With cloud-native development being the mainstream, developers use Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to connect the apps with various web-based services. Surprisingly, almost 80% of web traffic now flows through APIs. The increasing usage of APIs raises one question: How do we protect cloud-native applications?
“APIs form the backbone of modern cloud-native applications, and safeguarding them is crucial for protecting web-based services amidst evolving business demands.”
So, how can businesses fully secure their applications and APIs? How can they protect cloud-native environments from cyberattacks? As organizations embrace cloud agility, we must embark on security from the beginning of cloud-native development. What’s the best approach? How do we implement such consistent security measures? Let’s continue to find out!
The Current Security Concerns Of Cloud-Native Applications
As businesses migrate to cloud-native environments, security takes center stage. The increased complexity and interconnectivity of applications and APIs expose them to the following security challenges:
- Data Breaches: Cloud-native environments possess higher risks of exposing sensitive information due to unauthorized access.
- API Vulnerabilities: With high monthly API call rates, malicious traffic rates grew by 348%. All APIs are highly susceptible to cyberattacks.
- Compliance Challenges: Meeting regulatory requirements becomes intricate in dynamic cloud ecosystems.
- Architecture complexity: The likelihood of deployment complexity in serverless or container-based cloud architectures is very high.
- Error Detection: Detecting problems like unauthorized access or data leaks is challenging in dynamic cloud-native environments.
The current security concerns highlight why cloud-native development requires a more specious approach to protect applications and APIs.
Why Do Protecting Application APIs Hold So Much Importance?
APIs are pivotal in facilitating seamless communication between different components of cloud-native applications. However, their significance makes them a potential entry point for online attackers.
As the API call rates kept mounting, the number of cyberattacks rose. Salt Labs reports that API attack traffic has grown 348% in the past six months. Such security threats can cost businesses more than you expect!
Hence, protecting APIs bears the utmost importance because:
- APIs often handle sensitive application data, and data breaches can expose such information to the dark web.
- Disruptions in API functionality can directly impact the continuity of application performance and other business operations.
- A compromised API can tarnish an organization’s reputation by jeopardizing customer relationships.
So, what’s the next action item for modern businesses? How can we protect native applications and APIs?
Strategies For Securing Cloud-Native Apps And APIs
In a digital-first world, businesses require well-defined security standards to secure cloud-native environments and application APIs. Here, we highlight the best strategies that can be helpful to enhance cloud-native application security.
#1 DevSecOps: Integrate Security Into App Development Lifecycle
Security should not be an afterthought. Organizations can quickly deal with potential vulnerabilities by embedding security into the development lifecycle. They can also perform automated security checks with continuous monitoring enabled.
DevSecOps is the latest agile approach that incorporates security in DevOps practices. Companies can implement DevSecOps to respond proactively to security incidents. It enhances overall development and release efficiency without sacrificing speed.
#2 Use Zero Trust Security Model
Adopting a zero-trust approach involves authenticating every device user. It stops all types of unauthorized accesses using the following techniques:
- Micro Segmentation: It involves segmenting the network into smaller and isolated zones. It also limits the lateral movement of threats across cloud-native environments.
- Access Management: Strict control over user access minimizes the risk of unauthorized entry. Enterprises can set up a robust Identity Management system to secure application access.
#3 Set OAuth Identity Standards for APIs
Identity standards play a pivotal role in securing the RESTful APIs of modern applications. OpenID Connect and OAuth are de facto standards for secure API platforms. Unlike older protocols such as SAML, they are tailor-made for RESTful access control and identity management. Implementing them requires a deep understanding beyond their core specifications. Hence, companies should choose OAuth-based authentication protocols to secure application access.
#4 Conduct Interactive Application Security Testing
Application security testing (IAST) combines the advantages of SAST and DAST testing approaches. It allows organizations to analyze rapid feedback for vulnerabilities. IAST’s developer-friendly approach allows real-time testing in various cloud-native environments.
Alongside IAST, runtime application self-protection (RASP) is a new approach to enhancing application security. It can detect and control real-time attacks within application runtimes, operating within the application context to provide unparalleled visibility and detection.
#5 Continuous API Inventory & Discovery Management
Several application services expose countless APIs. Organizations must diligently manage API inventory to check the associated APIs with them consistently. Additionally, it’s important to integrate security measures directly in front of cloud APIs. The best way is to employ DDoS protection and Web Application Firewalls to safeguard against data solicitation or application disruption.
The Right Approach For Balancing Security Demands With Delivery Speed
No organization wants to limit the agility and speed of cloud-native development. Hence, achieving a harmonious balance between security and speed in multi-cloud environments is mandatory. Let’s explore the best practices to balance the delivery speed with security demands:
#1 Stay Updated About Current Cybersecurity Changes
Organizations must stay vigilant about the evolving dynamics of cybersecurity standards for cloud-native environments. To grapple with rapid market changes, companies must adopt digital-first strategies. For example, securing data transmission through APIs is essential to safeguarding application interfaces. With regular updates on cybersecurity trends, companies can handle emerging threats proactively.
#2 Use A Unified View On Security With A Multi-Layered Approach
Developing a unified security perspective is essential for multi-cloud environments. In multi-cloud setups, discrete architecture groups need a shared security vision. Initiating this alignment involves asking critical questions about operations and governance standards.
A cloud center of excellence (CCoE) becomes pivotal in maintaining alignment and securing apps and APIs across multiple clouds. Many enterprises need a defined cloud security posture that evolves as they balance on-premise and cloud environments. Hence, implementing a multi-layered security approach ensures comprehensive protection.
#3 Identify Main Issues Through A Proof of Concept (POC) Workload
What are your current challenges in securing cloud-native apps? Once you discover the primary problem, you can quickly determine possible solutions. You can conduct a thorough assessment to identify specific security issues and tailor your security measures effectively. You can implement a Proof of Concept (POC) workload in a controlled environment for testing and refining security protocols.
When it comes to securing your cloud-native apps and APIs, it’s never too late! You now know the best implement strategies to secure your multi-cloud environments. You now know the best practices to secure application APIs from being exposed. By following these patterns, you allow all the security components in the platform to be distributed or to scale dynamically. It will enable you to enforce your access policies in APIs and gateways. As none of these impacts the business operations, you can easily maintain the desired development agility and speed!
1. What is a Cloud-native App?
The cloud-native app has its supporting infrastructure in the cloud. It can iterate with web-based services in cloud computing environments. Plus, it is highly scalable to maintain performance continuity during high demands.
2. What is a Cloud API?
A cloud API enables applications to interact with other web-based services through the cloud. Cloud APIs are associated with cloud-native apps and support multi-cloud tenants for flexibility. Using cloud APIs, businesses can maintain complex cloud deployments with growing demands.
3. What are the main security concerns for cloud-native apps?
Cloud-native apps are highly dependent on cloud services. Naturally, these are more prone to online data breaches and security vulnerabilities. Plus, cloud APIs are always at risk of getting compromised due to cyberattacks. These scenarios raise compliance challenges for companies to maintain the speed of operations.
4. What are the recommended tools for securing cloud-native applications and APIs?
Developers must use DevSecOps tools and security monitoring tools to protect cloud applications. Otherwise, security experts can leverage tools like Google Apigee Sense or other API Security Platforms to protect APIs and the associated services.
5. What is the role of automation in achieving speed and securing cloud-native apps and APIs?
The process of cloud-native app development and deployment is a continuous one. Automating the development and release workflows simplifies the development lifecycles. Plus, developers get enough time to focus on security from the time they start developing. Even after the application becomes public, the automated monitoring systems keep assessing the apps and APIs to maintain top-notch security.
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