Effective and Impactful Cloud Security & Defence – Curated Best Practices

Strategic Relevance

The cloud has transformed the application lifecycle, with DevOps delivering code at unprecedented speed while security struggles to keep up. Cloud computing follows a shared responsibility model, where the CSP handles infrastructure, and security is a shared responsibility. However, for applications, data, and access management, organizations’ security and development teams take full ownership. Collaboration between these teams is crucial to secure cloud environments effectively. Modern applications and cloud native apps with microservices and APIs increase the attack surface.

Challenges & Opportunities

  • Shift-left security is gaining momentum as addressing vulnerabilities early in the application development lifecycle becomes critical to prevent exploitation in production.
  • The complexity of tooling decisions often clouds judgement, leading to operational challenges and potential blind spots in security posture.
  • Collaboration across teams is vital for improved security outcomes in the cloud. Breaking down silos and fostering a common goal is essential.

Risks introduced early in application development include:

  • Workload images with vulnerabilities or malware,
  • Vulnerable web applications and APIs, and
  • Unrestricted network access between workloads.

Future Trends

  • Managing holistic security across teams and finding the right tools to address security needs are crucial considerations.
  • Embedding security throughout the cloud-native development lifecycle is essential for robust protection.
  • Training IT/development/security staff to effectively utilize security tools is imperative.
  • Lack of visibility into security vulnerabilities across cloud resources, coupled with the need for comprehensive visibility into multi-cloud activity, poses significant challenges.

Best Practices & Key takeaways

  • Embedding security earlier in the application lifecycle through DevSecOps and CI/CD pipelines enables a “Shift Left” approach, focusing on vulnerability and configuration guardrails.
  • Implementing continuous cloud visibility is crucial, considering security tool consolidation with cyber asset inventory, relationship mapping, policy assessment, and compliance reporting.
  • Adopting threat detection and prevention techniques involves leveraging intelligence correlation, analytics, behavioral modeling, workload protection, and micro-segmentation.
  • Aligning cybersecurity tactics with your cloud journey ensures a cohesive and robust security strategy tailored to your specific needs and requirements.
Vivek Shankar
Vice President – IT Infra, Security & Cloud Transformation
Max Life Insurance Company Limited

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this feature article are of the author. This is not meant to be an advisory to purchase or invest in products, services or solutions of a particular type or, those promoted and sold by a particular company, their legal subsidiary in India or their channel partners. No warranty or any other liability is either expressed or implied.
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