Application Security in the Cloud: What You Need to Know The internet changed the way people get information. Now, decades after the internet took hold, it is continuing to change the way we live and work. Today, the internet is not just how we get information. It is often where we store and interact with data. This is the power of the cloud.
What Is this Space All About?
Instead of using infrastructure solutions to store data and applications, modern alternatives veer toward virtual solutions. These virtual spaces exist entirely online, which creates superior access and less hardware burden. However, now that most of this data exists on the internet, security and access control issues are paramount.
What Is Cloud Developer Security?
One of the key benefits of online data sharing is that there is increased accessibility. This accessibility comes with inherent risks. With more people able to access the data, it is harder to limit access to a controlled set of individuals. The sheer number of hacks in recent years has exposed the vulnerabilities. For modern businesses, cloud development must be grounded in security principles.
How Secure Should Your Applications Be?
The question of security is relevant to every cloud development project. However, the need will vary depending on the scope of the project and the sensitivity of the data. For example, any type of application that houses personal consumer data like names, addresses or credit card numbers must have heightened levels of security. Moreover, if the application has sensitive business data, then focusing on developer cloud security solutions is vital.
What Are the Major Developer Cloud Application Security Issues?
The power of the internet is vast. The risks are, by extension, vast as well. When you are thinking about application security, there are several key areas of concern.
When asked to create and memorize countless online passwords, people get understandably a little lazy. This laziness leaves their accounts vulnerable. In other words, outside parties are adept at breaking into accounts with weak passwords. Worse, because most people use the same password for multiple online accounts, the hijacking moves from one application to the next. Once an account has been hijacked, multitudes of personal data may be accessible.
Another way malicious parties gain access to accounts is through phishing. During a phishing attack, users are sent emails to verify their accounts. Such emails are commonly used in a variety of contexts, and many people are desensitized to them. However, when someone clicks a phishing link, attackers gain critical information to give them access to applications online.
A lot of this discussion revolves around issues of unauthorized access. Previously, when data was stored onsite with limited access to the infrastructure, security issues were different. Now, anyone can access these apps with a public internet connection. While accessibility is still a selling point, it opens up a lot of security threats. It takes less work for criminals to find an access point.
To give users access, application programming interfaces must be used. These are known as APIs. Unfortunately, trying to make APIs accessible can also diminish their security prowess. Security issues with the API can be exploited by nefarious parties, and these APIs can be a major weakness to the overall stability of the application.
Problems with security are exacerbated because companies do not have access to the hardware. Because cloud-based resources are located at a third-party location, the traditional security approaches are no longer viable. Unless a business has devoted a lot of time and energy to developing cloud-based security, it is going to be an area of weakness.
In some industries, there are regulatory concerns regarding data privacy. Just consider something like healthcare, where patient information is strictly confidential. There are also restrictions and oversight in the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard and the General Data Protection Regulation. Adhering to the standards set out by these regulatory bodies is vital.
What Are the Best Application Security Solutions?
With the widespread use of online data sharing and the inherent vulnerabilities of such platforms, security should be a primary focus. Here are the key steps to take if you are concerned with cloud security.
Prioritize the Data
Attackers are after your data. Therefore, your development team needs to obscure the path to the data. Think of your security system in tiers. First, you have to secure the platform. The platform refers to the operating system of the machines. Be sure to encrypt the data files to create a less vulnerable platform. Next, look at the database. Always put extra effort into picking the best database to focus on your overall security. A good database will restrict access and use authorization levels. Finally, you have to focus on the application. Applications are designed to interact with the database. Make sure that your applications use identity-based access features to control user access. Good application security will also monitor activity to detect worrisome problems that need to be investigated.
Identity Is Everything
Because of the nature of online applications, there will always be weak spots. The best way to work on building up a security presence is with identity. Identity and access management technology is always your best tool. IAM technology uses a multifaceted approach to manage user identities. With the right IAM technology, you can streamline the verification process for authentication, authorization and auditing. IAM should not be an afterthought. It should be built into your applications as a core feature.
Take DevOps to the Next Level
DevOps is the way businesses combine software development as part of overall IT operations. Now, businesses need to focus on DevSecOps. This is merely an extension of your operations that provides additional security measures. Now, instead of just developing and maintaining applications, companies must continually test their security measures. DevSecOps provides a necessary focus on validating the processes for IAM, encryption and more. While approaches will vary, this ongoing security can be the critical tool you need to keep your cloud security at the forefront.