Before we start with Cloud-Native Security, we need to understand why we need it. Cloud-native application development is an approach to developing, building, and shipping applications that take advantage of modern Cloud computing services. Cloud-Native Applications are applications that natively utilize services and infrastructure provided by Cloud computing providers, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Google Cloud Platform (GCP).
Use of Cloud Native Technologies in Production Has Grown Over 200%. Source: CNCF
With such a huge increase in Cloud-Native Technology usage, an important aspect of Security can't seem to miss out.
Every organization has a security policy. Most of the policies believe in having a full patched and hack-proof system and then resist to change the setup as reconfiguration may lead to leaving some security flow. But the current infrastructure security scenario is entirely different. It needs to act fast and make changes. Continuous improvement and adjustments are required to make a fully secured organization. Organizations need to follow the Three Rs of Enterprise security - Rotate, Repave, and Repair - in continuous delivery and infrastructure automation.
Rotate the stack credentials every few minutes or hours.
Repave every server and application every few hours from a recognized good state.
Repair vulnerable operating systems and application stacks consistently within hours of patch availability.
You will know more about them later in detail below.
Blocking Advanced Persistent Threats
An advanced persistent threat is an armed attack on the target to get data and valuable information rather than causing damage the organization. This attack remains undercover for a long time and silently learns how the whole stack works and finally accessing sensitive data. If we know how the attack works, we can learn how to stop them. To launch an attack, an attacker needs three things.
Three R's of Enterprise Cloud-Native Security addresses all the three ingredients and helps to eliminate each loophole.
Tradition Security vs. 3 R's
The most significant concern in computer systems in today's era is security. Traditional approaches to organization security often make things down and slow the speed of change. We know that the more time the attacker has to compromise with the system, there are more chances for potential damage. The 3 R model has changed the way Cloud-Native Security is looked upon.
1. Monitored and instrumented systems - Organizations setup monitoring to find the changes whenever the security is breached
1. Automated - System needs to be quickly updated. Automation and immutable infrastructure can help to remove the system from having security breached configurations.
2. Reactive - Detecting the threat is the priority and then further solving the vulnerability
2. Proactive - The priority is to change the system's state so the malware could not replicate and survive.
3. Patched incremental - Patches are applied to the old system's step by step to eliminate the issue.
3. Fresh, clean state deployment - Instead of patching the old systems, new clean images are used to deploy the things in an automated way.
4. Resisting changes - It prefers to patch the old systems which are resisting changes.
4. Promoting changes - This approach deals in changes faster and is secure.
The 3 R's: Rotate, Repave, and Repair
The Three Rs of Security is the approach towards the safety of cloud deployment. The basic premise of the Three Rs of the Enterprise Security model is that the more time you give to the attacks, the more opportunity they will cause severe damage. So it is best to embrace the change and move quickly. Let's understand the 3 Rs in detail.
The datacenter's credentials should be rotated after every few minutes. These credentials can be any certificates, passwords, or access tokens. As sometimes, you can't stop the credentials from getting leaked, but by rotating them after every few hours or minutes, it is difficult for the attackers to get hands-on with these credentials.
Rebuild every server and application in the data center from a known secure state. Instead of patching the particular software, you can also repair the whole stack by destroying the old containers and VM's and rebuild them from a known secure state.
Vulnerable operation system should be repaired by applying patches as soon as they are available.
The Four C's of Cloud-Native Security
In kubernetes documentation, this complete diagram gives us a clear picture of cloud-native security. Open-source software is embedded into several frameworks that help power web apps; several underlying principles help direct your instincts about how you should think holistically regarding protection. This guide should describe a visual model for certain general principles regarding Native Protection in the Cloud.Safeguarding against low safety practices in Cloud, Containers, and Code is almost difficult by approaching security only at the code level. So let us explain the 4 layers in length.
A Kubernetes cluster's reliable computational base is the Cloud ( servers or datacenter) in several cases. If such components are not secure themselves (or designed in a fragile manner); otherwise, there is no clear way to guarantee the safety of all components installed on top of this foundation. All the cloud providers have extensive security recommendations that customers can take care of.
Ensure to secure these two things in clusters: the configurable components and the components that run in the cluster.
To order to run a program in Kubernetes, it is in the container. Because of this, the container becomes very important. Thus, specific security considerations must be taken into account to benefit from the workload security primitives of Kubernetes
Finally, moving down into the application code level, this is one of the primary attack surfaces over which we have the most control.
Securing DevOps with Cloud-Native Security
At Xenonstack, we help companies and startups make a cultural shift to DevOps and the best practices implemented by default. Most attackers target applications and Operating systems with know vulnerabilities. Things like many patches to the operating system, applying proper roles and access control, and secure networks help reduce exploitable available to an attacker. With DevOps, it becomes possible to deliver the software faster. It eliminates possibilities for attacks. Therefore, to get safer, you have to go faster.
Concluding Cloud-Native Security
Many organizations realize that security needed to be added before the development process instead of keeping it in Q&A in the software development life cycle. Moving the security testing to earlier in the development cycle, they have a much higher success rate and much higher throughput. The efficiency increased as developers don't have to wait for the security to do the things. All the penetration testing goes along with the development, decreasing the time in delivering the applications.