The COVID-19 Pandemic impacted businesses in a multitude of ways. One of the most influential changes was moving to cloud computing. Now that everyone, no matter how big or small, realizes that transitioning to the cloud is no longer just a buzzword or trend, it is a necessity. Because of this, cloud application security has become increasingly important as end-user spending on the public cloud market has ballooned rapidly.
According to Gartner, spending in the IT sector is expected to reach $591.8 billion in 2023 with a 20.7% growth rate. As compared to 2022, the growth rate has marginally increased, reaching 20.4% in 2022, bringing it to $494.7 billion (versus $410.9 billion in 2022). Spiderman did not mention, however, that the risks associated with so much data are much greater.
Several businesses and cloud service providers are prioritizing the security of cloud-based applications. That’s mainly due to the growth of PaaS and SaaS services.
Security for cloud-based applications is an issue that every business and cloud service provider is concerned about, particularly since cloud application infrastructure services (PaaS) and cloud application services (SaaS) will witness growth of 23.2% and 16.8%, respectively.
Cyber threats of unimaginable magnitude will continue to crop up as a result of so much growth and so much data. In recent years, cybersecurity has become a business priority, whether the Home Depot breach happened in 2014 or the Linkedin breach happened in 2019. Cybersecurity will gain even greater prominence now that the global economy is headed for a recession, since cyberattacks skyrocket during recessionary periods.
The authors of a Harvard Business Review article, Sachin Gupta, Panos Moutafis, and Matthew J. Schneider, opined a similar sentiment, pointing out that companies “will increasingly rely on data for insights as they collect more and more data.” According to the HBR article, companies can protect consumer data by using edge computing to limit the number of touchpoints consumer data must undergo, thereby reducing the chances of data breaches.
A CTO’s obligation to adopt and deploy cloud security solutions is becoming increasingly important with cloud app security measures taking center stage. In addition to limiting the data that reaches the public cloud, HBR suggests other ways to protect your company’s and your consumers’ data.
A roadmap for thwarting cyber attacks can be developed through the implementation of cloud application security best practices and strategic security initiatives.
First, let’s understand what various security issues are before we move on to securing cloud applications.
Security challenges facing cloud applications
Despite the fact that cloud applications are secured in 2023, not every organization manages to do so perfectly. That’s why breaches continue to occur.
Identifying potential risks: The first step towards ensuring a threat-free cloud architecture is to identify potential risks relating to cloud application security. Organizations can improve their preparation and limit their exposure to cybersecurity incidents by understanding the current cybersecurity landscape and anticipating different threats. To determine vulnerabilities in cloud app data protection, internal and external threats need to be carefully analyzed
An organization often finds it difficult to assess the damage and impact of security breaches. Loss of revenue is just one aspect of this impact. When cloud application security architecture is ignored, hidden costs include reputation damage, legal complications, and loss of customer trust.
Due to the fact that some losses are not quantitative, the actual loss of the business is difficult to quantify. In addition to identifying key stakeholders and preparing an incident response plan, businesses can prepare a contingency plan based on an accurate assessment of the impact.
- An incident response plan can save organizations millions of dollars and help rebuild trust within their organization. While discussing cloud application security, it basically revolves around pre-planning for an incident response.
A well-planned incident response is easier said than done. It must cover everything from detecting a breach to thwarting it. There should be detailed steps on how to proceed in the event of an incident.
- Similarly, a lack of compliance with privacy regulations and a lack of expertise in cybersecurity plague organizations. The General Data Protection Regulation is one such regulation (more on compliances below).
The risk of cyberattacks remains constant for companies without the necessary compliance and expertise. In the absence of appropriately securing cloud applications, whether through non-compliance or technical incompetence, companies face the risk of a massive data breach that may not have been seen before.
- In the cloud, security applications are a bottleneck due to a lack of understanding between the cloud provider and the business owner. A cloud service provider (CSP) and a business owner are both responsible for application security.
Cyber threats can be exposed to businesses as a result of misunderstanding the roles of CSPs and businesses, as well as the security of the underlying infrastructure. Our definitive cloud computing guide may also be of interest to you.
How to address the top cybersecurity threats in 2023
A brief list of the top cybersecurity risks in 2023 is necessary before discussing how to secure your cloud application.
VPNs are no longer enough
As a method of safeguarding data for organizations involving remote workers, virtual private networks (VPNs) have been widely used, but they do not provide sufficient protection against emerging risks. VPNs are slow, unreliable, and prone to security breaches, so organizations must evolve beyond them and implement more robust safeguards.
Devices that connect to the internet
Cybercriminals have discovered a new method of attacking networks since the advent of the Internet of Things (IoT). They gain access to networks and move laterally within them by exploiting vulnerabilities in connected devices. As explained in one of our articles, organizations must ensure that devices run on the latest software along with the necessary security patches. The merger of cloud computing and IoT has numerous benefits, however.
Issues related to SaaS security
SaaS applications have become increasingly popular, so hackers are finding new ways to gain access to networks by exploiting their vulnerabilities. It is possible to maintain the highest level of cloud-native application security by having a robust cloud application security architecture.
Cloud to endpoint security
A cyber attack is much more likely to strike the entire spectrum that data travels over, from the endpoint to the cloud, if even one layer or touchpoint is unprotected.
We have written an article about cloud security risks in 2023 that provides a comprehensive overview.
A comprehensive security solution for cloud applications
Keeping intellectual property, proprietary data, and business-critical infrastructure secure can play a vital role in an organization’s success. As a result, it is essential to have a dedicated and comprehensive cloud application security solution because harnessing the data from the cloud is often the primary objective of targeted attacks. Some of these benefits include:
Defending against cyber-attacks is obvious
In addition to protecting organizations against data breaches and cyber-attacks, implementing cloud application security solutions in their IT infrastructure enables potential attacks to be detected and prevented.
Regulating the processing of personal data
It is also possible to meet compliance requirements for regulatory bodies such as GDPR and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) when emphasizing cloud app security measures. Organizations can comply with these regulations by focusing on cloud-based application security, which ensures data is stored and handled securely, reducing the likelihood of theft or unauthorized access.
By ensuring that sensitive data is stored and processed securely, cloud application security solutions assist organizations in meeting these regulations.
Simplified app development and improved performance
In addition to enhancing the performance of the app, adopting and implementing cloud security solutions eliminates potential vulnerabilities and backdoors, making it more robust, responsive, and scalable during spikes. The result is improved productivity, customer satisfaction, and reduced downtime.
Control and visibility improvements
Businesses can gain better control and visibility of their cloud-based assets by securing cloud applications. In this way, organizations are able to protect their cloud-based assets before becoming victims of cyber attacks, by receiving real-time information on unusual activity, login attempts, etc.
Savings in costs
It is said that prevention is better than cure, and this applies to cloud-based applications as well. The aftermath of a cyber attack is even more drastic for the bottom line of any business. Preventing cyber attacks is always a way companies can massively reduce unnecessary costs of responding to incidents. Therefore, ensuring application security in cloud computing is a definitive way to prevent revenue loss.
Data sharing and collaboration improved
In many enterprises, there is a lack of trust among various departments within the organization, which makes it difficult to share data. Organizations can confidently share data that would otherwise remain siloed if cloud computing has robust application security measures. By collaborating between different departments, end users are more productive and achieve better outcomes.
What you need to know about securing cloud applications
An effective cloud application security solution includes advanced encryption for data at rest, during transit and in storage as well as robust firewalls. Data encryption ensures that, even if it is breached, no one outside the organization will be able to read it, limiting the damage such incidents can cause. Firewalls, on the other hand, prevent network-based attacks.
The organization should also have advanced identity management and access control systems to prevent unauthorized access to data. MIT Lincoln Laboratory has published a study that offers a fresh take on identity management by recommending that adopting ‘zero-trust security principles’ can reduce cybersecurity threats caused by malicious outsiders and insiders gaining access.
According to MIT, the zero-trust policy treats “every component, service, and user” of a system as being continuously exposed and potentially compromised by a malicious actor. This means that every time a user requests access, they must verify their identity. The system can be made more robust by logging, tracking, and analyzing all of those requests.
Among the other cloud application security best practices that all CSOs and CISOs should consider implementing are multi-factor authentication, regular audits, disaster recovery, business continuity plans, and continuous monitoring.
Security in cloud-based mobile apps requires DevSecOps
Cloud app development has been hailed as a cornerstone of DevOps. However, this approach has created security challenges at times. DevSecOps is the result of developers and product managers integrating security into the development process. DevSecOps includes continuous testing and monitoring of applications as well as continuous development and integration, so vulnerabilities are detected before they can be exploited.
DevSecOps for cloud security can also be used to build automated security tools and processes, including security scanning and testing, that alert engineers to potential risks. Through DevSecOps, security becomes a key element of the development process by increasing collaboration between the development team and the security team.
Cloud application security compliance and standards
Consumer privacy and data storage are governed by specific industry standards and regulations.
A widely recognized standard for information security management is ISO 27001, which covers all aspects of security, including cloud data. Its comprehensive framework provides a detailed framework for managing information security. There is also a requirement for SOC 2, which discusses explicitly cloud service providers and focuses on privacy, availability, and security of stored data.
Additionally, organizations must adhere to specific regulations in addition to the standards. By complying with GDPR, you ensure that your security standards are robust and your customers can trust your business with their data. GDPR “lays down rules relating to the protection of natural persons in relation to the processing of personal data as well as the free movement of personal data.”
Having a secure cloud application is crucial for your business. How can Appinventiv assist?
As a cloud infrastructure builder and manager for almost a decade, we have gained a deep understanding of the nuances of cloud security. With over 200 cloud-based apps delivered, we are constantly on our toes to ensure the security of our clients’ data or applications.
As a cloud security managed service provider, we are the perfect partner for any business or entrepreneur seeking to secure its cloud applications and data. Take the first step to protecting your cloud infrastructure against cyber threats by connecting with our experts.
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