Blog: A guide to cloud-native security architecture
As more businesses shift their data to the cloud, they need to ensure security is top of mind with their cloud architecture.
What’s important to remember is that each cloud structure or project is unique and will have its own set of solutions and configurations. So put away any one-size-fits-all thinking, and take a look at a few basic principles to guide your strategy when it comes to cloud security architecture.
What is cloud security architecture?
TechTarget defines cloud security architecture as “[a] security strategy designed around securing an organization’s data and applications in the cloud.”
In essence, this architecture is a critical extension of enterprise security that must tie into the business’ broader approach to security, and plays a vital role in securing data. By acting like putty, and filling in any holes in a company’s security (particularly areas that point solutions would miss), cloud security architecture is critical for a water-tight approach to enterprise security. Its success stems from tackling security from the top down. In other words, defining threats that start with users, then looking at the cloud environment, and finally at services and applications.
This architecture is beneficial because it helps enterprises organize their overall security measures and simplify security maintenance.
The shared responsibility model
When it comes to the security of your cloud data, it’s important to note that the responsibility does not lie with the service provider alone. In fact, it’s a shared responsibility between the organization and the cloud service provider (CSP).
Though CSPs should follow cloud security best practices, businesses should also create a shared responsibility model to cover all aspects of who is responsible for what. This typically includes an architecture diagram that divvies up the cloud components. The top layer is usually the customer’s purview, while the bottom layer is the cloud provider’s responsibility.
A contract also forms part of this shared responsibility model and describes “[w]hat each party is responsible for doing, how the boundary points are recognized and how problems are isolated and assigned to a party,” TechTarget explains.
An important thing to note is that this model will look slightly different for each different cloud service, such as SaaS and PaaS.
Architecture for SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS
With cloud security, the different cloud service models – Software as a service (SaaS), Platform as a service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) – all work on different security practices.
When you’re talking about SaaS, these solutions should be secured by the CSP. They take responsibility for security within the application, in other words, any internal workflows. “The network relationship between the SaaS services and the user is typically defined as a set of RESTful APIs,” TechTarget explains. And in this cloud service model, it’s the CSP and user that are responsible for APIs.
The IaaS approach is similar to the SaaS approach: The cloud provider only supplies the hosting resource, and the remaining security responsibilities sit with the customer.
When it comes to PaaS, this model usually pertains to middleware, like data management. And the application views these components as services. So for this model, the focus is on securing services and the creation of ‘zones of trust’, or areas with strict access controls. And with PaaS, it’s the user that’s chiefly responsible for security.
How to get started with cloud security architecture
To build strong cloud security architecture, it’s helpful to understand the bigger picture and overall goals of your strategy to ensure you don’t miss any steps along the way. The Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) recommends the following steps:
1. Identify the requirements for your specific architecture.
2. Select the best provider, service, and deployment model for your business needs.
3. Next, define the architecture itself.
4. Assess the security controls.
5. Identify any control gaps.
6. Design and implement these new controls.
7. And lastly, manage the changes with your team.
Image courtesy of the Cloud Security Alliance
Cloud security with Snowflake
For safe, secure cloud infrastructure, one of the leading providers on the market is Snowflake. Their systems are continually audited and monitored, and include modern, secure, and compliant capabilities such as:
- Real-time risk visibility through internal critical security controls dashboards
- Center for Internet Security (CIS) benchmark templates to reduce a business’ attack surface
- Regular 3rd party penetration tests each year to find and resolve any security weaknesses
- Weekly vulnerability scans on infrastructure to uncover and prevent any vulnerabilities in the system.
The cloud presents many opportunities for businesses to improve performance, scale, and differentiate quickly. And the road to success for these and other enterprise goals is best achieved with modern, secure cloud infrastructure.
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