When we talk about cloud-native security, it is easy to overlook the often unseen and damaging effects of application vulnerabilities running through federal network environments in spite of the efforts that federal agencies are making to strengthen cybersecurity protections.
The extent to which government agencies have adopted cloud-native applications and shifted their IT operations to multiple cloud environments is one part of the issue. And now most need thing for businesses is cloud-native security and resolving the risk of it.
Even though these decisions have increased the number of opportunities for malicious actors to exploit or inject vulnerabilities into these environments, they have also led to a dramatic increase in the speed at which modernization has been accelerated and security has been improved.
This was made painfully clear two years ago when malicious actors exploited Log4j, an open-source logging library and one of the many building blocks used in modern software. This allowed hackers to penetrate enterprise IT systems throughout the federal government and around the world and cause disruptions.
However, the extent to which federal agencies’ security expertise is still based on managing on-premises IT systems that typically rely on specialized security solutions of cloud-native security is another factor. In today’s cloud-based applications, modular microservices are packaged in effective virtual containers that can be dynamically discovered, scaled, and managed.
In today’s dynamic, multi-cloud environment, legacy on-prem solutions are unable to protect agencies from the numerous vulnerabilities that are emerging because they were not designed to handle these new applications.
Threats to cloud-native security
There are numerous threats to cloud-native security for which organizations must prepare. However, there are five specific issues that federal leaders should focus on, and addressing them will necessitate a new generation of cloud-native application and deployment-specific security solutions:
- Application Vulnerabilities: Vulnerabilities that are concealed within containers rather than on hosts or servers
- Misconfiguration of the infrastructure: Cloud resources are dynamic and highly scalable. However, cloud service providers share responsibility for security. All assets and services’ security configurations may suffer as a result.
- Overprovisioned Access: In multi-cloud environments, the number and complexity of users, roles, and permissions grow exponentially, making it more difficult for Identity and Access Management (IAM) systems to control permissions. Over-privileged access and difficulties in implementing a security paradigm with least privileged access can result from this.
- APIs (Application Programming Interface) that are insecure: Microservice-based architecture is the driving force behind the proliferation of APIs and their utilization. The advantages of traditional application-level security methods based on web application firewalls (WAFs) are diminished by the need to secure these services at the API level.
- Malware: Malicious software can take advantage of all of the aforementioned dangers to gain access to your applications and data with greater success.
Agencies must have the appropriate tools and capabilities to identify these risks early in the DevOps process in light of these and other issues with cloud-native security.
It is not a novel idea to address technical issues and potential risks earlier in the software lifecycle (SDLC). Resolving issues earlier in the software’s lifecycle is always easier and less expensive than doing so later.
The extent to which costs and complexity can be reduced with cloud-native applications has changed, particularly in light of the speed with which cloud applications can be deployed, the scale of their deployment, and the technical complexity of today’s cloud-native security systems.
CNAPPs improve agency security
The capabilities of Cloud Native Application Protection Platforms (CNAPPs), which are able to address cloud-native application security throughout the entire lifecycle of those applications, have also changed over the past few years.
To address these and other security risks, customers had to put together a variety of point solutions without much integration or end-to-end visibility prior to CNAPP. That frequently necessitated altering or adapting the security objectives and procedures of customers to take into account the limitations of those point solutions.
Federal agencies can more easily incorporate cloud-native security protections into their processes and their DevSecOps ecosystems thanks to the emergence of comprehensive CNAPP solutions like Palo Alto Network’s Prisma Cloud, which Frost and Sullivan and GigaOm ranked as the market leader in its category. Application governance, end-to-end visibility, and security compliance verification are all made simpler with Prisma Cloud for cloud-native security environments.
While federal agencies continue to struggle with long-term security objectives, such as the requirement to implement zero-trust security architecture, leaders in government must also accept the emergence of new and rapidly evolving vulnerabilities in cloud-native security in the near future.