With AWS Lambda, users run their code in serverless functions, and AWS takes care of the backend administration. In addition, Lambda’s “only pay for what you use” model helps enterprises avoid paying for unused cloud resources. Because it abstracts away operational complexity and can reduce cloud costs, Lambda has surged in popularity and become an essential part of serverless architecture for many enterprises.
Below, we’ll take a closer look at how AWS Lambda works, its features and benefits, and how enterprises can secure their Lambda workloads.
From the user perspective, the way AWS Lambda works can be summarized in four steps.
Developers can upload code they have already written, or use Lambda’s native editor to write code from scratch. Generally, the Lambda code needs to be stateless. This means it should not depend on the state of the underlying infrastructure, file systems, or child processes. If stateful data is required, it can be called from other AWS services like S3. The code uploaded or written in this step is known as a Lambda function. Each Lambda function requires some basic metadata configuration including a name, resource requirements, and entrypoint.
Triggers are simply automatic responses to events. They allow Lambda functions to run as a result of specific events or actions. For example, an API call or modification to a DynamoDB database can act as a trigger for a Lambda function.
Once triggers are configured, every time they occur AWS will automatically run the Lambda function. Enterprises don’t need to worry about the underlying infrastructure, operating system patching, monitoring, or logging. The functions run and scale as needed.
Customers are billed based on the time Lambda resources are running. The duration of a given run of a Lambda function is measured from the time it begins until it completes (or terminates) rounded up to the nearest millisecond.
AWS Lambda offers a variety of features that make it possible for enterprises to reliably scale workloads in the AWS cloud. Some of the most important Lambda features are:
Of course, the features of AWS Lambda only matter if they provide practical benefits. The key benefits of Lambda for modern enterprises include:
For a deeper dive into the benefits of Lambda, check out 7 Benefits of AWS Lambda for Cloud Computing.
While serverless architecture abstracts away many tasks such as patching and operating system hardening, serverless security comes with its own unique set of challenges. For example, applications are now broken up into many Lambda functions that may use triggers from a wide range of sources. This creates more attack vectors enterprises must protect. Similarly, creating policies that enforce the principle of least privilege and zero trust across becomes more complex as the number of functions grows.
Fortunately, modern Cloud Workload Protection Platform (CWPP) and other cloud security solutions can help enterprises address these serverless security challenges.
Check Point CloudGuard for Serverless Security is purpose-built to address the challenges of securing serverless architecture and Lambda. For example, with CloudGuard, enterprises gain:
If you’d like to learn more about serverless security, download the free Serverless Security Risks and Mitigation Strategies ebook which covers:
If want to try CloudGuard for yourself, sign up to schedule a free CloudGuard Workload demo. In the demo, you’ll see how to automatically generate least privilege roles, detect and address runtime security risks, and much more