In the world of security, a workload is “made of workloads” – in other words, the app in our language is made up of many workloads (VMs, containers, serverless functions, databases, etc.). To effectively secure an organization’s cloud deployment, it is important to secure the infrastructure itself and every level of the workloads that are hosted on it.
Gartner defines cloud workload protection as an evolution of application security. Cloud workloads might be defined by security professionals as the containers, functions or machines that store the data and network resources which make an application work. CIOs tend to define workloads more accurately – the full workload includes the application plus the underlying pieces of technology it is comprised of.
A cloud-based application is built from many microservices which power the application and make it useful.. When designing cloud workload protection strategies, it is important to consider:
Addressing cloud workload security at both of these levels is essential to protecting the workload against attack. Focusing solely on the individual underlying workloads in isolation can create vulnerabilities because issues with business logic could be overlooked. Conversely, if all of the focus is placed on the application as a whole and the associated business logic, then issues with how the workloads are implemented and interface with one another could leave the application open to exploitation.
An effective cloud workload security strategy is both proactive and reactive. Properly configuring applications and workloads in advance decreases their attack surfaces and the potential impacts of exploitation. Monitoring and securing applications at runtime enables an organization to detect and respond to ongoing attacks as they occur.
A strong security posture decreases an organization’s vulnerability to cyber threats and the potential impacts of a successful attack. Three important questions to ask before deploying a workload to the cloud:
Maintaining a strong security posture is a good start, but some threats may still slip by. It is also important to ensure that you are able to protect applications at runtime by answering the following questions:
Implementing robust cloud workload security is a matter of following established best practices. Some principles to follow when securing a cloud-based workload include:
As organizations’ infrastructure evolves, cybersecurity needs to evolve with it. Cloud-based applications and workloads require a different approach to security than traditional, on-premises applications. This is especially true for containerized and serverless applications.
Check Point provides a number of different resources for improving the security of your cloud applications. Download these eBooks on securing AWS Lambda and securing serverless applications for more information on best practices. Then, check out this webinar to learn about layering security into cloud applications.
You’re also welcome to learn more about the security threats facing cloud environments. The Check Point 2020 Cloud Security Report details the current security trends. To identify potential security holes in your cloud infrastructure, use this self-guided cloud security assessment tool.