Most organizations operate in a mixed hosting model, with some services in legacy data centers, some built in the cloud, and others migrated from the data center to the cloud. This often means tools designed for the data center being extended to the cloud, without the capabilities required to properly support it.
Cloud Infrastructure Creates Unique Security Challenges
The shared responsibility model means organizations are running their applications and services using virtual machines, containers, or serverless technologies abstracted from the underlying infrastructure. Monitoring and management of system hardware and network componentry is challenging using such tools, as the physical devices are invisible to the consuming services virtualized upon them. Ownership and control are retained by the cloud service provider, and any attempt to re-use legacy tools in the cloud will be thwarted by the lack of visibility and accessibility of cloud infrastructure.
The ever-increasing complexity of cloud environments compounds this problem. With scalability automated across geographical regions, deployment of new payloads at the click of a button, and an increasing number of organizations adopting a multi-cloud implementation approach for maximum resilience and flexibility, expecting tools not designed for the modern cloud landscape to reliably protect it is unrealistic.
Cloud native applications can be ephemeral, containerized, or serverless, and securing those applications with the traditional types of infrastructure controls associated with the data center is not sufficient to protect against emerging threats. The cloud operating model brings with it attack vectors that simply do not require consideration in the data center. Gone are the days when locking the boundary down hard is sufficient. Modern applications require public access, data access, collaboration, and planning for least privilege rather than considering robust boundary controls sufficient.
Cloud application security consists of application policies, toolsets, and monitoring solutions, designed to protect cloud applications from threats from day one.
Why Traditional AppSec Solutions Are a Poor Fit for the Cloud
Traditional application security solutions are a poor fit for a cloud-first future, for several reasons:
Traditional AppSec solutions are designed for traditional applications: While traditional solutions might have been a good fit for monolithic applications running on physical systems in company owned data centers, traditional application security solutions are not designed for cloud-native applications or cloud infrastructure. Some limited monitoring of basic metrics may be achievable, but the gaps around those basic metrics introduce significant risks to the organization as well as functional problems for operations teams and zero visibility to inform capacity management.
Traditional AppSec solutions are not designed to deploy in the cloud: Many of the solutions designed for traditional data center deployment were developed at a time when the cloud was simply not on anybody’s radar. No accommodations for future technology could have been made, and were not. Trying to deploy a traditional application security solution to the cloud is to attempt to drive a square peg into a round hole – it might work, but it isn’t going to provide a comprehensive security solution. Gaps are inevitable.
Traditional AppSec solutions cannot scale: Designed for static infrastructure, physical systems and slow deployments, traditional solutions require the manual installation of agents and bespoke configuration in many cases. This is not compatible with the scale on demand and implementation at the click of a button model that accompanied the arrival of the cloud. Using a traditional solution in the cloud will recreate all the on-premises problems of yesterday, reducing flexibility, agility, and velocity.
Secure Cloud-Native Apps with Cloud-Native Solutions
Organizations need to adapt to secure cloud native applications and services against the modern threat landscape. Using multiple solutions designed for yesterday’s technologies will create integration issues for operations teams to resolve, as well as a loss of visibility and the possible introduction of vulnerabilities your organization is blind to. Only solutions designed for the cloud can proactively address threats emerging across the software development lifecycle, ensuring protection from development to production.
Cloud-native application security offers:
Integration across the lifecycle: By integrating with every step of the development process, from the developer IDE, CI/CD pipeline, and providing protection across single-cloud or multi-cloud environments,cloud-native application protection platforms (CNAPP) ensure end to end security. Whether virtual machine infrastructure as a service (IaaS), containerized, or serverless, cloud-native security solutions deliver seamless security protection.
Total visibility: Cloud-native security solutions give visibility of cloud application infrastructure across the board, and with that comes the ability to identify emerging threats as well as processing available information in context. This permits accurate risk assessment and prioritization of resources.
Proactivity: Traditional tools would post an alert once an issue had occurred, great for notification but no use for prevention. Cloud-native tools provide proactive scanning and detection of security vulnerabilities, misconfiguration, and exposed secrets, enabling rapid remediation and minimization of risk exposure.
Cloud is complex, vulnerabilities and threats are numerous and emerging daily, and it is no longer possible to operate your digital assets disconnected from the outside world. With these realizations in mind, it becomes obvious that the best tool for protecting cloud-native applications and infrastructure is a cloud-native security tool designed for the task. As development and deployment methodologies change, infrastructure becomes more dynamic and elastic, and release velocity builds almost as fast as customer expectation, tools that can keep up with the challenges of modern cloud application development have become a necessity.