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Cloud Native Security

Cloud native security refers to the practices, tools, and policies that protect cloud native applications and infrastructures.

Wiz Experts Team
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What is cloud native security?

Cloud native security is a security approach in which steps to ensure security are taken throughout the distinct life cycle of cloud native applications, from the infrastructure planning phase to client delivery and maintenance.

With the cloud, teams can simply spin up an environment and go. The danger of that may be apparent, but just to be clear: With this flexibility comes an urgent need for a security model just as flexible and elastic as the cloud itself. You want to make sure that you can deploy security into this new cloud model quickly and maintain it.

Cloud native security plugs into the architecture based on elastic cloud services and the framework for agility, all while maintaining cloud security services, a security posture, and the capability to respond to and handle threats in real time. Cloud native security products provide the immediate security needed as you’re working in the cloud.

The 4 C's of cloud native security

In the realm of cloud native security, the "4 Cs" act as a framework for understanding and tackling potential vulnerabilities. These four layers represent the fundamental elements of a cloud native application that require comprehensive security measures:

1. Code: This refers to the source code of your application itself. Key concerns here include insecure coding practices, unpatched vulnerabilities in used libraries, and lack of proper access control mechanisms. To address these, static code analysis, vulnerability scanning, and secure coding practices come into play.

2. Container: Containers package your application's code and dependencies, but they can also harbor security risks. Unnecessary privileges, insecure images, and misconfigurations can all pose threats. Implementing container scanning, enforcing minimal permissions, and using trusted image registries are essential countermeasures.

3. Cluster: The Kubernetes infrastructure managing your containers forms the cluster layer. Misconfigured network policies, inadequate access control for cluster components, and insecure communication channels can leave the cluster vulnerable. Secure policies, least privilege principles, and encrypted communication protocols are crucial here.

4. Cloud: This encompasses the underlying cloud infrastructure your application runs on. Shared responsibility models require considering aspects like secure configuration of cloud resources, identity and access management, and robust security controls from the cloud provider.

Understanding this model of security measures allows for a shift in how you approach securing your development environment while also exposing where you need to focus your efforts. Knowing the 4 Cs and how they help you carve out the areas of focus for security is just the beginning to understanding cloud native security.

Pro tip

The modern cloud security operating model is not a static state, but rather a continuous journey of improvement. This journey involves:

->Gaining visibility into your cloud environment

->Identifying and remediating critical risks

->Adopting best practices to continuously improve overall security posture

->Shifting left to focus on preventing issues from even entering the production environment

Learn more

Benefits of cloud native security

Exploring cloud native security reveals its strengths, such as enhanced identity access management and robust network security controls, which are crucial for adapting to the fluid and complex landscapes of modern IT ecosystems.

Enhanced Security Posture:

  • Reduced Attack Surface: By leveraging containerization and microservices architecture, cloud native applications significantly contract their exploitable surface area. This minimizes the potential entry points for attackers and reduces the overall risk of successful breaches.

  • Proactive Vulnerability Detection: Continuous security monitoring and automated vulnerability scanning tools inherent to cloud native environments enable the preemptive identification and remediation of security weaknesses. This proactive approach mitigates threats before they can be exploited, significantly enhancing the overall security posture.

  • Improved Incident Response: Real-time monitoring and automated response workflows associated with cloud native security facilitate the rapid detection and containment of security incidents. This minimizes the potential damage caused by breaches and accelerates overall incident response efficiency.

  • Strengthened Identity and Access Management: Granular control over access permissions across all layers of the application, a hallmark of cloud native security, fosters robust identity and access management (IAM) practices. This reduces the risk of unauthorized access and data breaches, safeguarding sensitive information.

Increased Agility and Efficiency:

  • Streamlined Deployments: Automated security processes seamlessly integrated with DevOps workflows in cloud native environments enable faster and more frequent deployments without compromising security. This enhances development velocity and fosters innovation.

  • Enhanced Scalability: Cloud native security solutions seamlessly scale alongside your applications, ensuring robust security regardless of infrastructure growth. This eliminates the need for manual security adjustments and fosters continued agility.

  • Reduced Operational Overhead: Automation of routine security tasks within cloud native environments frees up valuable security team resources. This allows them to focus on strategic initiatives like threat hunting and proactive risk mitigation.

  • Improved Collaboration: DevSecOps practices facilitated by cloud native security break down traditional silos between development and security teams, fostering enhanced collaboration and shared responsibility for application security. This leads to a more unified and effective approach to securing cloud environments.

Enhanced Compliance and Risk Management:

  • Simplified Compliance: Cloud native security tools and practices align with industry regulations and data privacy requirements, facilitating streamlined compliance efforts. This reduces the risk of fines and penalties and demonstrates adherence to regulatory standards.

  • Reduced Risk Exposure: Proactive vulnerability mitigation and robust access controls inherent to cloud native security minimize the overall risk of security incidents and their potential impact. This safeguards organizational assets and minimizes potential financial losses, reputational damage, and operational disruptions.

  • Improved Transparency and Auditability: Continuous monitoring and comprehensive logging capabilities within cloud native environments provide granular audit trails of application activity. This enhances transparency, facilitates incident investigation, and demonstrates compliance to regulatory bodies.

  • Streamlined Data Protection: Encryption and other data security measures intrinsic to cloud native environments safeguard sensitive information throughout its lifecycle. This protects organizational data from unauthorized access, data breaches, and other security threats

Challenges to adopting cloud native security

ChallengeDescription
Shifting mindsetTraditional security approaches often struggle with the dynamic, ephemeral nature of cloud-native environments. Teams need to move from static controls to continuous and automated security processes that integrate seamlessly with DevOps workflows.
Shared responsibility modelCloud providers offer a vast array of security features, but it's a shared responsibility model. Organizations need to understand where their responsibility lies and actively configure and manage security for their cloud resources.
Tool sprawlThe explosion of cloud-native technologies leads to a plethora of security tools, often from different vendors. Integrating and managing this sprawl can be complex, leading to operational overhead and potential gaps in coverage.
Visibility and monitoringThe dynamic nature of cloud-native environments makes it difficult to maintain complete visibility into all activities and potential threats. Traditional security tools might not be suitable for monitoring microservices and containerized applications.
Misconfigurations and vulnerabilitiesWith frequent deployments and rapid scaling, misconfigurations and vulnerabilities in code, containers, and cloud resources can easily occur. Detecting and remediating these issues quickly is essential.
Shifting threat landscapeCloud native environments introduce new attack vectors and exploit surfaces. Security teams need to stay updated on the latest threats and adapt their defenses accordingly.

Wiz's approach to cloud native security

Wiz provides a comprehensive cloud native security platform designed to bolster cloud security, addressing the unique challenges and complexities of modern cloud environments through four key pillars:

1. Agentless Architecture: Unlike many traditional security solutions that rely on resource-intensive agents, Wiz operates through APIs. This agentless approach offers several advantages:

  • Faster Deployment and Scalability: No agents to install or maintain, meaning rapid setup and seamless scaling across diverse cloud environments.

  • Reduced Overhead: Minimal impact on system performance, as resources are not dedicated to running agents.

  • Complete Visibility: No blind spots, as Wiz scans all resources directly using their native APIs, covering VMs, serverless functions, containers, and more.

2. Graph-Based Risk Prioritization: Wiz constructs a comprehensive security graph of your cloud environment, mapping connections between resources and potential vulnerabilities. This allows for:

  • Contextual Risk Assessment: Vulnerabilities aren't treated in isolation; Wiz analyzes their potential impact considering your specific environment and configuration.

  • Ruthless Prioritization: You focus on the most critical risks first, saving time and effort by avoiding alert fatigue from low-priority issues.

  • Actionable Insights: The graph provides detailed context for each risk, guiding remediation efforts and preventing future occurrences.

3. Holistic Security Coverage: Wiz goes beyond traditional vulnerability management, offering a comprehensive security platform that addresses a wide range of threats:

  • Misconfigurations: Detects and remediates insecure configurations across your cloud resources.

  • Secrets Exposure: Identifies and protects sensitive data such as access keys and passwords.

  • Identity Management: Analyzes identity and access controls (IAM) to ensure appropriate privileges and prevent unauthorized access.

  • Compliance & Standards: Helps you comply with various security regulations and best practices.

4. Integration with Development Workflow: Wiz understands the dynamic nature of cloud development and integrates seamlessly with CI/CD pipelines. This allows:

  • Shift-Left Security: Security checks are embedded early in the development process, preventing vulnerabilities from reaching production.

  • DevSecOps Collaboration: Developers and security teams work together more effectively, promoting an overall secure development culture.

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