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How to secure cloud apps: The ultimate guide

Are you hesitant to adopt the cloud because of security concerns? Our new guide explains how to secure cloud apps from design to development and deployment.

Rock climber securing ropes
The advantages of the cloud are well-documented, yet concerns about security remain the primary reason more organizations haven’t completely adopted it. When surveyed, security professionals say that their biggest security concerns about public clouds are:

  • Assessment and management of security and compliance risks
  • Misconfiguration of the cloud platform
  • Unauthorized access
  • Unsecure interfaces and APIs

So how should development teams approach application security in the cloud? In short, organizations must extend testing for security vulnerabilities beyond the applications themselves to the underlying infrastructure stack. Overall, cloud security translates to three key areas: understanding infrastructure security, performing application security testing, and developing a mature software security initiative. Read on to learn how to secure cloud apps from design to development and deployment.

Understand your role in securing your infrastructure

In the near future, at least 95% of cloud security failures will be the customer's fault

Gartner notes that in the near future, at least 95% of cloud security failures will be the customer’s fault. This is in part because of the shared responsibility model, which you can think of as a line in the sand where a cloud service provider’s (CSP) responsibility for security and compliance ends and the customer’s begins. The first step in securing your cloud apps is to know what your responsibilities are.

RELATED: Shared responsibility model: Who owns cloud security?

Once you understand your security obligations relative to your cloud model, you should examine the underlying infrastructure of your cloud deployment for weaknesses. An architect with an understanding of security controls and frameworks can perform a cloud architecture risk analysis to help you design an architecture that lowers your risk of a security breach. And a skilled testing expert can perform threat modeling to model real-life scenarios with annual business logic testing and help you address those vulnerabilities.

You should also follow these best practices for securing your cloud architecture:

  1. Keep IT up-to-date with current cloud security practices.
  2. Use your software security tools and the security features of your CSP.
  3. Implement security in containerized / virtual machine (VM) environments.

Prepare your applications for the jump

The tight coupling of complex customer-cloud interactions with an application means that security implications vary widely from platform to platform and from app to app. Chances are your legacy applications and workloads were not built with the cloud in mind. When you move to the cloud, your organization is exposed to new classes of vulnerabilities you might not have considered.

Get the Ultimate Guide to Securing Your Cloud Apps

Even if you’re developing cloud-native applications, it’s critical that you keep performing these standard AppSec activities:

  • Static application security testing (SAST) analyzes source code to identify vulnerabilities during development.
  • Software composition analysis (SCA) detects third-party open source components in source code and binaries.
  • Interactive application security testing (IAST) performs runtime code analysis through instrumentation during QA and functional testing.
  • Dynamic application security testing (DAST) allows you to conduct penetration testing in running applications.

Maintain a strong cloud security posture

Automation and containerization help organizations build fast and deliver continuously, but they can make managing security a challenge. Using cloud security controls effectively and building security into the continuous integration (CI) pipeline in your cloud development environment gives you the visibility, agility, and speed you need for fast, continuous delivery. As you continue to use the cloud, you must focus on developing a mature cloud software security initiative.

We’re here to help

There are a lot of moving parts to consider when migrating to the cloud. To help your organization start planning, we’ve prepared an eBook, The Ultimate Guide to Securing Your Cloud Apps, to help you learn what you need to consider before you jump. Download below to make sure your organization is prepared.

Get the Ultimate Guide to Securing Your Cloud Apps

Julian Alvarado

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Julian Alvarado

Julian Alvarado

Julian Alvarado is a digital marketing professional with five years of experience developing, editing, and managing online content. Mr. Alvarado is passionate about storytelling and has transferred that passion to content marketing after completing his undergraduate and graduate degree in the biological sciences. While some may find this transition curious, Mr. Alvarado has been able to leverage his analytical mode of thinking and attention to detail to examine trends in customer behavior, creating data-driven content that captures the attention of any given audience.

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