Zero Trust Segmentation

5 Practices You Need to Adopt Now for Cloud Security Maturity

Cloud models are becoming increasingly popular. But for a successful cloud adoption strategy, organizations must account for processes and tools that are compatible with the cloud.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Instead, organizations must be aware of the changes they need to make in order to remain competitive in the market.

Get insight into the 4 steps to building a cloud migration plan here.

Application modernization is inevitable with cloud maturity, moving organizations to adopt cloud-native operations to fully leverage the benefits of the clouds speed, elasticity, and scalability. This is why adopting a new model with old processes won't work.

Get further insight from my interview with Jeff Stauffer, Senior Technical Product Engineer at Illumio:

Cloud security maturity: 5 key components

Operating in cloud-native architecture and services requires compatible security operations to evolve from a technical and operational perspective.

According to Gartner, "Cloud-native security operations will evolve toward a federated shared responsibility model with shifting centers of gravity and ownership."

This means that organizations moving to the cloud must do away with old, traditional processes that were once owned by a single team or took one spot in the development cycle. Now, modern cloud security processes require integrated, cross-functional support - requiring new security practices.

Learn why traditional security approaches don't work in the cloud here.

Here are the 5 things you need to mature on your journey to the cloud.

1. Shift left

This process involves moving security from the end of the development cycle to earlier in the cycle. Cloud security ownership must shift to incorporate policy in the development of the application - rather than after production.

The goal is to reduce vulnerabilities and bugs by ensuring that they are caught early on and can be addressed quickly before they become more serious issues down the line. This will also help organizations save time and money as they won't have to spend resources patching up problems after they have already been deployed.

The shift-left model adjusts your security processes to the more logical owner based on DevSecOps workflows.

2. IT decentralization

IT decentralization means devolving control over IT assets from a centralized IT department to individual departments or business units within an organization.

This allows individuals or teams closer to the action to make decisions about their own technology stack without having to go through a long approval process every time something needs changed or updated.

This is particularly important when it comes to dealing with cloud models as it allows for greater agility and responsiveness when making changes or updates.

3. Continuous integration/continuous development (CI/CD)

CI/CD is a set of practices that encourage frequent code integration into a shared repository like GitHub, followed by automated testing and deployment of new code versions into production environments quickly and safely. It allows teams to quickly iterate on their projects while also eliminating manual errors associated with traditional development cycles.

Staying relevant and competitive in today's market means we need to operate with agility, speed, and flexibility. This is why IT decentralization and CI/CD practices are critical to success. It allows teams to make quick and timely decisions, pivoting when needed without centralized bottlenecks.

4. Adopt cloud-native platforms

Cloud-native platforms offer a suite of services designed specifically for running applications in the cloud, such as containers, serverless computing, and microservices architectures.

These platforms provide developers with access to powerful tools that allow them to deploy applications quickly and cost-effectively while also improving scalability and reliability.

In addition, many cloud-native platforms come equipped with native security features such as authentication, encryption, and identity management which can help organizations ensure their data is secure while also meeting compliance requirements like HIPAA or GDPR.

5. Use Infrastructure as Code (IaC)

IaC refers to using coding languages like Python or YAML for managing infrastructure instead of manual configuration tasks via an administrative user interface (UI). It allows administrators to automate provisioning processes so resources can be spun up rapidly whenever needed without having someone manually entering commands each time something needs changed or configured.

Additionally, IaC helps reduce human error by standardizing configurations across all machines in an environment, so there's less chance of misconfigurations happening due to human error or oversight.

Cloud security maturity happens in phases, not all at once

Implementing these five security practices won't happen overnight - and that's ok. Every organization moves at its own pace in cloud adoption.

Gartner outlines 3 phases most organizations go through when adopting cloud security operations. These phases will help you identify where you organizations is in the adoption process and prioritize next steps.

According to Gartner, the phases include:

Phase 1: Cloud-native SecOps integration

Cloud-native security operations are fragmented between security operation products and cloud security platforms that vary depending on the cloud footprint, especially hybrid enterprises. Integrations between the two are necessary to support the mature security operations processes and to enable broader visibility and forensics capabilities on cloud security platforms.

Cloud-first enterprises may skip this phase and leverage cloud security platforms for cloud-native security operations use cases.

Phase 2: Cloud-native federated SecOps

Cloud-native security operations are extending into development and engaging additional stakeholders. Security operations responsibility will be federated between the owners of security operations products and cloud security platforms for hybrid enterprises.

Phase 3: Cloud-native SecOps automation

DevSecOps will be a common practice supported by mature cloud security platforms and security operations products that evolved to accommodate cloud-native use cases. Cloud-native can include private cloud and on-premises deployments of containers and Kubernetes.

Infrastructure as code (IaC) and policy as code (PaC) capabilities will play a central role in facilitating automation in response to high velocity deployment with standardized DevSecOps metrics.

Take advantage of the cloud - securely and smartly

By understanding and adopting these five new practices, organizations can take advantage of the cloud while remaining secure, reducing time to market, and creating more agility and flexibility.

It's important for organizations to be mindful of the risks associated with digital transformation initiatives, but by leveraging the latest trends they can unlock their full potential.

With proper planning and implementation, organizations can use these new technologies to drive innovation and accelerate digital transformation efforts.

Ready to learn more about securing your cloud environments? Contact us today.

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