In 2021, to be truly effective, IT security must be a business enabler.
Everything from business initiatives to DevOps projects need to be supported and nurtured rather than stymied at every turn. This is particularly important as a growing proportion of activity takes place in a cloud environment.
Meeting the needs of DevOps and the multiple clouds that companies now need to protect requires a unified platform that automates security controls and compliance for hosts and containers regardless of the cloud provider or deployment model being used. To make cloud security efforts effective, organisations should implement the following three essential components:
Unified and portable security tools
Traditional security tools simply do not work in the cloud as they are not designed to scale alongside dynamic cloud environments allowing gaps in visibility and security. Meeting those current cybersecurity challenges with point solutions is untenable for security teams seeking to keep pace with the realities of a cloud-native world. As the limitations of those point products become apparent, it leads to ad-hoc approaches designed to address blind spots and a lack of integration.
Eliminating visibility gaps takes a cloud-native security platform. This is a unified solution capable of providing visibility into the ever-growing number of containers and microservices today’s organisations need to protect. Armed with comprehensive visibility and continuous workload discovery, these platforms support efforts to identify vulnerabilities and ultimately help DevOps teams weave security into CI/CD workflows so that issues can be fixed before they reach production.
To be truly effective, IT security has to move at the speed of DevOps, and it needs to work across any cloud so that when workloads move, security and visibility is maintained. It’s a multi-cloud world, and security solutions need to live in it.
Automated fast processes
Rapid changes are a part of that world as well. Microservices, for example, can be quickly spun up and are often short-lived. While they can simplify application updates, they are also a reminder of how dynamic cloud environments can be.
Enterprises need to know what is running, where, and who is running it. With automated asset discovery and monitoring, organisations can get a handle on everything happening across their cloud environment without slowing anything down.
As noted earlier, integrating security with CI/CD improves security by enabling a “shift left” approach. Automation allows security to be orchestrated more effectively to resolve vulnerabilities and security risks early in the development life cycle, though care must be taken to prevent security holes from being introduced via infrastructure-as-code (IaC) templates.
A recent survey of 300 CISOs performed by IDC revealed that 67% of respondents viewed security misconfigurations in production environments as their top concern. By automating the discovery of misconfigurations, organisations can reduce the chance one will slip through their defenses and impact their customers or business.
Through automation, security is not a threat to impede the progress of developers. Instead, it diminishes complexity and empowers rapid deployment by ensuring organisations have the visibility and security orchestration they need.
An integrated and scalable approach
With all this talk of marrying security and DevOps, it should be clear that security cannot be treated as an afterthought or bolted on. It must be integrated into the development process from the beginning and implemented to work seamlessly with applications, cloud instances, and cloud workloads.
This is the ingredient that makes the term cloud-native an essential part of an effective security strategy. Non-cloud-native tools increase complexity as they are not optimised for cloud-native applications and make monitoring harder. They also require more manual intervention. Conversely, cloud-native solutions ensure consistency across the entire cloud estate. API-driven and integrated with DevOps tools, cloud-native solutions allow organisations to maintain security and compliance levels without as much heavy lifting.
The right solution will also empower businesses to scale at will in accordance with their needs. As businesses grow, security needs to grow alongside it. For this reason, cloud security solutions need to be able to scale at will, adding and decommissioning capabilities as simply as possible so enterprises can get the security they need when they need it.
A cloud-native security platform
An effective IT security platform that covers cloud environments requires each of these essential components to be in place. A cloud-native security platform provides visibility and control across public, private, hybrid, and multi-cloud environments. By automating cloud security management across the application development lifecycle and providing real-time monitoring of cloud resources, such a platform can ensure an organisation is well placed to guard against any attacks that may occur.