps. Check out our guide to deploying GitOps for cloud native security.
Cisco is investing heavily in integrating cloud native security tools into its networking and firewall products. In addition, Cisco is helping to build next-generation solutions to secure cloud native environments like Kubernetes via platforms such as Cisco Secure Application. Finally, Cisco sponsors initiatives like ET&I, which does cutting-edge research on cloud native security challenges and solutions.
The Cloud Native Computing Foundation, or CNCF, is a major sponsor of open source cloud native application and tool development. It also offers some guidance on best practices for cloud native security. However, the CNCF doesn’t focus on security specifically; its main mission is helping to develop cloud native software in general.
For an up-to-date list of cloud native security events this year, check out our blog.
A list of free and paid training resources on cloud native security is available from the CNCF.
You can also follow our blog, which covers the latest news and best practices in the realm of cloud native security. Or, read more about how our E&I project is pushing cloud native security to new frontiers.