December 2021 - Ostride Labs
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How you can establish SaaS security thresholds when doing Cloud Native Application Development

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How you can establish SaaS security thresholds when doing Cloud Native Application Development

Cloud-native applications have been pinned as the future of software development due to their steady increase in proliferation over recent years. The Cloud-Native Computing Foundation calculated that there were about 6.5 million cloud-native developers active in 2020, a marked increase from 4.7 million in 2019.

 

New technologies used for developing cloud applications, including Kubernetes, containers, and serverless architectures, are changing the way companies build and deploy them. While the steady growth of cloud-native SaaS applications has accelerated the pace, efficiency, and success of business, this modern approach to development has introduced a myriad of new cloud security concerns. 

 

While cloud-native applications are inherently more beneficial than their on-premise counterparts, These new sets of security risks can’t be mitigated by applying traditional approaches to SaaS security. 

 

So, how can you establish effective SaaS security thresholds while doing cloud-native application development? 

 

What are cloud-native applications?

 

First, let’s remind ourselves of what ‘cloud-native’ refers to and what cloud-native applications are.

 

Cloud-native is a contemporary approach to creating, deploying, and running software applications that utilize the resilience, flexibility, and scalability of cloud computing. ‘Cloud-native’ comprises the different tools and techniques used by developers to create applications for the public cloud, rather than the conventional architectures suited to private data centers.

 

A cloud-native application, therefore, is one that is designed and built specifically for a cloud computing architecture. They are run and hosted in the cloud and are developed to leverage the intrinsic characteristics of a cloud computing software delivery model. 

 

Cloud-native applications utilize a microservice architecture that efficiently distributes resources to each service that the application uses, making it incredibly flexible and adaptable to a range of cloud architectures.

 

Satisfy both security and development objectives

 

The benefits of cloud-native application development are limitless, however, a lack of security continues to be one major problem. Modern development approaches and technologies, such as CI/CD, containers, and serverless, demand effective security that delivers immediate protection, earlier detection, and assurance that an organization’s cloud services fulfill security best practices, all while preserving speed and efficiency. 

 

 

Migrated security infrastructures aren’t cutting it 

 

Migrating applications to the cloud from traditional IT systems does not mean that organizations should accept a more vulnerable security stance in return for the conveniences and additional benefits that cloud computing provides.

 

There isn’t anything inherently less secure about public cloud infrastructures. In fact, cloud providers such as Google and Amazon adhere to the highest standards of security and compliance, taking their ‘shared responsibility’ very seriously, often exceeding what most private enterprises could maintain in their data centers. 

 

Security problems emerge from how businesses configure and use public clouds, especially SaaS (software as a service), IaaS (infrastructure as a service), and PaaS (platform as a service). Conventional application security measures often don’t work very well when using serverless or container architectures to create cloud-native applications.

 

Developers are adopting new codes of practice and techniques to establish effective security thresholds, as it’s clear that the key to this lies in the development phase of cloud-native applications.

 

How to establish SaaS security thresholds during application development – 3 steps

 

  1. Establish security infrastructure throughout development 

Before DevOps, dedicated security teams gave late-stage assessments and guidance before applications moved from the development phase into systems running in production. Security was frequently only considered toward the back end of development, creating substantial delays if issues emerged that required fundamental changes to the application. This attitude toward security is no longer acceptable in today’s more agile, cloud-focused development models, where efficiency, speed, and automation are key.

 

Developers are constantly under pressure to design, build, and launch applications quicker than ever and to frequently update them through automated procedures. To continually achieve these lofty goals, organizations now deploy applications developed on containers and functions straight into production, handling and overseeing them with orchestration tools like Kubernetes, and running them in the cloud. Consequently, productivity increases, but so does the security risk.

 

Hitting a balance between speed and effective security requires senior-level security officers to implement strategies to proactively address cloud-native security requirements with developers to make sure security infrastructures are thoroughly integrated into the software development lifecycle. Moreover, this allows businesses to catch security issues earlier in development without slowing down production.  

  1. Empower your developers the necessary tools 

Many companies still depend on traditional security instruments that can’t handle the speed, scale, and dynamic networking conditions of containers. The addition of modern, serverless functions heightens the problem by further abstracting infrastructure to supply a straightforward execution environment for microservices and applications. 

 

Cyber attackers search for misconfigured cloud infrastructure permissions and vulnerabilities in the serverless function code to reach services or networks that hold private information.

 

Enterprises can use CI/CD tools like Bamboo, Jenkins, and Azure DevOps to continuously develop, test, and ship applications. When utilizing containers to deploy cloud-native applications, developers can exploit base images and elements from internal and external repositories to accelerate their work.

 

Despite that, even container images from trusted and authorized repositories could possess vulnerabilities that can expose applications to attacks. The solution, and best first line of defense, is to provide developers and security teams with the necessary tools and techniques to block non-compliant images within the CI/CD pipeline.

 

Scanning images for vulnerabilities and malware in the development phase allows application developers and security teams to enforce the enterprises’ image assurance policies, block non-compliant images, and warn the developers of possible threats.

  1. Shared Responsibility

Another thing to consider is that the security of the application is somewhat reliant on the cloud provider. Moreover, due to the ‘shared responsibility model’, developers and security teams bear an extra burden when securing their application.

 

Organizations need to accept the new reality that specific aspects of security will need to be managed by their cloud provider, and others will remain with them. For example, Google takes the Shared Responsibility Model seriously and has invested heavily into it. This model allocates security of the cloud to the provider, who then tasks the customer (organization) with security in the cloud.

 

Specifics can change from provider to provider and service to service, but typically, the customer accepts responsibility and control of the guest operating system, including security updates and patches, as well as any other related software and the configuration of the cloud server. Ultimately, it’s a joint effort to achieve secure cloud-native applications and secure cloud storage.

 

Understanding and accepting this shared responsibility is essential to any cloud-native application developer establishing security thresholds during development. Not only important as a model for combined cloud maintenance and preservation, but also during the development cycle as developers can easily implement security thresholds and infrastructures using Kubernetes (GKE) specifically designed for cloud-native environments. Businesses should also understand that the security measures put in place by the cloud provider do not absolve them from their own accountabilities.

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Should I buy cloud services directly from the provider?

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Should I buy cloud services directly from the provider?

From reducing IT costs to accelerating innovation, there are many compelling reasons to embark on a cloud migration journey. 

The idea of migrating your data to the cloud may sound like a copy and paste task, but in reality, there are challenges, pitfalls, and many things to consider. This article defines and provides an overview of the cloud data migration process and suggests the best practices to turn it into a value-increasing opportunity for your business.


Сloud business process services

There are many cloud solutions. Most of them are designed to meet specific business needs, so cloud migration is always a flexible and business-tailored process.

With every year that passes, it becomes ever more apparent that migrating to the cloud is the only way for companies to truly compete and remain relevant in the long-term.

A growing number of businesses, from freshly-launched start-ups to Fortune 500 giants, are adopting cloud computing, meaning CIOs and business owners alike are met with an overwhelming number of providers, features, products, services, hybrid solutions and training options to consider.

Every organization has its own technological fingerprint; its own distinct set of requirements, goals, and operational nuances that need to be taken into consideration.

Let’s take a closer look at the top three names in the industry: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud.


AWS: Pros and cons

AWS jumped into the game early as the very first major cloud vendor in the space around 12 years ago, claiming an impressive 33% of market share and generating $1.4bn for Amazon in Q1 2018 alone.

The biggest strength AWS possesses is undoubtedly its maturity and dominance in the public cloud market, with its success and popularity linked to the sheer scale of its operation.

Today, it stands tall as the most established and enterprise-ready vendor, offering perhaps the richest of capabilities when it comes to overseeing a massive number of resources and users. 

Microsoft Azure is gaining ground as the preferred service for existing Microsoft customers, with Google’s offering entering the cloud battleground relatively recently as a ‘leader’. While other formidable competitors such as Alibaba Cloud and Oracle Cloud have increased in popularity over the last few years, AWS remains a strong front runner in the cloud computing industry, with competitors Azure and Google Cloud carving out their own modest share of the market.


Microsoft Azure: Pros and cons

Microsoft showed up on the cloud scene a little later than AWS, but certainly made up for it by adapting its existing on-premises offerings for the cloud.

Seven years since its initial launch, Azure is a strong competitor to AWS, providing businesses with a great range of features, robust open-source support, and straightforward integration with other Microsoft tools.

As a Microsoft product, Azure no doubt benefits from user familiarity with the brand, which creates an immediate preference for Azure among loyal Microsoft customers.

While Azure is indeed classed as an enterprise-ready platform, in its aforementioned Magic Quadrant report, Gartner noted that many users feel that “the service experience feels less enterprise-ready than they expected, given Microsoft’s long history as an enterprise vendor”.

Users also cited issues with technical support, training, and DevOps support as some primary pain-points when using the provider.

 

Google Cloud: Pros and cons

As a latecomer to the cloud market, Google Cloud Platform (GCP) naturally offers a more limited range of services and doesn’t command the same global spread of data centers offered by AWS and Azure. 

It does, however, give customers a highly-specialized service in three main streams: big data, machine learning, and analytics, with good scale and stable load balancing, as well as those famously low response times. Google’s container offering provides users with a significant advantage as it developed the very Kubernetes standard now utilized by competitors AWS and Azure. 

Customers tend to choose GCP as a secondary vendor in a hybrid solution, though it is becoming increasingly popular with organizations that are direct competitors with Amazon, and ,therefore, cannot use AWS. It’s important to note that GCP is very open-source and DevOps-centric, and as a result, does not integrate as well with Microsoft Azure.

 

Why and when do you need to migrate to the cloud?

Moving to the cloud is a choice most modern companies are having to make. Below are some examples of when a company may decide to move to the cloud.

-Move from a legacy system. 40% of companies that migrate to the cloud from a legacy system do it to improve the security of their data. Cloud data migration also allows a company to deal with legacy system tech limitations.

-Get a competitive advantage. Migration to the cloud is also an opportunity to create a competitive advantage because of the possibility of cutting costs and making employee workflow more flexible. Time and money can also be redirected to other tasks aimed at business growth. Moreover, cloud migration creates new opportunities for businesses to leverage more efficiency when employees are working from home. In such an environment, using the cloud for data management is the best choice.

 

Conclusion

When looking for the right cloud vendor for your enterprise, be sure to consider your particular requirements and workload, and remember that the answer could indeed lie in a combination of two or three cloud providers.  Migrations as a whole, whether from a legacy system to the cloud or from a cloud to another cloud, can be hugely beneficial. 

While providing many notable benefits to do with efficiency and business infrastructure, one of the most notable advantages comes in the form of improved security, more compliant security, and cheaper security. Outdated legacy systems in the form of private servers are costly and require a lot of attention to maintain the level of efficiency and security of advanced cloud solutions. Popular cloud providers, on the other hand, have built their cloud from the ground up with state-of-the-art security and many other notable benefits.

 

So one might wonder how to choose? Book a free consultation with us and we will help you figure out all the intricacies.

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What are migrations and how can they help businesses cut costs on cloud protection efforts

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What are migrations and how can they help businesses cut costs on cloud protection efforts

Migrating to the cloud is often overwhelming for businesses. There are concerns about stability, cost, and most importantly, security. For many organizations, a successful migration actually reduces operating and protection costs, promotes scalability, and reduces the risk of cyberattacks that could potentially sink a business with improved ISO compliance certifications. 

 

By migrating, businesses can help reduce operational costs while improving IT processes and utilizing more efficient data platforms. Moreover, many organizations identify the ability to cut cloud security costs as a key benefit when deciding whether to initiate a migration strategy or when choosing between suppliers.

 

So, let’s jump straight in with defining what migrations are and how they can help cut security and business protection costs.

 

What is Cloud Migration?

 

Cloud migration is the process of transferring digital business assets, operations, and data to the cloud. Unlike a real, physical move of tangible objects, it involves moving these digital processes and goods from one data center to another. Just like moving from a small office to a larger one, cloud migrations require in-depth planning and advance considerations and often ends up being worth the tremendous effort, leading to cost important savings and flexibility.

 

Commonly, “cloud migration” describes the move from physical, on-premises infrastructure, also known as legacy systems, to the cloud. However, the term can also refer to migrating from one cloud to another cloud, usually from one provider to another.

 

Cloud-Cloud Migration

 

When talking about migrations, it’s important to remember that moving on-premises applications and data from physical data centers to the cloud is not the only scenario. What does an organization do when it already stores its applications and data in the cloud but wants to move them to another service provider’s cloud? How can a business utilize a multi-cloud strategy without affecting integral operations? These are just two examples of why cloud-to-cloud migrations can be so beneficial.

 

Organizations may consider a migration such as this for scaling, security, or cost reasons. Cloud-to-cloud migrations allow businesses to switch providers without first moving their data and applications to in-house servers. Being able to transfer easily between cloud providers is a critical consideration when selecting a new provider. 

 

The cost of a migration should not outweigh the advantages – if properly considered, migrations can help cut costs.

 

Cutting Security Costs with Migrations

 

By moving to the cloud or to a new cloud provider, organizations can help to reduce operational costs while simultaneously improving IT processes. Security is one prominent area that benefits from migration efforts, requiring fewer financial resources than legacy systems.

 

Switching to the cloud also means only paying for actual storage used, with no need to maintain expensive data centers when important processes and data are hosted in the cloud. A large percentage of SMBs have reported reduced costs as a result of embracing cloud technology, with the majority reinvesting the saved capital back into the business. 

 

Cloud providers offer the required hardware for web servers with maintenance, security, and upgrades usually included in the agreement. Many public cloud providers also charge under a “pay as you go” approach, with no lengthy contracts which can be useful for rapidly expanding enterprises. 

 

If we were to look at the legacy system alternative, the cost of running and maintaining a data center includes more than just an upfront investment. Businesses will be accountable for ongoing support, security, power, maintenance, cooling, and staffing, which can all be costly in modern business environments. 

 

Organizations are increasingly resorting to cloud infrastructure to increase flexibility and reduce pressure on their finances. Businesses and professional service companies spend the majority of their yearly IT budget on internal maintenance. Just as in other areas of the business, cloud migration allows organizations to benefit from economies of scale. Prominent cloud hosts and providers, including Google, AWS, Microsoft, IBM, and Oracle can keep their maintenance, upkeep, power, cooling, and staffing costs down when measured per server unit, compared to a private data center.

 

Cloud vs Legacy System Security

 

This all becomes more impressive and necessary for organizations when we understand that cloud security is actually considerably better across the board than legacy systems.

 

By storing data, applications, and processes centrally, the cloud provides significantly better security than conventional data centers. The majority of mass cloud providers also provide impressive built-in security features, such as in-depth analytics, cross-enterprise visibility, and periodic updates. 

 

Moreover, most cloud providers handle tougher security issues like keeping defined and unwanted traffic from accessing a companies’ virtual machines as well as ensuring automatic security updates to their systems to stop vulnerability to the newest security threats.

 

Amazon, for example, also has many of the leading compliance certifications, including ISO27001, HIPAA, PCI-DSS, and AICPA/SOC. This means that if a business has specific compliance requirements because of their sector or stored data, they can be confident knowing that their data is completely secure in the cloud.

 

The cloud consists of networks, systems, and applications that must be routinely and securely configured, updated, and maintained by following the integral “shared responsibility” model. This model ensures each provider is responsible for their part in securing the cloud as a whole. 

 

As part of their “shared responsibility”, organizations such as Google have designed and created their cloud and offering from the ground up with security as their primary criteria. This means that Google’s cloud was designed with privacy and security in mind, unlike other networks commonly used in legacy systems to house data. Moreover, because data is in the cloud, it can be accessed regardless of what happens to physical machinery, adding another layer of protection.

 

Conclusion

 

The process of moving digital business assets, operations, processes, and data to the cloud or between clouds is known as migration. Migrations as a whole, whether from a legacy system to the cloud or from a cloud to another cloud, can be hugely beneficial. 

 

While providing many notable benefits to do with efficiency and business infrastructure, one of the most notable advantages comes in the form of improved security, more compliant security, and cheaper security. Outdated legacy systems in the form of private servers are costly and require a lot of attention to maintain the level of efficiency and security of advanced cloud solutions. Popular cloud providers, on the other hand, have built their cloud from the ground up with state-of-the-art security and many other notable benefits.

 

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